Greek Pasta Salad our go-to recipe for summer backyard BBQ or picnic potluck. Light, fresh and easy to make and healthy. With simple salad vinaigrette drizzled on it to lift up the flavors.
Planning a BBQ backyard party, potluck, picnics what ever is on your mind, you’ll be glad you made this classic 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 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.
I was enlightened. I confess, I didn’t know pasta salad was a thing. Did it even exist, I wondered! Thanks to my buddy who introduced me to this amazing café who had the BEST pasta salad.
I’ve been told by many – pasta salad are 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 salad at home. 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 pasta salad recipe 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.
To your favorite pasta add feta cheese and olives along with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and onions add crunch. Packed with flavors, medley of crisp veggies, creamy feta cheese, al dente pasta, and an easy vinaigrette that works.
If you got a few minutes, and all the ingredients, you are just a few minutes away from a salad that will make your belly happy. It’s one of the best summer meal – yes we eat it as a meal (side dish if I have to be corrected) be like this.
The fact that any 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 To Make This Salad?
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 will surely 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 pasta salad then you want to take that one small extra step to get FETA cheese.
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
I prefer red wine vinaigrette dressing any day. 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 pasta salad dressing has
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Minced garlic
What Pasta Is For The Recipe?
Pastas small in shapes works best. Like penne, farfalle, fusilli, tortellini. We have used (because we love it) fusili bucati variety of pasta here.
Can I Meal Prep This Salad?
Yes you absolutely can. Cold 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. My favorite.
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.
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 it as meal prep – mix all the pasta salad 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 of your choice to 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.
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Easy Greek Pasta Salad
- 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 FETA cheese (use good quality cheese) cut into cubes
- ½ cup Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste
For red wine vinaigrette
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil use good quality oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon fresh oregano (or) 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cook pasta –
- 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)
Prep vegetables –
- 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.
- Pastas small in shapes works best. Like penne, farfalle, fusilli, tortellini or Orzo.
- Your pasta salad is only that delicious as your ingredients. Use fresh vegetables.
- Do not use pre-crumbled feta. Buy good quality block feta and crumble or cut it just when you want to use it.
- If storing for more than day, make sure to finish this pasta salad within 4 days. Feta cheese will begin to taste weird if the salad sits in fridge for longer.