Mix It Up With Mixed Salad Recipes: Mediterranean Pasta Mesclun with Pesto Dressing

Herbs and greens make nutritious summer meals.


Homemade herbal pesto sauce makes a tasty addition to any pasta dish.

Photo by alajulia/Courtesy of Flickr/http://www.flickr.com/photos/46189596@N08

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Mediterranean Pasta Mesclun with Pesto Dressing

Serves 4

The Pesto Dressing makes a mouth-­watering topping for mixed green salads. You can make the pesto with oregano, as the recipe here calls for, or try basil, cilantro, or tarragon. Use the herbs alone or in combination, or use your favorites. Take care not to add too much salt to this recipe because feta cheese varies significantly in salt content.

Pasta Mesclun

• 8 cups mixed lettuces and mild greens
• 1 cup each mustard greens and flowers
• 1 cup Italian kale
• 3/4 pound cooked (6 cups uncooked) bite-sized pasta, tricolor shells preferred
• 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
• 1 6-ounce can pitted black olives
• Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Pesto Dressing

• 1/4 cup Oregano Pesto (recipe below)
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

1. Wash the greens, pat them dry, and tear into bite-sized pieces. Divide the greens onto four serving plates.

2. Lightly toss the cooked pasta and the cheese with the pesto dressing and distribute it equally onto the greens. Top with the olives and season with the salt and pepper.

Oregano Pesto

• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/4 cup fresh Greek oregano leaves
• 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley
• 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup piñon nuts
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1/2 cup cold-pressed olive oil

1. Spin the garlic in a food processor or blender for about 15 seconds. Add the oregano and parsley and spin briefly again (if using a blender, mince the herbs first). Add the cheese, nuts, and red pepper and spin again.

2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a thin stream until the mixture has the consistency of tomato paste.

Debbie Whittaker demonstrates her healthy cooking style as the “Herb Gourmet” in Denver, Colorado.

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