Now, I know there are mayonnaise-based pasta salads that are actually pretty good. But still I prefer to leave the mayo out. That's not to say my pasta salads don't have a creamy element. Not always. But sometimes.
This time I used feta cheese. The teeny bits and crumbles added a creaminess to the salad without being thick and goopy.
I like my pasta salad with a good "zing" to it - maybe more than most people. So if you like something a little less acidic, start with less lemon and vinegar, and add more if you like. It's easier to add more than to try to temper it after you've added to much.
I used a rosemary-infused olive oil for the flavor. If you don't happen to have any, you could use plain olive oil - or another flavored oil that you like.
For the olives, use any kind you like. I used black olives, but kalamata or green olives would be just as good.
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2 teaspoons lemon juice (divided)
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar (divided)
1 tablespoon dry oregano
1/2 pound pasta, cooked al dente, rinsed, and chilled
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup pitted olives
1 cup cherry or plum tomatoes, sliced in half
6 ounces feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon capers
4 basil leaves cut in thin strips
1 tablespoon rosemary olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
In a small bowl, combine the diced onion and oregano with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. This will help to mellow the sharpness of the onion and hydrate the dried oregano a bit.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, green peppers, olives, tomatoes, feta, capers, and the onions with the juice/vinegar they soaked in. Stir to combine. Add the rosemary olive oil, the regular olive oil, and the basil. Stir to combine, then taste for seasoning. Add more lemon and/or vinegar if you like. I didn't add any salt - the pasta was cooked in salted water and the feta, olives, and capers added their own salt - but you might want more.
As with any similar salad, I think this is better after it rests for a day. If the pasta absorbs all the moisture and it seems dry, add just a bit of olive oil.