Bring some international color and flair to your next barbeque or picnic with this zesty Greek-style salad. It's unique flavors and awesome eye-appeal will keep them coming back for more!

The spinach leaves in the salad have a hearty texture and peppery flavor that matches perfectly with the olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The olive oil based dressing is bright and zesty without being overwhelming, and the whole wheat pasta absorbs just enough of the dressing and vegetable flavors to make all the ingredients work perfectly together.

This salad is a natural with grilled chicken or steak - the flavors are very complimentary, and it's sophisticated enough to serve to your most important guests. But don't save it for special occasions! It's affordable and easy enough to become a family favorite, and you'll find it goes equally well with backyard burgers and hot dogs.

But this salad is a lot more than just great looking and great tasting - it's great for you as well. Spinach is a fantastic choice for anyone interested in keeping calories low and nutrition high; there are only seven tiny calories in a whole cup of raw spinach, and it's high in fiber that keeps you feeling full and satisfied for a long time. Spinach also delivers plenty of nutrients including niacin,  zinc, protein, vitamins A, C, E , and K, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Wow!

This recipe creates a sizeable salad, so everyone is sure to get plenty. If you're lucky enough to have leftovers, they make the perfect light lunch the next day!

Savory Greek-Style Pasta and Spinach Salad
*  1 box whole wheat rotini pasta
*  two handfuls of loose-leaf spinach (a little less than half a pound bag)
*  1 cup black and/or green olives, sliced
*  2 cucumbers, sliced
*  8 - 10 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
*  1 medium red onion, sliced
*  1 green pepper, coarsely chopped 
dressing:
*  3/4 cup olive oil
*  1/4 cup red wine vinegar
*  2 teaspoons dried oregano
*  1 clove garlic, crushed
*  salt and pepper
garnish (optional):
*  3 - 4 leaves of red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
*  1 ounce of feta cheese, crumbled

Cook the pasta according to package directions - watch carefully, because whole wheat pasta can overcook very quickly and you want your pasta to be tender yet firm. Drain and rinse in cold water, then combine with remaining salad ingredients and toss to mix well. 

Combine the dressing ingredients (either whisk them together or give them a whir in the blender) and pour over salad. Toss gently but thoroughly to ensure that everything is well coated. 

Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least three hours. Immediately before serving add red leaf lettuce and toss againFree Reprint Articles, then garnish with crumbled feta.