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Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

Family-friendly and super delicious, this pasta salad lasts for days in your refrigerator. It’s perfect for workday or school day lunches or as a side to roasted chicken or burgers. Feel free to add diced red or yellow peppers or roasted zucchini to the mix.
Prep Time1 hr
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy lunch, lunch salad, pasta salad, roasted tomatoes, summer pasta salad
Servings: 10 lunch servings

Ingredients

For the Roasted Tomatoes:

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt

For the Oregano Dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine, white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 14 ounces fresh or dried macaroni
  • 2 cups arugula or spinach leaves
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 pine nuts, toasted (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste

Instructions

Roasted Tomatoes:

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Add the tomatoes to a sheet pan or baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Shake the pan to coat in oil and apace out the tomatoes. Bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes, until somewhat shriveled and softened, but not fully dehydrated. Set aside to cool. (Note, if your pine nuts are not yet toasted, you can place them in the oven for the last 7-8 minutes, shaking them once or twice for even toasting. Let cool before using.)

Oregano Dressing:

  • Roughly chop the garlic or use a microplaner to grate it. Add it to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, then add salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add oregano and whisk in lemon juice and vinegar. Close the lid and shake the garlic and vinegar mixture well. Set aside to let the garlic marinate in the vinegar for at least 10 minutes. This will soften the garlic's bite and also flavor the vinegar. Add in the oil, cover and shake to combine.

Pasta Salad:

  • In a medium or large mixing bowl, add the cooked and drained pasta and drizzle with about 2-3 tablespoons of the oregano dressing. Toss to combine and cool the pasta if it's still warm. Add the roasted tomatoes and the juices from the pan, cheese and pine nuts if using, and toss gently to combine. Add another 1-2 tablespoons dressing to taste. Finish with chopped greens and basil (or add those just before serving). Refrigerate remaining oregano dressing for green salad or Greek salad.

Notes

Salad can be eaten immediately, but will keep in the fridge up to 3-4 days. Basil and greens may start to oxidize or brown slightly by the 4th day. When I make this for myself, I sometimes add more greens to increase the veggie quotient!