Spice Up Your Life: Customizable pasta dish is worth every ‘penne’

Greek pasta salad is extremely customizable for all kinds of diets and preferences, with lots of fresh vegetables and a light, flavorful dressing.

By Lindsey Young, Harvey County Now

I’ve written before that I have some random, mostly mild food allergies that make certain recipes difficult for me.
Specifically, tomatoes cause me trouble, and I have to limit how often I include them in my diet, no matter how much I love them.
Because of that, I’m sympathetic to readers who sometimes email me and ask if I’d be willing to throw something gluten free or dairy free into the paper so they can try a new recipe, too. I definitely sympathize with people who have much more serious food intolerances than I do; it’s tough to keep food interesting.
With that said, the recipe I included this week can easily be made gluten free, dairy free and vegan, if you so desire. You’ll only need to do a few quick swaps or deletions to make it happen, and it’s all ingredients that you can easily find in your local grocery store.
This comes from the blog “Strength and Sunshine” by Rebecca Pytell. You can find the original post at https://strengthandsunshine.com/gluten-free-greek-pasta-salad-vegan/. I changed up the ingredients and proportions a bit and added extra garlic, too.
If you go to the original recipe author for this, you’ll notice that I left a pint of tomatoes out of my version (for obvious reasons). I also decided to use whole grain pasta in mine, which made me feel like it was a bit healthier, too.
This was a great lunch, and it makes a ton of food. I’ve been eating on this salad all week long for lunch, and it’s been fabulous. It is lightly dressed and has lots of different flavors with all the vegetables.
I also hope it fits the bill for something new for those of you who have some food intolerances. With the weather warming up, a good pasta salad is a great recipe to have on hand, and nobody should have to miss out on a good lunch.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly recipe column by Lindsey Young, who describes herself as an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.

Greek Pasta Salad


16 ounces penne pasta
1 English cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces black or Kalamata olives, halved
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste


Prepare all of the vegetables and cheese and add to a very large serving bowl.
While you prepare the veggies, boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain it and run cold water over the pasta.
Add the cold, drained pasta to the bowl and stir to combine the ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper with a fork, and then pour it over top of the pasta mixture.
Toss to evenly coat all of the ingredients with the oil mixture, cover, and let the salad marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Serve cold or at room temperature, and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.