Greek pasta salad is a riff on Greek salad, but with pasta! Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, bell pepper, and onions are tossed with penne pasta, feta, and fresh dill in a garlicky Greek-style vinaigrette that is almost too easy. Take this with you to warm weather gatherings and barbecues or serve as a simple side to grilled meat.
We love a good Greek salad, but like any other salad that includes romaine or other lettuce, it can become soggy once it’s been dressed and often doesn’t hold up well for transporting.
This is one of the reasons we love pasta salads, and more specifically, this Greek pasta salad.
It’s got all the best of a Greek salad: Kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh dill, and feta, but because it also includes pasta, Greek pasta salad holds up well to time in the fridge as well as transport.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Slice a large English cucumber and remove the seeds from the center using a spoon. Dice the cucumber, and slice 12 ounces of cherry tomatoes and 1/2 cup of Kalamata olives. Dice one large yellow bell pepper and one medium red onion. Chop 1/2 cup of fresh dill.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (2 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water) and cook one pound of pasta to al dente. While waiting for the water to boil, begin to prepare the Greek dressing by combining 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 3 teaspoons dried oregano, and 2 cloves of garlic that have been minced and turned into a paste. These can be combined in a blender, whisked in a bowl, or added to a wide-mouth mason jar and mixed with an immersion blender as shown below. Taste test and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain it through a colander and rinse it until cold. Note: Pasta salads are the only time we advise rinsing pasta and this is simply to stop the cooking process. We do not recommend rinsing pasta for any other types of recipes. Once the pasta is cool, combine the pasta, olives, onion, cucumber, pepper, and fresh dill and give it a mix.
- Add in the tomatoes and half the dressing and mix well. If you need more dressing, add a little at a time to get the consistency just right. Any remaining dressing can be served on the side or saved in the fridge for a green salad during the week. Allowing the pasta salad to set in the fridge for at least one hour before serving will intensify the flavors. Crumble and add the feta right before serving and serve a little extra on the side as well. Enjoy!
Top tips for great Greek pasta salad
- The pasta. We used penne in this recipe but you definitely use other pasta shapes like bowties or fusilli if you prefer. Whichever you choose, just be sure to cook it al dente and rinse with the cold water to stop the pasta from cooking. Note: Pasta salads are the only time you will ever want to rinse the pasta to cool it down.
- The veggies and herbs. For us, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions are a must in a Greek pasta salad. We’ve also added a yellow pepper here for additional texture and color. Feel free to add in other veggies you love and make it your own. We’ve also added fresh dill which really amplifies the flavor of this Greek-style pasta salad but if you prefer to use another fresh herb, like parsley, that would work as well.
- The feta. Some groceries will sell pre-crumbled feta. This will definitely make it easier for you, however, we recommend buying a block of the best feta you can find. The ingredients in Greek pasta salad are pretty simple so if you can use better quality feta it will really help the flavors stand out even more.
- Let it chill. Allowing the Greek pasta salad to chill in the fridge for about an hour prior to serving will help intensify the flavor helping the salad to taste even better!
More salads for summer
In the summer, there’s nothing better than some grilled meat or veggies served alongside a salad, or pasta salad. Here are our favorites!
- Italian pasta salad – Fusilli pasta with olives, salami, tomatoes, and mozzarella in an easy vinaigrette.
- Chicken pesto pasta salad – Penne pasta and seared sliced chicken breast in a simple pesto sauce.
- Spinach gorgonzola pasta salad – Baby spinach and gorgonzola tossed with bowties in a tangy vinaigrette.
- Orange and fennel salad – Sliced oranges, fennel, and onion tossed in a citrus vinaigrette.
- Sun-dried tomato and artichoke pasta salad – Bowtie pasta, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette.
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Greek Pasta Salad
- 1 pound penne pasta cooked al dente and rinsed until cold
- 8 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives pitted and sliced
- 1 large English cucumber diced
- 1 large yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 medium red onion diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
For the Greek dressing
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic paste
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing
- Combine together all of the dressing ingredients and whisk until emulsified. Alternatively, use a food processor or blender. Taste test the dressing and season with salt and pepper if required.
For the Greek pasta salad
- Cook pasta in salted water until al dente, then drain and rinse until cold.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, tomatoes, onion, olives, cucumber, pepper, and fresh dill.
- Pour half of the dressing on top of the pasta salad and mix well. If you need more dressing, add a bit at a time to get the consistency just right. The remaining dressing can be served on the side or saved in the fridge for a green salad during the week.
- The Greek pasta salad flavor will taste much better if chilled for at least an hour before serving. Add all of the feta and mix well right before serving. Enjoy!
- Chilling for a few hours before serving will really amplify the flavor.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.