A quick 15-minute Greek pasta salad packed with colorful and healthy ingredients for a tasty side dish. Loaded with fresh vegetables, feta cheese, and tossed with a lemon herb dressing.
This easy Greek pasta salad is a Mediterranean delight! Each serving includes tender pasta, fresh vegetables, and creamy feta cheese. A lemon and herb dressing adds a light and tangy coating to each bite. The best part is that this recipe is ready to serve in 15 minutes!
Greek cuisine incorporates ripe, fresh ingredients, with cheese and aromatic herbs. It’s no wonder that the Mediterranean diet is so popular. Guilt-free eating sounds like a good idea to me. Even with limited time in the kitchen, a nutritious side dish can come together in a snap!
Greek pasta salad ingredients
Pasta – How do you choose the right dried pasta for the salad? I like to use shorter noodles that have grooves that can catch the dressing when tossed together. My top pick is Gemelli pasta, and they look like tiny unicorn horns. The twisted shape grabs on easily to the ingredients and has a nice chew. Rotini, penne, cavatappi or farfalle are other excellent pasta options.
Vegetables – Gosh, all of the colors from the fresh vegetables in this pasta salad are gorgeous, don’t you agree? Packed with ripe baby tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, bell peppers, pungent onions, and briny kalamata olives, yes!
Cheese – A generous chunk of ripened feta cheese adds creaminess to the pasta salad. Cutting the feta into small cubes then tossing with some olive oil and oregano adds an extra layer of flavor to the cheese.
How to make a homemade dressing
Dressings and vinaigrettes are an emulsion, a thickened sauce used with various types of salads. Any dressing can be made at home using a simple combination of oil, vinegar or acid like lemon juice, and an emulsifying agent like mustard. The sweeteners and herbs and spices add that extra punch of flavor. No need to buy store-bought dressing again!
Make sure to gradually add the oil to the vinegar/acid mixture while vigorously mixing. It takes some coordination. You want the oil droplets finely dispersed throughout the liquid so that the flavors evenly coat the Greek pasta salad. The force and mechanical shear by whisking or blending allow the oil to help create a thickened dressing.
For this recipe, a combination of classic Greek flavors like fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, basil, red onion, garlic, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil mix together. Make sure to generously pour the dressing all over, so it absorbs the beautiful flavors.
This pasta salad is the perfect base for any other ingredients you want to incorporate. Marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, crispy baked chickpeas, or even some grilled chicken or salmon, it all works so nicely!
More side salad recipes
The only time when pasta should be rinsed with cold water
After the pasta cooks, it has a starchy film that causes the hot noodles to clump together. This helps the sauce to cling to the pasta. However, if you’re making a cold pasta salad, you can briefly rinse the noodles with cold water to remove the excess starch. This will quickly cool down the pasta after boiling, which halts the cooking process so the noodles don’t become mushy. It also prevents the noodles from sticking together.
Easy Greek Pasta Salad
Greek Pasta Salad
- 1 pound (454 g) dried pasta, gemelli, rottini or penne
- 1 cup (130 g) english cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (145 g) red bell pepper, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup (170 g) baby tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ cup (58 g) red onion, ⅛-inch thick slices
- ½ cup (64 g) kalamata olives, cut in half
- 4 ounces (113 g) feta cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon oregano, dried
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
- 1 tablespoon (13 g) red onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons (1 g) chopped basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon oregano, dried
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Greek Pasta Salad
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to manufacturers directions, until al dente.
- Drain pasta, rinse with cold water for 10 seconds, drain excess water thouroghly and then add to a large bowl.
- Top pasta with cucumbers, red bell pepper, tomatoes, red onion, and kalamata olives.
- In a small bowl, gently combine the feta cheese, 1 ½ teaspoon olive oil, and ½ teaspoon dried oregano, add to the bowl of pasta.
Lemon Herb Dressing
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, honey, minced red onion, minced garlic, chopped basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, vigorously whisking until a thickened dressing is formed.
- Taste dressing and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Drizzle lemon herb dressing over the Greek pasta salad and gently toss until combined, serve immediately.
- Greek pasta salad can be prepared up to one day in advance, do not add dressing until ready to serve.