Picnic Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Olives


To keep it simple, it’s tough living in North Carolina right now. As a long-standing straight ally of the LGBT community in Greensboro, the impact of North Carolina’s HB2 is very real and very destructive to our hearts, our minds and our daily lives. It’s the subject of every dinner, drink and dog walk. We are living each day advocating for a repeal of the bill and for the proper inclusion of all citizens and to respectfully govern the cities we live in.

With that said, wherever you may be reading this from, know that this bill is not a reflection of the city I choose to live (and blog) in.

When I moved to Greensboro in 2005 to work for the Guilford Green Foundation, I was quickly adopted by a community of LGBT people and allies that have helped shape my life in this city. They are passionate, caring and dedicated people who have a vested interest in making Greensboro, NC the most inclusive city in the South. And for many reasons, they are living that passion through their work. I’m lucky to still be engaged in the ongoing effort to fulfill this dream.

So on Sunday, I joined friends and family of the LGBT community for an afternoon of fun and recreation. 50 rainbow kites were given out to families and children to fly. With packs of children, we rode bicycles and attempted kart-wheels and double dutch jump rope. We ate fried chicken, and pasta salad and the most beautiful spring deviled eggs with kale micro-greens. Mostly, we laughed and smiled and forgot about politics for a sunny afternoon.

In the moment, with wind in our faces and rainbow kites in the air, nothing was inequitable or unfair. Just like I think the universe intended us to live our lives.

Equality isn’t complex. And because this is a food blog, neither is this pasta salad recipe. 

Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad, adapted from thekitchn

  • 1 pound bowtie pasta
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped into 1/2-inch florets
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Flaky salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions in a generous quantity of boiling, well-salted water. Drain and return to the pan or a large bowl and toss until coated with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender — about 5 to 7 minutes. Toss the broccoli with the cooked pasta.

Crumble the feta cheese into the pasta, and stir in the olives as well. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss with the pasta. Season generously with salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight, or until serving.

Photo Credit: Lynn Hey


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