Well hello Saturday June 21, 2014. We’ve been waiting for you.
I’ve often thought it would be lovely to live in a warm summery climate year round, to drop my kid at school wearing a t-shirt and sandals, to eat Christmas dinner on the deck, to give up snow boots, shovels and mittens, to celebrate February birthdays in the park.
But there is something so deliciously euphoric about the way that Canadians greet spring, and then summer, and I’m not so sure that I’d want to miss out on that. If you’ve ever sat on a patio or spread a blanket next to a playground on one of the first warm spring days, you will know what I mean. A touch of sun turns curmudgeonly winter people into friendly summer people. In winter we hibernate in our homes, emerging only to shovel the snow from our drives and defrost our cars; in summer we have block parties and neighbourhood fun fairs. Quiet Sunday roasts turn to lively barbecue dinners. Ice cream shops—shuttered from October until May—draw crowds that spill over into the street. And so forth. If winter weren’t so terrible, summer might not be so magical, right?
This greek pasta salad is pretty much the quintessential summer food, and I find myself coming back to it year after year, party after party. Partly because it’s so darn simple; partly because it’s a real crowd-pleaser (veg for the adults, carbs for the kidlets); but mostly because it achieves the ultimate summertime balance of salty (from the olives) yet sweet (from the tomatoes and peppers), creamy (from the feta) yet refreshing (from the cucumber).
A few notes from the kitchen:
- I’ve pictured it here with spelt pasta, which I think adds a nice nuttiness, not to mention its impressive nutritional profile. But any short pasta—whether white or whole grain—will do the trick.
- I know not everyone loves olives, but I would resist the temptation to leave them out: even if you don’t eat a single olive, the olives add a really yummy briny (totally a word!) flavour that penetrates, and elevates the flavour of, the pasta and vegetables.
- You can definitely make this salad in advance. Just combine and refrigerate the vegetables, olives and pasta up to a day ahead of time, and then add the dressing and feta right before serving.
- You can very easily double, or heck even triple, this recipe for a large crowd.