Feta Pasta Primavera

Is it hot where you are?  It’s hot where I am…WAY too early in the summer if you ask me…and it’s nice and humid, too.  This makes me cranky, partly because my hair decides to sulk about the heat in its own creative way, and partly because I can’t bring myself to turn on the oven, and I love and adore my oven.  That’s when this cool, soothing version of pasta primavera comes to the rescue.  As long as I can bring myself to turn on the stove to boil the water, I’m home free…it’s all nice cold pasta salad sailing from there!

You can use any old short pasta you have in your cabinet – ziti, elbows, rotini will all work just fine – but I recently discovered a new pasta shape called cavatappi.  It looks like a cross between a little baby tuba and a conch shell, and it’s just perfect for drinking up whatever delicious sauce or dressing you have going on.  So that’s what I used for this supper, and it helped even more with my hazy hot and humid crankiness.  It’s the little things!

Once you have the pasta cooked, cool it down under some cold running water, and then toss it with a quick dressing of lemon zest and juice mixed with a teeny bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Now all you have to do is stir in some veggies…anything you have on hand would be fine, but I used peas, cherry tomatoes and some cucumber that I cut into nice little strips.  Some fresh chopped dill, a generous handful of feta cheese, and I was back to feeling like this.

(Disclaimer: that is not me.  I’m related to him though, and he also makes me feel less cranky just by looking at him.)

And with that, let me hand over the only pasta primavera recipe you’ll ever need for sultry summer evenings.

Feta Pasta Primavera
Serves: 3-4 servings
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 8 ounces cooked short pasta, such as elbows, rotini or cavatappi
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into 2 inch sticks
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Make dressing by whisking lemon zest, juice, oil and salt and pepper together.
  2. Cool pasta by running under cold water. Drain well, and mix with dressing.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients, toss well and serve.

Still Hungry?

Soba Noodles with Edamame from Framed Cooks

Classic Pasta Primavera from Simply Recipes

 Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta from Framed Cooks


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  1. says

    He makes me feel less cranky looking at him too !
    There is no feta available in Buenos Aires… how sorry do you feel for me ?
    It is also winter but no reason why I can’t mess around with this and make it with what is available … besitos from a freezing cold Argentina. C

  2. Kari says

    This. Looks. Amazing. I, sadly, am not a huge fan of dill. Any suggestions for a different fresh herb? Thanks.

    • Kate says

      With the lemon and the feta here’s enough flavor in the one that you could actually leave the herbs out altogether if you wanted – I might grind a little more pepper on it. But fresh thyme would be wonderful in this (either chop or crush the little thyme leaves to release the flavor in the leaves). If you try it, let me know how it is! :-)

  3. angie heller says

    Hi Kate! I love this recipe(and I miss you)I am going to make this ahead so it will be all ready to enjoy when we get home Sunday night!

  4. Joyce says

    I bought some cavatappi today in order to make this salad, but it looks different than the one in your photos. Could you be using Gigli or Torchio (I googled “pasta shapes”). I’m going to use the cavatappi, but thought I’d check.

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes! I’m going to make the butter tomato sauce (even splurged on the San Marzanos), make my own ricotta, and serve with meatballs.

    You’ve given me so many, many great ideas, I can’t even count them!

    • Kate says

      Hi Joyce – I just checked the box (sorry it took me so long) and it does say cavatappi…but I’m sure whatever shape you use it will still taste great! And thanks for your sweet words about the recipes…great feedback like this keeps me cooking! :)

  5. ruthie says

    Hey, when you’re grilling, put your pasta water on there and don’t heat up the house. I’m with you on the cold pasta. I always make a bunch when I have to cook some because I love it leftover. Whether for salads like this one, which looks divine, BTW, or to dump in a little sauce and heat it up that way, it’s such a time saver. I’m thinking I need to make some pasta tomorrow. I usually just do angel hair, but this salad needs something sturdier. No cavatappi, but i do have some piccolo penne which would be good, and bless me, I have all the other ingredients, too! Thanks!

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