Of all the things to love about summer, pasta salads easily make my top 10. I think they are the perfect food. They have all the carby comfort of a hot bowl of mac and cheese in February. But they are also capable of being as crisp and refreshing as a bowl of coleslaw. And pasta is just as versatile in a salad bowl as it is in a skillet. It can take on any fruit and veggie you throw at it. Soak in any dressing your imagination can dream up. And cozy up to any main event on your dinner plate. Or, if your me, pasta salad can dominate your dinner plate. Today’s Tirokafteri Pasta Salad is capable of delivering a full-meal-deal experience but it can also play nice with others.
If the word “tirokafteri” is new to you, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite dip. Yes, tirokafteri is a dip. A dip I turned into a dressing because I can’t leave well enough alone. Tirokafteri is a Greek dip that belongs to a family of dishes called Meze. Meze is a collection of small plates that are typically served as snacks in social settings. Tirokafteri is a spicy feta dip comprised of yogurt, hot pickled peppers, olive oil, garlic, and of course, feta. It’s a personal favorite of mine and Sunny’s and it’s a delicious alternative to more popular dips like tzatziki, hummus, or taramosalata. But honestly, I like it best when these dips flock together.
In order to transform tirokafteri from a dip to a dressing, I scaled back the feta and upped the yogurt. So if you would prefer to make it as a dip instead, follow the recipe below as written but double the feta and reduce the yogurt to 100g. But if you’re on team pasta salad, make the recipe as outlined below and I think you’ll find you have a new favorite. This dish is extremely bbq-friendly and it travels well, which makes it ideal for the triumphant return of socializing.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Tirokafteri Pasta Salad. If you’re looking for more guidance, check out the video below where I over-explain everything. And if you like the video, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. I post a new recipe every week.
Tirokafteri Pasta Salad with Crushed Pita Chips
- Food Processor
Tirokafteri (Spicy Feta) Dressing
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- ⅓ cup pickled hot peppers packed in oil
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 200g (7oz) feta crumbled
- 150g (5oz) Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup olive oil
Tirokafteri Pasta Salad
- 500g (18oz) dried short pasta I used fiorelli
- 1 batch Tirokafteri Dressing see above
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- 3 mini cucumbers sliced
- 255g (9oz) cherry tomatoes halved
- ⅓ cup Kalamata olives pitted
- 150g (5oz) pita chips crushed
- ¼ cup peashoots
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves tightly packed
- lemon wedges for serving
For the Dressing
- Place the garlic in a food processor. Add the pickled hot peppers and crushed red pepper flakes. Blitz until the mixture resembled mulch.
- Add the feta, and Greek yogurt, and turn on the food processor. Stream in the olive oil and continue to blitz until a smooth cohesive mixture forms. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and chill until ready to serve.
For the Salad
- Place a large pot of water over medium-high heat and bring it up to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package’s directions.
- When the pasta is done, drain and rinse the pasta under cold water. Transfer it to a very large bowl and pour the tirokafteri over top. Toss to coat. Taste and season with salt if needed.
- Add the red onion, cucumber, and tomatoes to the bowl. Add the olives, pickled hot peppers, and crushed pita chips. Fold the veggies into the pasta before transferring the salad to a serving platter. Garnish the salad with pea shoots, lemon wedges, and fresh mint and serve.