This Greek Pasta Salad Recipe is basically a classic Greek salad with the addition of pasta. It's simple and delicious and great for a healthy lunch or side dish.
Definition of Greek Salad
An authentic Greek Salad, or horiatiki salad is made with tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, olives, onion, and dressed simply with oregano, lemon juice and olive oil. It's usually topped with feta cheese and doesn't contain any lettuce.
This pasta salad is a delicious way to enjoy the classic summer favourite.
Can I Make this Pasta Salad Ahead?
Greek Pasta Salad works well for making ahead. However, the salad is really at its best when freshly made. If you do want to make the salad ahead, it's best to keep the tomatoes separate until serving time. Juicy tomatoes can cause the salad to be a bit waterlogged if it sits for too long.
Here's an even better way to make the salad ahead: toss the pasta with the dressing, cut up all the vegetables and keep everything separate in the fridge until serving time. With all the prep work done, it just takes a few minutes to toss everything together.
Greek Salad Ingredients
Because it's so uncomplicated, the ingredients for this Greek pasta salad recipe should be as fresh as possible.
Long English cucumbers have tender skins and don't need to be peeled. They are also sweeter and have tiny seeds, as compared to a regular cucumber. Be sure your cucumber is fresh and crisp, and preferably, chilled
Tomatoes should be red and ripe. Grape or cherry tomatoes are convenient size-wise, but any ripe tomato will work. This is a salad that is best when tomatoes are in season.
Any colour peppers are good, but red, yellow or orange peppers are sweeter, and more flavourful than green.
This recipe has pitted kalamata olives, but it's also delicious with green olives. Canned olives can be used in a pinch, but the best ones are whole fresh olives that you find in the deli department. They don't need to be pitted, but it makes for a nicer dining experience if they are.
Definitely, red onion should be used. Red onion has a milder, sweeter flavour than yellow or white varieties, making them the best choice for eating raw in salads.
Because the dressing is so simple, a good quality extra virgin olive oil is a must. A splash of lemon juice is ideal, but you can also use white or red wine vinegar instead.
Either wheat or gluten-free pasta works great. The smaller shapes, such as rotini, penne, or bow ties are ideal.
For this recipe, only feta cheese will do. Did you know there are a few different types of feta cheese?/ Learn more here: The Types of Feta Cheese and What They're Good For (and in case you haven't noticed, yes, I neglected to add the cheese before I took photos)
What to Serve with Greek Pasta Salad
Greek Pasta Salad is a delicious meal on its own. It also goes well as a side for anything grilled, like these Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken Thighs, or Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp. Along with Classic Potato Salad this pasta salad is a perfect take-along for picnics and potlucks, too.
Greek Pasta Salad Recipe
- 2 cups rotini pasta wheat or gluten-free
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 long English cucumber cut in one-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper seeded, cored, cut into one-inch pieces
- ½ red onion chopped
- ½ cup Kalamata olives pitted
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 3 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
- ¼ tsp each, salt & pepper
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, until just au dent
- Drain pasta and rinse with cold water
- Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion and olives with pasta in a large bowl
- In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper
- Pour the dressing over the pasta & vegetables and gently toss to combine
- Sprinkle feta cheese over top and serve immediately