Summer backyard BBQ or picnic potluck this easy Greek pasta salad is all you need. Light, fresh, delicious, easy to make and healthy. All this and simple pasta salad vinaigrette to drizzle that lifts up the flavors. The perfect recipe for your BBQ or potluck party.
Planning a BBQ backyard party, potluck, picnics what ever is on your mind, you’ll be glad you made this classic Greek pasta salad and pasta salad is guaranteed crowd pleaser. Now that the weather has turned so hot, a good cold pasta salad would be terrific.
I wasn’t a pasta salad person until I tried this best Greek pasta salad at a café in my town . Their pasta salad was to-die-for. Until then I thought salads can mean only vegetables (or fruits) loaded in it and nothing more. Then I was enlightened. I confess, I didn’t know pasta salad was a thing. Did it even exist, I wondered! Thanks to Ka who introduced to this amazing café who had the BEST Greek pasta salad.
There is this association, pasta salad means that mediocre stuff you get at cafes, deli, grocery stores! Most of the pasta salads that we get in these places are mediocre – mushy pasta, veggies that literally swim in mayo loosing their crunch and a salad that’s under seasoned, let’s just say no seasoning at all!
If you love pasta salads you definitely want to make your own healthy Greek pasta salad. It not only gives you the freedom to pick the vegetables of your choice and seasoning, it also ensures the salad is healthy and fresh. Use vegetables that are your favorite that is not nasty to taste when raw. Season as per your taste preference. As much freedom as we have to customize Greek pasta salad as per your preference, just don’t compromise on the feta cheese and red wine vinaigrette dressing. A good salad needs a good salad dressing and for Greek salads red wine vinegar dressing are the best suits! Not just easy to make, but they work like charm with the salad.
Greek pasta salad with feta and olives add saltiness, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions add crunch. It’s a best Greek pasta salad packed with flavors medley of crisp veggies, creamy feta cheese, al dente pasta, and an easy vinaigrette that works. And it all comes together in minutes. Summer meals – yes we eat it as a meal (side dish if I have to be corrected) be like this.
The fact that Greek pasta salad tastes even better after a day of refrigeration makes it a great meal prep dish too. Make ahead and stash in refrigerator. Pasta takes in all the wonderful flavors from the seasoning. Just toss a little extra salt and olive oil before serving it straight from fridge to adjust the seasoning and add moisture to pasta.
What you need for Greek pasta salad recipe?
Fusili bucati or rotini
Feta cheese and salad dressing.
A handful of simple readily available ingredients goes in making a great Greek pasta salad. Except for feta I would say. In my part of the world FETA cheese is not easily available in any and all store around you. But you sure get it in bigger grocery stores and almost all the online grocery stores. Look out in those stores. Also FETA cheese is expensive here, but if you are determined to make a great authentic taste summer Greek pasta salad then you want to take that one small extra step to get FETA cheese.
Red wine vinaigrette dressing for Greek pasta salad
I prefer red wine vinaigrette dressing any day for healthy greek pasta salad. A clove of garlic for flavor with fresh Oregano and basil during summer when the garden is full of lush green fresh herbs and vegetables. If using dried herbs use about half the measure as fresh herbs. And don’t worry about the tang in red wine vinegar, it get balanced with the FETA cheese.
A simple Greek pasta salad dressing has
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Minced garlic
What pasta is right for Greek pasta salad?
Pastas small in shapes works best. Like penne, farfalle, fusilli, tortellini. We have used (because we love it) fusili bucati variety of pasta here.
Meal prep Greek pasta salad?
Yes you absolutely can. Cold Greek pasta salads are best during summer and it tastes great for days. That is also the reason it makes a great meal prep dish.
You can serve this as side dish for grilled chicken. Mmmm it’s my favorite way to serve this healthy Greek pasta salad.
Or you can serve it as meal as it is. Chop grilled garlic lemon grilled chicken into pieces and mix it with this Greek Feta pasta salad if serving it for lunch. You need a little bit more for lunch, don’t ya.
We had this as a meal without even bothering much about the proteins. With feta and all the vegetables and olives the salad is filling enough. There’s really no need for protein if you ask me. And trust it was so light, fresh and satisfying dinner. Simple, light dinner.
To pack Greek pasta salad with feta cucumbers tomatoes as meal prep mix all the pasta ingredients and portion them out into meal prep boxes. Store the dressing into small containers separately and store them in fridge for 3-4 days. I would like to finish this pasta salad Greek within 4 days cause of the Feta.
How to make Greek pasta salad
Cook pasta al-dente.
Chop vegetables while pasta cooks.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the dressing. Mix. Serve for few hours before serving.
WATCH QUICK VIDEO ON HOW I MAKE GREEK PASTA SALAD
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- 8 oz fusilli bucati pasta or rotini, farfalle, penne
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 English cucumber seeded and diced
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup good quality FETA cheese cut into cubes
- ½ cup Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
fill a large pot with water seasoned with little salt and bring it to boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne, and return to the boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 9 1/2 minutes (for bucati). Drain pasta and let it cool. (DO NOT OVER COOK PASTA)
while pasta cooks chop all vegetables.
- Whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano. Set aside.
- Combine pasta, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and feta cheese in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and mix together. Cover and chill for 3 hours before serving.
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