Enjoy this whole wheat pasta salad with yogurt dressing as a delicious and healthier pasta salad that also happens to be great for an outdoor concert picnic.
Here in Milwaukee and areas surrounding the city there are many outdoor concerts in the summer. It’s a fun summer activity – you grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and go enjoy live music at a park.
As summer was winding down and it was the last of such concerts, my mother in law and her friends invited us (my husband and I) to go to one. They said it was potluck style, so I knew I wanted to bring something that every one would enjoy – a pasta salad was the first thing that came to mind (last year I made this pasta salad for many a picnic and wanted to make it similar) !! And I wanted to incorporate the fresh ingredients in my garden – herbs, more herbs, and tomatoes! I also had some mini peppers from the farmers market which I thought would go great in the pasta salad, I roasted them to give them more depth of flavor. Then for the dressing the tang from the Greek yogurt works so well mixed with fresh herbs and a little citrus, and I loved being able to pick the herbs from my garden and use them right away. This pasta salad is so summery and perfect for bringing along to a picnic, or for having in the fridge for a healthy lunch option (after the picnic we had this for lunch and it had me thinking how perfect it was for making a batch to have on hand in the fridge!)
Now that you know how the pasta salad is made, let me tell you about the outdoor concerts that my mother in law and her friends go to. One might think of grabbing a blanket and maybe some snacks and going to see some live music (which is what we did) but upon coming to their gathering, we were shown what it means to go to an outdoor concert picnic with them – a picnic spread of delicious food (I’m talking appetizers, mains, and dessert -with coffee and wine!) and a table with fresh flowers and a candle and chairs. It was impressive.
Everything was absolutely beautiful and delicious…I’m not even going to tell you how many of those little sandwiches I ate…they’re called “Pamwiches” because they are famous sandwiches made by Pam (second from left in the above group photo) and I’m totally going to try and get her to make them with me so I can share the recipe with you guys…because they are sooooo good!
Our little blanket we had brought along just didn’t stand a chance, it was drowned out by all the set ups, chairs, and throngs of people. I can’t wait to go back next year (with chairs in tow).
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta I use rigatoni
- 1 lb sweet mini peppers
- 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1-2 to matoes chopped
- for the dressing:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 3-4 oz. Feta crumbled
- Preheat oven to 400, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Place peppers on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 30 minutes, then set aside to let cool (you can do this step the night before - that's what I did, it really speeds things up day of)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, strain, and set aside to let cool (I also did this the night before making the pasta salad so that day of I just had to stir everything together)
- Cut tomato and put chopped tomatoes in with the pasta.
- Cut the tops off the roasted mini peppers to remove the seeds, cut into little pieces and add to the pasta. Stir.
- In a small bowl juice the lemon, then add in the Greek yogurt, olive oil, and chopped basil and rosemary and the salt and garlic salt, whisk to combine, then pour over the pasta with the tomatoes and pepper and stir. Sprinkle the feta onto the pasta and stir a few times to combine. Serve or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.