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Mediterranean pasta salad

I have been making this pasta salad for years and I can't quite believe it has taken me this long to get it up on the blog. This salad combines some of my favourite Mediterranean flavours - cool chunks of fresh cucumber and tomato, salty feta and green olives, all tossed with tender pasta and an oregano balsamic vinaigrette. This salad has appeared at many family barbecues and potluck gatherings over the years, and it's always a hit.

No need to allow for chilling time with this salad. After cooking, the pasta is immediately rinsed under cold water and tossed with the other ingredients. Quick and easy!

Here's how I make it:
makes 4-6 meal size portions or 8-10 potluck portions

4 cups dry pasta
1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh cucumber, cut into chunks
1 cup green olives, sliced
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar

I start by cooking the pasta for 10 minutes in a large pot of boiling water until tender. Meanwhile, the tomatoes, cucumber, olives and feta are combined in a large mixing bowl. Using a jar, I shake together the balsamic, olive oil, garlic, oregano and sugar to make the vinaigrette. The cooked pasta is rinsed under cold water then drained well and added to the large mixing bowl. The vinaigrette is poured over top and the whole salad is tossed to coat.

I adore green olives, but black olives would work just as nicely in this salad. I've also used many different pasta shapes - fusilli (shown here), penne, farfalle, conchiglie, or even macaroni

Mmm, tastes like summer is almost officially here!

What's your go-to salad for barbecues and potlucks?