Easy Greek Pasta Salad
This easy Greek pasta salad recipe is the best kind of pasta salad for school or work lunch and is a great make ahead dish for a barbecue, picnic or potluck, and also makes for a great side. Tender pasta loaded with garden tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers tossed in a homemade Greek dressing with Kalamata olives and Feta cheese. It has the flavours of a traditional horiatiki or village salad with the addition of the pasta and a fabulous Greek vinaigrette that I use on just about any kind of salad. We often add grilled chicken or even chickpeas to this pasta salad making it a complete and filling meal.
Greek pasta salad ingredients:
- PASTA: Any short pasta will work gluten free or regular - I usually choose one that has some nooks and crannies so that all the flavours envelop the pasta well
- TOMATOES: I love to use cherry or grape tomatoes because they are bite size and easy to just slice in a half and add into the pasta
- CUCUMBERS: Any variety of cucumbers will work here, I usually use English cucumbers or a few smaller Persian cucumbers because you don’t have to peel them or remove the seeds.
- Sweet PEPPERS: I love mixing up the colours so I used red and green bell peppers but orange or yellow are perfectly fine too
- RED ONION: Greeks love raw onions but I know that isn’t the case for everyone - feel free to reduce amount if that is the case and if you would like to take some of the sharpness out of the onions simply soak them in cold, lightly salted water for 10 minutes - then drain before adding to salad - this keeps the onions crisp and brightly flavored, yet mellows them out.
- OLIVES: Kalamata olives or black olives are the most traditional but really and truly any olives will work here - use your favorite, whatever you have in your fridge or a combo of a few. You choose wether you want to pit them or not or if you prefer them sliced or left whole.
- FETA Cheese: Well this one is kind of non-negotiable in my opinion - feel free to adjust amounts accordingly to taste. That goes for the feta and all the rest of the ingredients in this salad or dressing too. If you are keeping this plant based replace with a plant based version or leave out.
How to Make Greek Pasta Salad
This is such an easy recipe that can also be made ahead. Here are the simple steps:
- Whisk together your vinaigrette.
- Chop all your veggies
- Cook your pasta al dente and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
- Combine pasta with the veggies, and feta in a large bowl and toss with dressing, chill before serving! So easy and so delicious
Variations to this Greek pasta salad:
Swap the pasta for cheese or spinach tortellini to make it a Greek Tortellini Salad Chop all the veggies into even smaller pieces and use orzo in place of the pasta to make a Greek Orzo Pasta Salad Make it a meal and add grilled chicken or chickpeas to make it a Greek Chicken or chickpea Pasta Salad Add arugula or baby spinach or baby Kale to the salad to add some greens to it.Toss greens in just before serving so that they don’t get soggy.
Make-Ahead Greek Pasta Salad
You can prep all of the ingredients for this Greek pasta salad the night before and store them in separate containers or bowls, including the salad dressing. This will help keep all the ingredients fresh. If you wanted to put it together and make ahead you could but I would leave out the tomatoes as they will softened as they sit - just toss them in right before serving. The rest of the ingredients hold up well and stay crunchy.
If you liked this salad recipe you will love these:
For the pasta salad
- 454 grams or 1 lb short pasta of choice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pint (approx 2 cups) of grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped (or one large English cucumber)
- 1 green, red or yellow bell pepper, stem, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
- ½ medium red onion peeled and chopped
- ½ cup Kalamata olives (pitted or left as is)
- ½-1 cup feta cheese crumbled or cubed
For the vinaigrette
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic minced/ or grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey or sweetener to taste (optional)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped (optional)
- Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling and salted water accepting to package directions, drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process and then set aside to cool while you prep the rest of the salad. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, mustard, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, onion, olives, and feta cheese.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad, add the fresh parsley if using and toss gently to combine. Season with more salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3-5 days.