Quick and Easy Greek Pasta Salad
A super flavorful, colorful, and easy Greek pasta salad made with healthy, simple ingredients: creamy feta cheese, juicy tomatoes, crispy cucumber, crunchy green bell pepper, pungent red onion, and tangy Kalamata olives, all tossed with a homemade vinaigrette. Enjoy this as a side for dinner and save leftovers for lunch, or serve it up at your next summer party!
Greek pasta salad recipe
I love making pasta salads during the summer, and this one is already a favorite! It’s light yet filling with the perfect balance of flavors and textures.
Pasta salad 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 just about any short-shaped pasta. I recommend penne, ziti, small shells, casarecce, orecchiette, or farfalle.
- 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 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.
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.
How to make cold pasta salad
This easy pasta salad recipe is quick and easy to pull together.
- Boil the pasta – Cook the pasta 1 minute less than package instructions, drain and rinse under cold water, then toss it with a little oil to prevent sticking.
- Chop up your vegetables – Prep the cucumber, tomatoes, green bell pepper, and red onion.
- Prepare the vinaigrette – 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, finish it off with a sprinkle of oregano, and dig in!
Don’t forget to let your pasta cool completely before tossing it with the veggies (nobody likes warm cucumbers!)
Make it your own
Adjust the recipe to your taste. For example, you could…
- Swap the pasta for tortellini, orzo, quinoa, or couscous.
- 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 this cold pasta salad recipe a complete meal by adding rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp, tuna, or even chickpeas.
MAKE-AHEAD AND STORAGE TIPS
Make-Ahead – Because this easy pasta salad doesn’t have any greens, it’s a good one to make-ahead for gatherings.
Prepare the dressing up to 1 week in advance. The pasta and vegetables can be prepped the day before and stored in the refrigerator in separate containers.
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.
More summer recipes:
- Mexican Street Corn with Avocado
- Chicken taco Bowls
- Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Frozen Mango Margarita
Did you make this recipe and loved it? Do you have any questions? Leave it all in the comment section below! (And don’t forget to rate it! 😄)
Easy Greek Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad
- ½ lb (226 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) Persian cucumbers sliced
- 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 vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup 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
Cook the pasta
- In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta 1 minute less than package instructions, then drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Toss it with a little olive oil, and 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 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 for up to 3 days.
- Leftovers: store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- 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.