Greek Pasta Salad & Easy Mediterranean Dressing
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Savor Mediterranean flavors with our Greek Pasta Salad. Tossed in a delightful Mediterranean dressing, it’s packed with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta, olives, and crunchy pine nuts. Transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean coast with every delicious bite!
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Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love Mediterranean Pasta Salad
It’s that time of year again when you can hardly escape a dinner spread without a tasty pasta salad. And I ask you, who would want to? My Greek pasta salad recipe has a lot to offer, like:
- A hearty and satisfying pasta salad with herby Mediterranean salad dressing
- This Greek pasta salad recipe is full of flavor and wonderful as a make-ahead dish.
- Pesto is the secret ingredient that takes all the work out of the pasta salad dressing (sauce).
- Versatile and customizable for taste and onhand supplies.
- Greek pasta salad is a crowd-pleaser at any event.
- Robust, super flavorful sun-dried tomatoes pairs with tangy marinated artichoke hearts and the salty-unique flavor of Kalamata olives.
Gather These Ingredients For Greek Pasta Salad
For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Small Shaped Pasta – like penne, fusilli, rotini, or orzo, and cooked one minute PAST al dente!*
- Salt – be sure to heavily salt the pasta water.
- Marinated Artichoke Hearts -drained and lightly chopped. You can use plain artichoke hearts; just let them marinate in the dressing for 30 minutes, and viola!
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes – packed in oil. Drain tomatoes and reserve the oil. Slice the fruit into julienne strips.
- Kalamata Pitted Olives – drained and halved.
- Sliced Scallions – aka spring onions or green onions.
- Fresh Parsley -rinsed, drained, and chopped. Flat-leaf parsley is a standard in Mediterranean cuisine. According to Gordon Ramsey, it has a bold, aromatic, and intense flavor, more suitable for salads than curly parsley.
- Fresh Baby Spinach – chopped or chiffonade style if you like.
- Crumbled Feta – Creamy, salty, and tangy, just the right combo to complement and calm the acidity in the Mediterranean salad dressing!
- Fresh Parmesan Cheese – shaved or shredded.
- Pine Nuts – are tender and creamy raw or can be lightly toasted for more in-depth flavor.
*Chef’s Note: It’s important to remember that pasta starch absorbs water as it cooks, then releases moisture as it cools. The fancy word for this process is retrogradation. What this means for us is that if you don’t allow pasta that is to be served cold to absorb enough liquid (al dente + 1 minute), it will likely end up drier and more rubbery.
- Pesto – convenient and easy pre-packaged pesto is available jarred or in a tube in the produce section. Or you can make your own.
- Olive Oil – if you have extra virgin olive oil on hand, this is the perfect time to combine the fruity green notes of EVOO with Greek pasta salad.
- Sun-Dried Tomato Oil – reserved from the jarred product.
- Lemon Juice – A freshly squeezed lemon will add a brighter note than bottled if that’s an option for you.
- Red Wine Vinegar – or any wine-based vinegar will work. Fruit vinegars can detract from the Mediterranean flavor profile.
- Salt & Pepper – Sea salt and freshly cracked, finer ground pepper to taste.
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How To Make Greek Pasta Salad & Easy Mediterranean Dressing
Simple prep and bursting with Mediterranean flavor, this Greek pasta salad will be at the top of your list for warm weather fare! Prepped and ready to serve in 30 minutes or less, you will need a pot for pasta, a large bowl, and a lidded jar or salad cruet. 1, 2, 3, Let’s Eat!
When you are baking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.
- Greek Pasta Salad Prep: Prepare, cool, and transfer the pasta to a large bowl with chopped artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, scallions, and parsley; gently combine.
- Easy Mediterranean Salad Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Refrigerate until ready to serve the salad.
- Serving Pasta Salad: Add remaining ingredients, drizzle with Mediterranean dressing, gently fold together, and season to taste. Serve Greek spinach salad at room temperature or cold.
Recipe Notes & Tips
One hard-learned lesson regarding a cold pasta salad is that a properly seasoned noodle takes blase to BAM! Getting that little morsel well-seasoned happens in the cooking process, trust me. You cannot “infuse” the same level of flavor into a noodle after the fact. Check out 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Making Pasta Salad for some eye-opening truths about serving cold pasta!
- The secret to perfectly seasoned pasta salad is the salted water. A 1:2:4 ratio is optimum, one pound of pasta, two tablespoons salt, and four quarts water.
- It’s not when you salt during the boiling process that matters; it’s using enough salt to season the pasta.
- Reserve a little pasta water, ¼-⅓ cup, to toss into the pasta salad for additional moisture if needed.
- If you don’t have sun-dried tomatoes in oil, you can soften dry packaged sundried tomatoes by soaking them overnight in olive or avocado oil.
- To fully savor the vibrant flavors, avoid chopping the artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes too small. Larger pieces ensure you get the full flavor punch in every bite.
- For a bold splash of color and freshness, I like adding about a cup of halved cherry tomatoes to my Greek pasta salad.
- For make-ahead or transporting a Greek spinach salad, hold off on adding the cheeses, spinach, pinenuts and dressing until ready to serve.
- When serving a chilled Mediterranean pasta salad, pull it from the fridge and allow it to warm slightly for the best flavor (~10-15 minutes).
- Always do a couple folding stirs before serving, taste, and season if needed. If salad is sufficiently sauced but dry, fold in one tablespoon of pasta water at a time until just right.
How To Store This Pasta Salad
Any extra salad dressing can be refrigerated in a tightly capped jar or container for up to a week, depending on the pesto. This stuff makes a great dressing to sprinkle on a sub or tossed with chickpeas, onion, and diced tomatoes.
STORAGE: Greek spinach salad is optimum within 2-3 days but will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container.
First, cooking pasta to be served cold differs from warm pasta dishes. This is because pasta naturally absorbs water during the cooking process through its starch content. As starches cool, they slowly release moisture, causing the pasta to constrict and “dry out.” The hot stuff gets eaten immediately, but cold pasta dishes should be cooked a minute past al dente to help reduce the moisture loss in pasta salad.
So here’s the thing about substituting curly-leaf parsley for flat-leaf Italian parsley. While both types are considered very similar, they have their own distinct flavors; for garnishes, no prob!
Fresh salads…eh, it depends on what kind of salad; it’s not a hard no, but using curly parsley in a recipe that calls for flat-leaf parsley can have a significant flavor and texture impact on the dish. I wouldn’t let this keep me from making a recipe, but keep this in mind also, while curly parsley has a mild, muted flavor, it becomes significantly bitter as it ages.
Feta cheese is a rich and creamy soft cheese from Greece made from sheep’s milk. The grainy, aged cheese has a salty and tangy flavor.
Variations And Substitutions
- Red Onions* for Scallions
- Arugula or Baby Kale for Spinach
- Pepitas for Pine Nuts
- Quinoa for Pasta
- Herbed Goat Cheese for Feta
*Pro Tip: If you sub in onions for the scallions and your onion is strong, you can soak chopped onions in cold water for 10 minutes and drain. This reduces the sulfur content and rinses away some of the pungent oils.
It’s super convenient to turn a Greek pasta salad into an entree by adding your favorite protein. We like grilled chicken, but you can also add grilled shrimp, baked salmon, or light flakey white fish.
Don’t forget to power up the veggie content with cucumbers, asparagus cuts, and even steamed broccoli florets. Or enjoy Cheesy Roasted Tomatoes as a side.
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Tossed in a delightful Mediterranean salad dressing, this easy Greek Pasta Salad recipe features sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, spinach, and crunchy pine nuts.
- 12 ounces small shaped pasta (like penne, fusilli, or rotini )
- 1 ½ tablespoons table salt
- 1 (12 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and lightly chopped
- ¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, and julienne (reserve 3T of oil)
- ½ cup kalamata pitted olives, drained and halved
- ¼ cup sliced scallions
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach, chopped
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- ⅓ cup fresh parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 4 ½ tablespoons pesto
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of reserved sun-dried tomato oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add salt to a large pot of water and Cook pasta one minute past al dente. Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool.
- Transfer the cooled pasta to a large bowl. Add chopped artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, scallions, and parsley. Toss to combine.
- Make the dressing: Mix the pesto, olive oil, sun-dried tomato oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl or jar. Stir or shake (if using a jar) to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve the salad.
- When ready to serve, add the spinach, feta, parmesan, and pine nuts to the salad and toss until combined. Drizzle with the prepared dressing, gently fold until everything is coated. Taste for seasonings and adjust to preference, if needed.
- Serve room temperature or cold.
Serve alongside grilled chicken. Or add chicken to the salad.
STORAGE: Salad is best within 2-3 days but will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1026mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.
Hi there, I'm Cheryl!
As a wife, mom, and caffeine enthusiast, my journey has taken me from bustling mornings with my family to sharing delicious recipes, home care tips, and heartfelt decorating insights with wonderful readers like you. My love for baking, photography, and tidiness shines through every post I craft. Dive into my world and discover the art of homemaking, one tidy moment at a time. Read more...
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