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Greek Salad “Pasta”
Faux "pasta" made from vegetables isn’t a new thing, of course. You’ve probably seen a cooked zucchini "pasta" tossed with sauce on a food blog or restaurant menu somewhere. Thinly sliced cucumber "pasta" would be dressed with a cool "sauce" made with yogurt and feta. Red onions are chopped fine and tossed with tomato. Some lemon juice, a little patience with the mandoline, and hey, it’s pretty easy, it works, it’s a little different, kind of fun, is less than 10 ingredients and a half an hour, and still has the same flavors but provides a little wow factor.
Now, instead of spoonfuls or forkfuls laden with chopped salad, you twirl your fork around thin strips of cool cucumber and look around for a piece of pita to pull a scarpetta. A little grilled chicken, shrimp, lamb, or vegetables, and hey, you’re set. Plus, this recipe finally addresses that question you always ask yourself: What are you supposed to do with that liquid your block of feta cheese comes in? The answer? Use it!
Click here to see 7 Healthy Pasta Recipes That Won't Destroy Your Waistline.
- 4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, and seeded
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 white onion, finely diced
- 16 grape tomatoes, quartered
- Two 17.6-ounce containers of Greek yogurt
- 1/2 Pound feta cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
Greek Pasta Salad Recipe
Greek Pasta Salad Recipe is so easy and very frugal to prepare. Tons of veggies and pasta with the best flavor make this pasta salad recipe a family favorite.
Greek Pasta Salad
A classic in diners and on dinner tables, Greek salad's are filled with Mediterranean produce and flavors. Briny olives meet sweet tomatoes and fresh cucumbers, and sprinkled with Feta cheese making for a truly filling and delicious meal of its own. The only way we thought we could improve is turning it into a pasta salad! Here's a couple of things to keep in mind when making this top-tier pasta salad:
Taste Your Pasta When Cooking
Nothing can ruin a pasta salad quicker than pasta that creates a mushy mess or is far too hard. Cook the pasta according to the box's instructions and test a piece or two as the time approaches to make sure that your pasta is prepared to the perfect doneness.
Resist The Bottled Dressing
Although this dressing may seem simple, we don't love the extra sugar and ingredients that store-bought dressings add to the mix. We think opting for making your own easy dressing is the way to go!
Don't Cut Your Veggies Too Small
You want every single bite of this salad to be totally balanced, if you chop your produce too small the pasta will overwhelm all of the delicious flavors you've added.
Pair this salad with Garlicky Greek Chicken or a heart Vegetarian Mousakka for a balanced, summer-y dinner. And if you try this recipe, make sure you let us know how it came out in the comment below. We love to hear from you!
Greek Penne Pasta Salad
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Be ready for any summer get together or barbecue with this Greek Penne Pasta Salad. With an easy homemade Greek salad dressing, fresh veggies, and feta cheese, this mayo-free salad can sit out for hours without needing refrigeration.
With the winter storm that we just got here in Northern Colorado (28 inches in less than 24 hours!), I don't think I could be any more excited about warmer days to come.
One of the things I'm looking forward to the most is hanging outside again friends. Relaxing after work outside at happy hours, holiday picnics, gathering on a friend's porch for a grilled dinner -- you name it.
Outdoor events like this aren't events if they don't have a spread of delicious food and drinks, either. I mean, aren't these events exactly what pasta salads were made for?
Tossed in a light and tangy dressing, the pasta doesn't dry out and has a zesty but not overwhelming flavor that pairs so well with many main dishes. With veggies studded in, you have a complete side dish -- or even main, if the grill isn't your thing.
And -- most importantly, olives, cheese, or any other savory add-ins, you finish off the dish with a little extra something that keeps you coming back for more.
This Greek Penne Pasta Salad has all these flavors and more. With an easy homemade Greek salad dressing, commonly found chopped veggies, crumbled feta cheese, kalamata olives, and a selection of optional mix-ins, this pasta salad is tasty, yet easy to make and accessible.
Easily make the pasta dish gluten-free by substituting garbanzo bean or brown rice pasta, make this salad ahead of time if you wish, and share a bowl of this pasta with your crew this summer. There's never been a better time!
Here at Mae's Menu, we have a variety of readers: those who are more experienced in the kitchen and want to zip straight through to the recipe and those who want to learn more about the dish, potential substitutions, and more.
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This easy pasta salad recipe is.
- Customizable (see my list of mix-ins below!)
- Perfect for a crowd
- Easy to make
Bookmark or pin this recipe to make for your next summer event!
- Penne pasta
- Baby tomatoes
- Cucumber - peeled or unpeeled are both fine!
- Sweet red peppers
- Kalamata olives - pre-pitted is best!
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil - the better quality of oil, the better this recipe will taste!
- Red wine vinegar
- Maple syrup - adds just enough sweetness to balance out the homemade salad dressing
- Dried thyme, dill, and oregano
- Onion - yellow, white, or sweet onion all work!
- Tomatoes - diced Roma plum tomatoes can substitute for baby tomatoes
- Vinegar - red wine vinegar contributes to this salad's Greek flavor, but white wine vinegar can substitute for it in a pinch
- Pasta - any shape of pasta can also work in this salad rotini, shells, macaroni, orecchiette, and radiatore pasta all work great
- Syrup - 1 teaspoon agave syrup or 1 ½ teaspoons granulated white sugar can work in place of the maple syrup
A penne fun fact:
The Italian word "penne" means pens in English! Penne pasta got its name because of the angled tips -- similar to how the tip of an old school fountain pen looks. Pretty neat, huh?
How to cook penne pasta:
The secret to cooking great penne pasta is to salt your water well before boiling the pasta.
Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt or kosher salt for every gallon of water you boil. Then, cook the pasta according to the package directions until it is al dente -- or cooked through, with just a touch of chew-- just how the Italians do it!
How to make Greek Penne Pasta Salad.
- Cook the penne pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water. Drain (note: you don't need to rinse!) and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Whisk together the Greek salad dressing ingredients until combined.
- Gently fold the fresh veggies into the salad dressing.
- Fold the pasta in with the dressed vegetables.
- Sprinkle the salad with crumbled feta cheese and gently fold in until combined. Serve immediately or let chill covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving.
- Drain, but don't rinse, the pasta - we don't need to rinse the pasta for this recipe.
- Let the pasta cool for 5-10 minutes - we want to cool the pasta before stirring the cheese it into the salad so it doesn't melt
- If you are gluten-free - just use gluten-free pasta (garbanzo bean or brown rice are my recommended options) in place of traditional penne pata
- Use a decent quality olive oil - the flavor of the olive oil is front and center in this recipe, so the better quality you use, the better this recipe will taste! I love Costco's organic olive oil and Thrive Market's extra virgin olive oil from Greece.
Pasta salad mix-ins:
Make this salad your own or add some additional veggies or protein by mixing in ½-1 cup any of the following:
- Steamed asparagus
- Broccoli florets
- Baby spinach
- Diced celery
- Cubed lunch meat (turkey, roast beef, ham, etc.)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Garbanzo beans
- Kidney beans
- Steamed shrimp
This salad is very versatile. Serve it for a lighter lunch or dinner or bring it to your next cookout or barecue.
You also can serve it for a heartier meal by topping it with grilled chicken or steak, air fryer salmon, or grilled tofu. For extra veggies, you can also serve this pasta salad on a bed of baby spinach!
How to make the recipe ahead of time:
This recipe can be made up to a day ahead of serving. Just follow the directions as listed and chill the recipe covered for up to 24 hours, or until serving!
Can you let this recipe sit out at a cookout?
Yes, if you don't add any animal protein mix-ins to this pasta salad, you can let it sit out at a cookout or barbecue for up to 2-3 hours. There's no mayonnaise in the dressing so you have a lot more leeway with storage.
If you do add a protein mix-in, however, I recommend not leaving the salad out for more than 30 minutes.
How to double or triple this recipe:
This recipe can easily doubled or tripled. Just multiply the ingredients by the desired amount and follow the directions as listed, using a larger bowl if needed to accomodate the extra volume.
Leftovers last covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Silicone spatula
- Large mixing bowl
Other cookout & pasta salad recipes you'll love:
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Greek pasta salad recipe – A delicious taste of Greece
This refreshing Greek pasta salad recipe is the brightest example of how Greek cuisine takes the simplest ingredients and with literally no effort transforms them into a finger licking dish! So, if you are looking for a twist on your classic pasta salad, go Greek with this sprightly Greek pasta salad recipe and taste all the earthy flavours that characterise Greek cuisine in one dish.
For this Greek pasta salad recipe fusilli pasta is tossed with fresh vegetables, feta cheese and black olives. Coated with a light homemade Greek olive oil and lemon dressing and garnished with fresh herbs to create the best Greek pasta salad you have ever tried!
To prepare this Greek pasta salad recipe keep an eye on your ingredients. Find some juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, fresh peppers, creamy Greek feta cheese, good quality extra virgin olive oil and some kalamata black olives and you are basically done! If you have some leftover chicken, try adding some as well and make a whole brand new dish.
So, if you’re looking for a cool and refreshing salad recipe for this summer, give this Greek pasta salad recipe a try and if you are feeling adventurous enough try experimenting with different kind of ingredients, you may have lying around. Enjoy! (For more salad recipe ideas click here >>).
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I feel so often my days are full of schedules, to-do lists, and errands, and I really want to slow down.
One thing I’ve started doing for awhile now, is when I go to the grocery store, I find a person who looks like they could use my help. I know, for the introvert, you’re already saying, no way! But truly, it’s not that hard. (I am an extrovert, by the way, so I know this may be easier for me.)
Can I help you with that? Or, can I carry that for you? Or, can I help you find something?
Here’s what I’ve learned about myself with this tiny, bitty, act of kindness.
Even when I’m in a hurry, it makes me slow down.
It makes me think of others more than myself.
I’m actually helping someone.
Better yet, when you strike up conversation, it gives you room to get to know the other person, even for a few minutes.
Guess what? I was in Fred Meyer yesterday, and I ran into a lady that I had helped the previous week. I was surprised, and so was she. Really cute, we striked up a conversation and it was like we were long-lost friends.
- 12 ounces dried mostaccioli or penne (about 4 cups uncooked)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 4 green onions, sliced
- ⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 oz.)
- Fresh oregano leaves
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water drain again.
In a large bowl toss together the cooked pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, and olives.
In a screw-top jar combine the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, the 2 tablespoons oregano, anchovy paste (if using), garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and shake well. Drizzle over pasta mixture toss to coat.
Cover and chill in refrigerator for as least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, add feta cheese toss. Sprinkle fresh oregano leaves. Makes 12 to 16 side-dish servings.
You can make this dish to your personal liking. There&rsquos so many adjustments and changes you can make, so don&rsquot feel like you have to follow the recipe perfectly. Add extra or less veggies to make it extra vegetable friendly. Or if you really love feta cheese, an extra handful of these will make the salad even more flavorful. We&rsquore fans of extra dressing so always love making a double batch of dressing to add on to the bowl right before serving. More recipe details are in the recipe box below.
More Flavor with Additional Dressing
We love flavor in this pasta salad and will sometimes make an extra batch of the dressing. Then we&rsquoll add the extra dressing to the salad right before serving. This will make the pasta extra flavorful and amazing. Sometimes the pasta will soak up all the dressing by the time it&rsquos served, so this extra drizzle of dressing will make the dish extra special. Pasta salads definitely need to be seasoned well for all the flavors to come through each pasta bite.
Make-Ahead Greek Pasta Salad
You can prep all of the ingredients for this Greek pasta salad the night before and store them in separate containers or bowls, including the salad dressing. Aside from the pasta, nothing else requires cooking—which is really nice on hot summer days.
If you prepare the pasta ahead of time, rinse the pasta to cool it off and remove some of the starch. Then, toss with a tiny bit of olive oil, transfer to a container with lid and cover it tightly. You can prepare this the day before and keep it refrigerated until you assemble the salad.
You may have some dressing left over, but it will keep well in a covered glass jar in the fridge. I’ve used this versatile dressing on salads, on fish, and to enhance the flavors of grilled veggies.