This easy Greek Pasta Salad recipe is simple to make and has amazing flavor. It's so good that it has become a mandatory dish at all our family get togethers.
When I think of summer cookouts or get togethers, I think of this Greek pasta salad recipe.
It is full of vibrant and flavorful ingredients which are only enhanced when they're mixed with my homemade Greek dressing. (Recipe below)
But the ingredient that brings it home is the crumbled feta cheese.
Feta cheese is salty, tangy, sharp, and has a wonderful creamy texture.
And since it's crumbled, a little bit of this flavorful cheese seems to work its way into every bite. Simply AMAZING!
Do you have a party coming up? Prepare to impress everyone with this incredible Greek pasta salad.
Interested in other Greek foods? Check out my Greek Marinated Lamb Chops recipe. I include a tasty Tzatziki sauce recipe too.
What's in Greek pasta salad?
My Greek pasta salad uses the following flavorful ingredients:
Feel free to use your favorite type of pasta or whatever you have on hand.
How to make greek pasta salad
First, make the Greek dressing
Simply mix all the ingredients below in a bowl or dressing shaker.
|Red Wine Vinegar
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|½ teaspoon (ea.)
|Salt & Pepper
PSST...If you just want to just buy a good-quality Greek salad dressing, that would work too!
Next, cook your pasta
When you're cooking any pasta, it's always a good idea to salt the water first. Use 1 tablespoon kosher salt per 4 quarts of water.
Then, once the water is boiling, add your pasta BUT DO NOT cook your pasta per the package directions.
...cook your pasta 1-5 minutes PAST the package directions!
Depending on the pasta type and brand, the extended cook time will vary. It's best to just pull out a piece and take a bite to know for sure.
Why overcook the pasta?
Cooking instructions on pasta assume you will be serving it hot, usually mixed in with a warm sauce of some sort. Serving it this way allows the pasta to continue to cook and soften.
But Greek pasta salad is served cold.
Therefore, we cook it a bit longer to soften so that it chews easily at cold temperatures. Pasta salad is not the time for al dente pasta.
For more information on why you want to overcook your pasta, read this America's Test Kitchen article.
Drain, rinse and plunge
Once your pasta is thoroughly cooked and soft, drain it immediately and rinse with cold water.
Once rinsed, submerge the colander of pasta into a larger bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. This completely stops the cooking process.
It's important that the pasta is fully cooled before you mix it with the other ingredients. We don't want to melt that feta cheese!
Then, remove the colander from the ice bath as well as any ice cubes that may have made their way into your pasta.
Give it one last rinse with cold water to remove any lingering starch that may have stuck to the pasta.
Now, just give it a good shake to flush out as much water as you can and set it aside.
It's time to start prepping the other ingredients!
Prep the remaining ingredients
In a large bowl add the following ingredients:
|Red Onion (sliced)
|English Cucumber (half rounds)
|Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
|Kalamata Olives (halved)
|Feta Cheese (crumbles)
Feel free to increase or decrease these quantities according to your preference.
Assemble and mix thoroughly
Now add the drained pasta and Greek dressing to your bowl of prepped ingredients.
Using a flexible spatula, gently fold in all the ingredients until everything is thoroughly coated and mixed.
Now just let it chill in the fridge, covered, until you're ready to serve.
Make ahead strategy
This salad can easily be made a day or two ahead of your party. But there is one exception I would make:
Hold back 25% of the dressing
Rather than using all the dressing in the beginning, only use 75% of it. Then, right before serving, mix in the remaining 25%.
This little strategy provides a fresh coating of flavor on all the ingredients as well creates that 'freshly made' appearance.
Below are some additional ingredients you may wish to add or substitute in.
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Bell pepper (any color)
- Green olives
Other popular salads
For even more salad inspo, check out these recipes!
- Chimichurri Pasta Salad
- Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze
- Creamy Pasta Salad
- Tangy 3-Bean Salad
- Cucumber-Onion-Tomato Salad
That's it! I hope you love our easy Greek pasta salad at your next party or cookout!
Greek dressing ingredients
- ⅓ C red wine vinegar
- ¼ C extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano, dried
- ½ teaspoon dill weed, dried
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt, kosher
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Pasta salad ingredients
- In a bowl or dressing shaker, add all the Greek dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly, then set aside.
- Next, cook the pasta, 1 to 5 minutes past the recommended cook times on the package (see Recipe Note #1). Once it is completely soft, drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds.
- Place the rinsed colander of pasta into a larger bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process. Allow this to cool in the ice water for 2 minutes. Make sure all the pasta is submerged under water.
- Remove the colander of pasta from the ice water and rinse one more time under cold water in the sink. Give it a good shake or two to remove as much water as you can and then set it aside.
- In a large bowl and all the pasta salad ingredients, including the cooked pasta and the greek salad dressing. Using a flexible spatula, mix thoroughly until everything is evenly distributed and fully coated with the dressing.
- Serve immediately or chill up to 3 days covered in the refrigerator.
- The pasta for pasta salad should not be al dente. It needs to be overcooked, as America's Test Kitchen explains here.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 397mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!