Growing up my mother’s family would serve this at the beach out of a cooler during the one week of summer that we would vacation at the Jersey Shore. We still affectionately refer to it as Beach Salad and my mother insists that one of the ingredients is a sprinkle of sand. The recipe also specifically lists pasta shells (because you know, the beach) but you can use any shape pasta you prefer or happen to have on hand. I highly recommend mixing all the ingredients together the night before and letting it marinate and chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. It will keep well for at least 2-3 days and gets better the longer it’s chilled. I added the watermelon and fresh mint to the dish. I know you’re not supposed to mess with tradition but the combination is truly magical summer deliciousness on a plate.
Pasta Salad with Spinach, Feta and Watermelon
- 1 lb. medium size pasta shells
- 1 lb. fresh spinach washed
- 1/2 c. prepared Italian salad dressing I use Good Seasons brand
- 1 t. garlic salt
- 1 c. crumbled feta cheese
- 2 c. watermelon cut into cubes or made into balls with a melon baller
- 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
- A sprinkle of sand optional
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water 10-12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot off the heat.
- Add the spinach, Italian dressing and garlic salt to the pasta while it is still warm and toss to combine.
- If you have the time, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. Before serving, add the feta cheese, watermelon and mint leaves and gently toss to combine.
- If serving right away, transfer to a serving dish and add the feta cheese, watermelon and mint leaves and gently toss to combine.