Lemon, Garlic + Fresh Herbs dress this one-pot Greek Pasta Salad with creamy French feta cheese, olives, artichokes and ZUCCHINI!
With lots of fresh perennial herbs popping up in my garden I set a goal to utilize them better than I have in past seasons.
Several herbs bounce back fairly quickly in the spring – mint, oregano and thyme. I use mint to brighten up smoothies – try this mint-strawberry smoothie – and I also bake fresh chopped mint into chocolate chip cookies – this chocolate chip cookie recipe is my favorite base to work from.
It’s the Greek oregano that usually doesn’t get much attention from me. It has pretty little blooms, but I hardly used it last year. I just didn’t know how!
Most commonly, oregano is used as a dried herb. And you could use it dried in this recipe if it’s all you have to work with. Oregano is just as flavorful dried as it is when fresh. Drying fresh oregano is easy – just snip the stems and let the branches sit – aerated – in a shady spot until completely dried out.
Need some ways to use fresh oregano?
Here are a few ideas:
- pizza: yum, pizza
- mexican dishes: did you know there are different types of oregano? try using Mexican oregano in any Mexican style dish – you’ll love it!
- chicken: Have you tried Cornell Chicken? recipe here
- beans: add 1-2 tbs of fresh oregano to a pot of simmering home-cooked beans about 30 minutes before they’re completely cooked. The oregano will infuse the beans with a herby, earthy flavor.
- tomatoes: fresh tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, fresh oregano and salt + pepper. Simple is amazing.
- pasta: this greek pasta salad below!
- 2 cups uncooked pasta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbs minced garlic 4 cloves, more to taste
- 2 Tbs fresh or dried oregano finely chopped
- 1 Tbs fresh or dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- Zest of 1 large lemon + juice of 1/2 large lemon
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups zucchini quartered & diced (keep the pieces thick so they stay firm)
- 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts chopped
- 8-10 marinated olives pitted
- 1/2 cup crumbled French feta to top
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add garlic, oregano, thyme, salt and ground pepper + red pepper flakes. Stir to blend and let sit on a low flame while the pasta cooks.
With 5 minutes left on the pasta, add zucchini to the sauté pan with the herbs + turn up heat to medium. Toss in pan to coat zucchini with oregano and sauté for a few minutes until just starting to cook - we want the zucchini to stay a little firm. (this is also a great way just to serve zucchini on it's own)
Turn down heat to medium-low. Add tomatoes,a dash of salt and pepper and heat though for 1 minute.
Drain pasta and add to sauté pan. Add artichokes, olives and juice of 1/2 of a large lemon. Sauté for 2 minutes until everything is incorporated and warmed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with feta, lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil + serve.