Greek Pasta Salad
Channel warm, sunny vibes with this easy Greek Pasta Salad recipe! This is a fresh and flavorful dish that’s perfect for feeding a crowd. It’s loaded with colorful ingredients that have classic Mediterranean flavors and it’s also fabulous to prep ahead because it’s even tastier the next day! So great for make-ahead lunches and cookouts!
This Greek Pasta Salad has become our go-to side to enjoy in the summer! We love this for lunches around the pool, bringing to potlucks, and picnics. It’s also perfect for those times when you’re entertaining family and friends. We made this pasta salad recipe for our Mother’s Day barbecue and it was a huge hit!
It’s packed with plenty of fresh veggies, hearty pasta, creamy feta cheese and a Greek-inspired vinaigrette for a flavor combination that can’t be beat.
Love how light and flavorful this is. I love the combinations and dressing too. This has become our new go-to pasta salad!— Barbara
The ingredients for this recipe are ones associated with Greek cuisine, like red onion, feta and parsley. However, with this type of salad, you can just think of the ingredient list as a guide. Feel free to use as much or as little of the suggested ingredients, and if you don’t like one or more of them, it can be left out or swapped for something else. Here’s the list:
- Red onion. Great for salads because it adds beautiful color and has a more mild, sweet flavor than other onion varieties. For this salad, we soak the red onion in the vinaigrette to remove any sharp flavor.
- Pasta. For pasta salads like this one, we love using bowtie pasta (sometimes called farfalle), but any short pasta will work. Other great options include fusilli, penne or rotini.
- Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes. Juicy tomatoes provide bursts of flavor and they’re especially delicious in the summertime! Depending on the size, cut these in half or quarter them.
- Cucumber. Crisp cucumber makes an amazing addition. It’s light, refreshing and has that perfect crunch.
- Olives. We like black olives, but feel free to use Kalamata olives if those are your preference.
- Artichokes. Canned artichoke hearts in water add extra flavor and texture to this dish.
- Bell peppers. Bell peppers add a sweet, colorful crunch to every bite. The recipe calls for roasted red peppers from a jar, but you can use fresh bell pepper if that’s what you have on hand.
- Parsley. Chopped fresh parsley finishes this salad with a nice pop of color and freshness.
- Feta cheese. Crumbled feta is just a must in Greek salads. To make this salad vegan, simply omit the feta.
The dressing ingredients are a simple mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon and herbs, and can be tossed together in minutes. Use as much or as little of it as you would like to dress the dish. If you have a bottle of store-bought bottled Greek salad dressing or Italian dressing that you like, you can use 1 to 2 cups of that instead.
How to make this recipe
Greek pasta salad is one of the easiest recipes to toss together. The most time consuming part about making this salad is cutting up all the vegetables. Here’s the simple method:
Full, printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
- Make the dressing. Start by combining all of the vinaigrette ingredients. You can whisk them in a small bowl or, if you have a mason jar, add the ingredients to the jar, seal the lid and shake it vigorously to fully mix the ingredients. Next, slice the red onion and add the slices to the jar or bowl. Soaking the red onion in the vinaigrette will add flavor to the dressing, and also take the sharp bite out of the onion.
- Cook the pasta. Now, boil the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted water until al dente.
- Chop the veggies. While the pasta is cooking, dice and chop up all of the veggies and other ingredients. This keeps things moving quick and decreases prep time. You’ll have this whole salad ready to go in under 20 minutes, which is pretty awesome considering it can last in the fridge for about 5 days!
- Toss all ingredients. Once the pasta has cooked, drain it and run it under cold water to quickly cool it off. Then, place the pasta salad ingredients and drained pasta in a large bowl. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and onions until all ingredients are well coated.
- Serve. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Taste and add more salt & pepper as needed. Garnish with fresh herbs and crumbled feta cheese.
- Right out of the bowl. The pasta and all of the vegetables make this salad plenty filling for a light meal. You could also add diced grilled chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken for a little more protein and staying power.
- With fresh greens. If you wanted to increase the veggies and nutrition even more, you could toss with fresh greens, then add on a bit of extra vinaigrette to create a green salad.
- As a side dish. The way we usually serve this is as a side dish to grilled meats, burgers or sandwiches.
- Chicken. This salad pairs wonderfully with this grilled chicken breast or this baked chicken.
- Fish. Serve this with grilled salmon, pan seared cod or parmesan baked cod for a healthy, light meal.
- Burgers. My healthy beef burger, turkey burger, salmon avocado burger or black bean veggie burger would all be tasty with this salad.
- Dressing. The homemade vinaigrette is super easy to mix up and adds the perfect tang, but feel free to swap it out with about 1 to 2 cups of your favorite bottled Greek vinaigrette or Italian dressing.
- Make ahead. Pasta salad tastes better over time! If you’re able to, make this dish a day or so before serving.
- Different ingredients. The ingredients in the recipe are my favorites, but feel free to swap them with what you like best.
- Add more ingredients. You can add other Greek-style ingredients to your salad such as sun-dried tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, prosciutto or pepperoncini peppers.
- Dietary restrictions. This salad can easily be made dairy free and vegan by omitting the feta cheese. It can also be made gluten free by using a gluten-free pasta.
Frequently asked questions
Not using the right size and shape of pasta. You want to use a short pasta.
Overcooking or undercooking the pasta. Cook pasta just until al dente.
Not seasoning the pasta enough. Once everything is mixed, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Not dressing the pasta salad while it’s still warm. You will want to cool the pasta slightly, but don’t wait too long before tossing it in the vinaigrette.
Making your pasta salad too far in advance. This great to make ahead a few hours or a day, but after more than a day, it will start to lose some freshness.
For pasta that will be served chilled, it’s recommended to rinse it in cold water to bring the temperature down. It also keeps the pasta loose for the salad. When left unrinsed, the starchy coating can make the pasta gummy and clump together.
Make ahead & storing
- Make ahead. This salad is great to make a day in advance of serving it because it gets tastier over time. You can also mix the vinaigrette together up to 2 days in advance, and store it in the refrigerator.
- Storing leftovers. Store leftover salad in an airtight storage container in the fridge for about 5 days. Before serving again, give it a good stir, taste and season again as needed.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Greek Pasta Salad
For the vinaigrette:
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt , or to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
For the pasta salad:
- 1/2 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 16 ounces dried short pasta, such as rotini, penne, cavatappi or bowties
- 8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 small to medium English cucumber, scrape seeds out with a spoon & dice
- 1/2 to 1 cup pitted sliced olives , black or Kalamata
- 1/2 to 1 cup canned chopped artichokes, packed in water
- 1/2 to 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves , plus more to garnish
- 4 to 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese , plus more to garnish
- To make the vinaigrette, add all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl or jar with a lid and whisk or shake jar to combine.
- Add the red onion into the vinaigrette to soften. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Cook the pasta. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (soft with just a bit of chew) about 8 minutes or according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking; dice, chop and prep all other ingredients.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and run under cold water to quickly cool off the pasta.
- Place the pasta salad ingredients and drained pasta in a large serving bowl. Toss the pasta salad with the vinaigrette and onions until all ingredients are well coated.
- Refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 2 hours before serving. Taste and add more salt & pepper as needed. Garnish with more diced fresh parsley and crumbled feta cheese.