Usually I'm not a big fan of pasta salad- unless it's covered in fatty mayo, then you'll probably find me going for seconds. Being so indifferent toward this popular party food makes no sense at all since I love pasta and I love salad, so one would think that pasta salad would just be my all-time favorite thing in the whole world.
But this herb and bacon pasta salad... well, I could eat this pasta salad every single day. As the name implies, this pasta salad is PACKED with delicious fresh herbs like oregano, chives, rosemary and basil. Instead of heavy rich mayo, bacon gives this pasta salad all the salty goodness anyone would want without being too heavy (you can always cut back on the bacon, too). And, of course, I couldn't forget the veggies! Zucchini, red onion, cherry tomatoes and super sweet corn overwhelm this dish with healthy nutritious flavors in the best possible way.
I wasn't the only one who loved it- just ask my husband.
Let's just say there were no leftovers on this one.
Herb and Bacon Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 lb. pasta noodles, cooked according to package instructions (I used orecchiette pasta)
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 cup sweet corn
4 medium zucchini, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 ounces crumbled feta
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a drizzle of oil to the pot and carefully add pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions until fully cooked, but not soggy (orecchiette was a great pasta for this salad). When ready, drain and rinse noodles with cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add your chopped bacon and cook until bacon is crispy and done. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon pieces from skillet and transfer to a paper towel to drain any excess grease.
Leaving 1-2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the skillet, drain any extra bacon grease from your skillet to a small bowl or cup. Return heat to medium and carefully add zucchini and corn to the skillet. Stir to coat the veggies in grease (so good, you guys!) and continue to cook until zucchini just starts to soften and corn turns golden brown. Add minced garlic to the veggies and mix well. Saute for an additional 1-2 minutes, remove from heat and transfer veggies to a large bowl to cool.
At this point your noodles should be ready and drained, bacon is waiting, and zucchini mix is cooling. In a small bowl add chopped herbs and mix with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (not too much here as the zucchini and corn are already covered in bacon grease).
Add pasta to the zucchini and corn and drizzle with the herb/oil mixture. Mix until evenly coated. Add the crispy bacon, chopped red onion and cherry tomatoes and gently mix again. Finally, top with your crumbled feta and toss.
This salad was delicious hot and cold :) And is officially my husband's new favorite.