As Easy As Apple Pie

The Best Easy Greek Pasta Salad

A super flavorful, colorful, and easy Greek pasta salad made with healthy ingredients: creamy feta cheese, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, crunchy green bell pepper, pungent red onion, and tangy Kalamata olives, all tossed with a quick homemade vinaigrette. 

Enjoy this as a side for dinner, save the leftovers for lunch, or serve it up at your next summer picnic, potlucks, and BBQs!

If you love simple pasta salads like my Mediterranean Pasta Salad or Summer Pesto Pasta Salad, I think you’ll like this one too.

Close up hands holding a bowl of Greek pasta salad.

Easy Greek pasta salad recipe

I love making pasta salads during the hot summer months, and this one is already a favorite! It’s light yet filling with the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Aside from the pasta, nothing else requires cooking—which is really nice when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen.

Serve this pasta salad as a side or add some Greek chicken or lemon garlic shrimp and serve it as a main course.  You can make this pasta salad 100% ahead of time for stress-free prep and entertaining. 

Ingredients

You may already have most of the ingredients on hand. For this recipe you will need:

  • Pasta – I used fusilli but you can make this with any short-shaped pasta with nooks and crannies to trap the dressing. I recommend tri-color fusilli, penne, ziti, small shells, casarecce, orecchiette, elbow macaroni, or farfalle (bow tie). 
  • Tomatoes – I love the sweetness and juiciness of ripe cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes. Quarter large tomatoes or halve smaller ones.
  • Cucumber – Persian cucumbers are perfect for this recipe because they are thin-skinned (no need to peel them), and have minimal seeds.
  • Olives – I like to buy pitted Kalamata olives and leave them whole. You can substitute Kalamata olives with black olives.
  • Green bell pepper –  green bell peppers are traditional in a Greek salad, but you can use red, yellow, or orange if that is all you have on hand.
  • Feta cheese – it’s sold by the block or in crumbles. If you buy a block of feta cheese, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Red onion – to tame the bite of raw onions, soak them in a bowl of cold or ice water for 10 minutes, drain, and use them in your recipe.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Pasta salad ingredients on a marble table.

Greek salad dressing

The dressing is a simple mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

While you could use a bottled Greek vinaigrette, this homemade dressing gives the salad a bright, zingy flavor. Plus, it’s easy to whisk together and tastes better than anything you can buy at the store.

Whip up a batch and store it in a covered glass jar in the fridge, it will last for up to one week.

Greek salad dressing ingredients on a marble table.

How to make the best easy cold pasta salad

This easy recipe is quick and easy to pull together.

  • Boil the pasta – cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, 1 minute less than the package instructions. Then drain, rinse under cold water, and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking. 
  • Chop up your vegetables – prep the cucumber, tomatoes, green bell pepper, and red onion.
  • Make the dressing – add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar, close the lid, and give it a shake. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Combine all the ingredients – toss everything together in a big bowl, and finish it off with a sprinkle of oregano.
  • Serve – although this cold salad is delicious served right away, it tastes even better if you have time to chill it for 30 minutes before serving.

Don’t forget to let your pasta cool completely before tossing it with the veggies (nobody likes warm cucumbers!)

Customize it!

Adjust the recipe to your taste. For example, you could…

  • Pasta – swap the pasta for tortellini, orzo, quinoa, or couscous.
  • Veggies – add more veggies like artichoke hearts, spinach, corn, asparagus, zucchini, or avocado.
  • Cheese – crumbled goat cheese is a great alternative to feta.
  • Make it vegan – without any substitutions, this recipe is vegetarian. You can easily make it vegan by omitting the feta cheese.
  • Make it gluten-free – swap the whole wheat pasta for an alternative flour, like chickpea, lentil, quinoa, or brown rice pasta.
  • Add protein – make it a complete meal by adding rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp, tuna, or even sliced steak. If you want to keep it vegetarian, try out cubed firm tofu, black beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans.
A bowl of Greek pasta salad.

Make-ahead and storage tips

Make-Ahead – because this easy pasta salad doesn’t have any greens, it’s perfect to make ahead for gatherings. Pasta and vegetables can be prepped the day before and stored in the refrigerator in separate containers. And you can make the dressing up to 1 week in advance.

Leftovers – store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just be sure to keep a little extra dressing on the side to drizzle over when you are ready to serve it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you rinse pasta for pasta salad?

Yes, I recommend rinsing the pasta for two reasons:
– to stop the cooking process
– to remove some of the starches so the pasta doesn’t stick together as it cools.

Is Greek pasta salad served warm or cold?

It’s a personal preference, but I prefer my pasta salads cold.

What do you serve with pasta salad?

– Grilled meat – burgers, steaks, or BBQ chicken.
– Soups – Any cold soup like gazpacho will pair wonderfully.
– Sandwiches, wraps, or panini.

More summer recipes

If you make this recipe, please leave a feedback and rating in the comment section below. I always love hearing how it turns out for you! ♡

Greek pasta salad close up.
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(5 stars) 4 ratings

Easy Greek Pasta Salad

A super flavorful, colorful, and easy Greek pasta salad made with healthy, simple ingredients: creamy feta cheese, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, crunchy green bell pepper, pungent red onion, and tangy Kalamata olives, all tossed with a quick homemade vinaigrette. Enjoy this as a side for dinner, save the leftovers for lunch, or serve it up at your next summer picnic, potlucks, and BBQs!

Ingredients

For the pasta salad

  • ½ lb (230 g) dry pasta I used fusilli
  • a drizzle of olive oil to toss the pasta
  • 1 cup (150 g) grape or cherry tomatoes sliced into halves or quarters
  • 1 cup (120 g) sliced Persian cucumbers
  • 1 green bell pepper seeds and ribs removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced then rinsed to remove harsh bite 
  • ⅓ cup (65 g) pitted Kalamata olives
  • 3 oz. (85 g) feta cheese crumbled or cut into ½-inch cubes

For the Greek vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup (55 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano more for sprinkling
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Cook the pasta

  • In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions.
    Then drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process, and toss it with a little bit of olive oil.
    Set aside to cool.

Prepare the dressing

  • While the pasta boils, shake all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine all the ingredients

  • Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, drizzle the dressing, and toss to combine.
  • Finish it off with a sprinkle of oregano and serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container up to 3 days.

Notes

  • Nutrition: 1 portion is equivalent to 200 grams (1 cup).
  • Pasta – I used fusilli but you can make this with just about any short-shaped pasta. You can also swap the pasta for tortellini, orzo, quinoa, or couscous.
  • Red onion –  to tame the bite of raw onions, soak them in a bowl of cold or ice water for 10 minutes, drain, and use them in your recipe.
  • Make it vegan – without any substitutions, this recipe is vegetarian. You can easily make it vegan by omitting the feta cheese.
  • Make it gluten-free – swap the whole wheat pasta for an alternative flour, like chickpea, lentil, quinoa, or brown rice pasta.
  • Add protein – make it a complete meal by adding rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp, tuna, or even sliced steak. If you want to keep it vegetarian, try out cubed firm tofu, black beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans.
  • Leftovers – store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Taste and season again before serving if needed.
  • Make ahead – prepare the dressing up to 1 week in advance. Pasta and vegetables can be prepped the day before and stored in separate containers. 
  • Scaling the recipe – you can easily double or triple the recipe. Simply click on the number of servings in the recipe card and slide the toggle that appears to the number of servings you want to make. The ingredient amounts will change accordingly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portion, Calories: 307 kcal, Carbohydrates: 32.3 g, Protein: 8.4 g, Fat: 16.1 g, Saturated Fat: 1.3 g, Sodium: 289.2 mg, Fiber: 2.8 g, Sugar: 1.7 g
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Originally published August 2021, but updated to include new information.