Pasta salad is the comfort food of the salad world. It’s filling enough to be served on its own for dinner, but also nice to have as a snack any time of the day. It’s a dream for busy people because it can be prepared in the morning (or even the night before), and then served for dinner without any additional last-minute work.
Pasta salads are easy to make, but the one mistake some people make is to dress them too lightly. Pasta is a hearty ingredient so a light sprinkling of dressing gets masked by it. Also, remember that cold dishes can be less flavorful than hot dishes, so extra dressing is needed to make the flavors stand out.
This Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Tuna and Roasted Tomatoes is a well-rounded pasta salad that makes a nutritious meal. The tomatoes are so easy to roast at home and can be cooking in the oven while you prepare the rest of the salad. They are so much more delicious than the semi-dried or sun-dried tomatoes that you buy in the supermarket, but feel free to substitute them with sun-dried tomatoes if you’re pushed for time.
MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SALAD WITH TUNA AND ROASTED TOMATOES
(Serves 4-6 as a main course)
1 lb (500g) of dried pasta, boiled in salted water until al dente
1/2 lb (250g) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (you can substitute with semi-dried or sun-dried tomatoes if you don’t want to roast the tomatoes yourself)
1 large cucumber, cubed into bite-size pieces
12oz (350g) canned tuna in sunflower oil, drained
12oz (350g) black olives, drained
4-6 Tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
10 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (yes, I know it’s a lot)
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 plump garlic clove
1/2-1 tsp red chilli or cayenne powder (optional)
1-2 pinches sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 450F/225C.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, toss with olive oil, and place cut-side up on a baking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Keep them cut-side up for the entire roasting time. Allow them to cool to room temperature.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, boil 500g of dried pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, toss with a little oilve oil and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare your dressing. Mash the garlic clove with a pinch of sea salt with a pestle and mortar (if you don’t have a pestle and mortar, either grate the garlic clove finely using a cheese-grater, or dice finely).
- Combine the mashed garlic with the rest of the dressing ingredients in an empty jar, and shake well. Set aside.
- In your salad bowl, flake your drained tin tuna and add a good sprinkle of salt and 3 Tbsp of dressing. Combine well.
- Now add the cucumber, black olives, parsley and cooled pasta to the salad bowl and combine well with the tuna.
- Add the dressing and toss well.
- Add the cooled roasted tomatoes and gently fold into the salad (add these gently to avoid the skin separating from the tomato).
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within 2 days.