Loaded Greek Pasta Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Greek Pasta Salad

Total Time
Prep/Cook Time: 10 min. + chilling
This Greek pasta salad recipe is packed with fresh veggies, feta, olives and a bright dressing. It's perfect for warm-weather potlucks and barbecues.

Updated: Apr. 01, 2024

In the summertime, Greek salad is one of those recipes that plays on repeat at my house. The fresh flavors are exactly what I crave on a hot day! And when I’m in the mood for a more filling dish, I’ll toss a Greek salad with cooked pasta to make a chilled Greek pasta salad. It’s substantial enough to serve as a main course yet light enough to work as a side dish at potlucks and barbecues.

This recipe is positively loaded with garden-fresh vegetables. Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, sweet peppers and zesty red onions meet tender pasta to create a satisfying combination of flavors and textures. Tangy feta cheese gives the pasta salad a creamy consistency, while briny olives add a meaty texture. A bright Greek dressing ties the whole thing together.

Greek Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Spiral pasta: Spiral pasta is a great choice for pasta salad recipes. It has plenty of nooks and crannies that allow the dressing to cling to every bite. You can use any type of pasta, including whole wheat or gluten-free pasta.
  • Tomatoes: Small, round cherry tomatoes look pretty in pasta salad. You can swap in any ripe tomato you have on hand.
  • Cucumbers: If the cucumber is bitter, try removing the skin (where most of the bitter cucurbitacin compounds tend to be more pronounced). Alternatively, you can salt the chopped pieces to balance the flavors, or try the TikTok trend of milking a cucumber to remove the bitterness.
  • Onions: Some onions are more pungent than others. If you end up with a powerful onion, soak the slices in a bowl of cold water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Sweet peppers: Red, yellow and orange bell peppers have a similar sweet character. You can use green peppers, but they’re slightly bitter and less sweet.
  • Kalamata olives: Kalamata olives add a meaty texture and briny flavor. If you have a favorite type of olive, feel free to use it instead.
  • Feta cheese: Tangy feta contributes a creamy consistency and a saltiness.
  • Greek pasta salad dressing: This six-ingredient vinaigrette adds the perfect level of acidity to the salad. In a pinch, you can use a store-bought red wine vinaigrette or Italian salad dressing.

Directions

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, and rinse with cold water.

Editor’s Tip: Season the pasta water with salt before adding the pasta to infuse the pasta with flavor as it cooks.

Step 2: Combine the salad ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet pepper, garbanzo beans (if using), feta, olives, onion and parsley.

Editor’s Tip: Garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) are optional, but they’re an easy way to add protein to pasta salad.

Step 3: Make the Greek pasta salad dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, oregano and pepper.

Editor’s Tip: Vinaigrettes, like Greek salad dressing, are good in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Feel free to make the dressing ahead and store it in a jar with a tightly fitted lid.

Step 4: Toss the pasta salad, and chill

Greek Pasta Salad in a plate with fork on a marble countertopTMB Studio

Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. Toss before serving.

Recipe Variations

Can you make Greek pasta salad ahead of time?

Yes, pasta salad is a fantastic make-ahead salad recipe. Chilling the salad for at least two hours gives the ingredients time to soak up the dressing, improving the overall flavor. Over time, the pasta can drink up a lot of the dressing, so you may want to toss the salad with extra dressing before serving.

How to Store Greek Pasta Salad

Store Greek pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. The vegetables will lose their crisp texture after a few days, so try to enjoy the salad sooner rather than later.

Greek Pasta Salad Tips

Greek Pasta Salad in a plate served on a kitchen countertopTMB Studio

Should you rinse pasta for pasta salad?

Rinsing pasta is a mistake for warm noodle dishes, but it’s a key step for pasta salad recipes. After cooking the pasta, we recommend rinsing the pasta in cold water. The water halts the cooking process and ensures the pasta doesn’t become mushy. This step also cools the noodles quickly, so you can combine the salad ingredients without delay.

What do you serve with this Greek pasta salad recipe?

Serve Greek pasta salad as a side dish for grilled meats, roasted vegetables or sandwiches like gyros. It pairs particularly well with other Greek recipes like moussaka and avgolemono soup.

Loaded Greek Pasta Salad

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 16 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups chopped English cucumber
  • 1 large sweet red or orange pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained, optional
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 2/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • DRESSING:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet red pepper, garbanzo beans if desired, feta, olives, onion and parsley.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Toss before serving.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 291 calories, 14g fat (3g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 379mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 7g protein.

A blend of complimentary flavors from traditional ingredients, this Greek pasta salad gets topped with a tangy dressing to pull it all together. Twist the recipe by adding all but 3 tablespoons of the feta cheese into the dressing and whisk until well blended. Garnish the salad with stuffed grape leaf pieces (Dolma) over the top or along the edges for a decorative design. —Tina Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania