Cardinals: Mediterranean pasta salad

May 19, 2022

A summer staple, but with a Mediterranean twist. We all know and love it: pasta salad. It’s simple, fresh, and everything you could ever want, all within the budget of a poor college student (That’s right, I’m talking to you!). You might think this is just some unfilling side dish, but this pasta salad has been transformed into the star of the show with blackened chicken! Here you’ll find all your favorite pasta salad ingredients (rotini pasta, tomatoes, oil-based dressing), with flavorful Greek-inspired elements (olives, feta cheese). Now sit back and relax, because with how easy this lunch is to make, you might even have time to watch Mamma Mia during your next break!

Cook time: 10 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Serves 5


  • 12 oz Tri-color rotini, cooked
  • A quarter of red onion, diced
  • 6 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2.25 oz can black olives, sliced
  • 0.5 lb grilled or blackened chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 fl oz red wine vinaigrette
  • Half a lemon, juiced


1. Fill a tall pot with water about halfway to three-fourths full and set the stove to medium heat. Once boiling, add pasta and let cook for 7 to 10 minutes (until al-dente). Once cooked, strain and let cool. Wash cool water over the pasta to chill.

2. Cut half of the cherry tomatoes into fourths and add to a large bowl

3. Dice the red onion fourth, then add to the large bowl with the tomatoes

4. Drain olives, and add to bowl

5. Cut the grilled chicken into small pieces and add it to the large bowl

6. Add chilled pasta to the chicken and vegetable mixture

7. Add 3 oz of red wine vinaigrette to mixture, less or more for preference

9. Squeeze half a fresh lemon into mixture,

10. Mix the mixture well until everything is coated evenly. Serve and enjoy!


  • Taste: 8/10 –So many bright flavors! With the addition of the cheese and vinaigrette, they all blend wonderfully together!
  • Mouthfeel/consistency: 8/10— Something different in each bite! Better to eat with large spoon though if you want a little of everything in each bite.
  • Smell: 9/10— Because all the ingredients are fresh, you really get some good smells! The vinaigrette adds an especially bright smell to this dish
  • Visual appeal: 9/10 –Look at all those bright colors! This dish can be made with regular rotini, but what’s the fun in that? This dish reminds us of a summer garden!
  • Creativity: 7/10 –Pasta salad? You’ll find this dish at almost every potluck or similar type of gathering. Especially popular during the warmer season because of its cool and refreshing taste. However, the addition of the feta cheese gives it that extra ‘oomph’ it needed to really be recognized!