Fresh and simple 15 minute healthy Greek pasta salad dressed in a light homemade vinaigrette. This easy Summer recipe is gluten free and packed with lots of crunchy veggies like red, yellow, and green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. Perfect for meal prep, family dinners, and Summer grilling.
The perfect summer pasta salad recipe
Summer is around the corner which means it’s grilling season! And you know what, I think that cold pasta salads might be my favorite BBQ side dish. They are always light, super refreshing, packed with flavor, and never disappoint!
This super simple Greek-inspired pasta salad is jam-packed with flavor, loaded with vegetables, dressed in a light homemade vinaigrette, and is ready in less than 15 minutes! The red onion and bell peppers add the perfect crunch, the feta cheese adds the much-needed creamy note, and the cherry tomatoes add the perfect amount of sweetness.
So if you are looking for a dinner side dish, an easy make-ahead meal prep lunch, or a simple family dinner addition, this incredibly flavorful and healthy pasta salad is for you. I am absolutely obsessed, as you could probably already tell! Seriously, if you follow me on Instagram, I eat this at least once a week.
Is pasta salad healthy?
Yes! This simple Greek pasta salad recipe is most certainly healthy, nourishing, and good for you! I believe that the term “healthy” is all relative, and this pasta salad falls into that category.
Not only is this gluten free Greek pasta salad recipe made with simple and real ingredients, but it is also packed with protein and fiber from the Banza chickpea pasta, healthy fats and calcium from the feta cheese, vitamins from the bell peppers and arugula. One bowl of this pasta salad and y’all are going to feel full, nourished, and satisfied.
This deliciously fresh and simple cold pasta salad recipe calls for a handful of healthy, good-for-you ingredients. You’ll combine pasta with sweet cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers & bell peppers for crunch, some fresh arugula, and kalamata olives for a dash of acidity. Then, dressed the salad with a very light and tangy dressing that took 3 minutes to make. Seriously, this pasta salad could not be any easier to make and is especially perfect for a hot Summer’s day!
- Pasta: The base of this incredibly delicious gluten free Greek pasta salad. My favorite pasta is Banza which is made out of chickpeas, is gluten-free, and very high in protein.
- Red Onion: This adds the perfect sharpness.
- Sweet Cherry Tomatoes: I just love tomatoes, especially cherry ones since they are sweet and crunchy.
- Arugula: This adds health benefits but also a wonderful flavor. If you don’t like arugula, try using baby spinach.
- Bell Peppers: They add the perfect fresh crunch to this recipe. You’ll need a red, yellow, and green bell pepper. Plus, they are packed with vitamins.
- Cucumber: Fresh cucumber adds a wondering texture and crunch to this pasta salad.
- Kalamata Olives: I love love love olives. They add the best salty flavor to this Greek salad.
- Feta Cheese: Finally, a Greek pasta salad is not complete without feta cheese. It is salty, with a great flavor.
light Greek vinaigrette:
- Olive Oil: We use a tad of olive oil as the base of our homemade Greek vinaigrette.
- Lemon: This adds acidity and flavor!
- Red Wine Vinegar: I love red wine vinegar. It has a great flavor.
- Dijon Mustard: I highly recommend adding dijon mustard even if you don’t like the flavor because you can’t taste it but it adds a depth of flavor to this vinaigrette.
- Garlic Cloves: Garlic honestly makes everything taste better!
- Dried Oregano: For that classic Greek dressing flavor.
How to make healthy Greek pasta salad
This gluten free Greek pasta salad recipe is so easy to make! You’ll only need one mixing bowl, a knife to cut the vegetables, and a cutting board. So don’t worry, clean-up is going to be super easy. We’ll start by preparing and cooking the pasta, followed by finely dicing the veggies, and, finally, tossing everything in a simple homemade Greek dressing! Just follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Cook your favorite pasta in salted water according to the package until the pasta is al dente. Then strain pasta, run under cold water, and set to the side
Step 2: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Set it to the side.
Step 3: Then, add the red onion, tomatoes, arugula, bell peppers, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese to the bowl with the cooled pasta.
Step 4: Pour the dressing and gently toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking by adding more lemon, salt, pepper, and/or olive oil, if desired.
For best results, place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate or serve immediately!
Pasta salad tips & tricks:
- Cook pasta LESS than normal. Trust me, al dente pasta is BEST for pasta salad. I like to subtract 1 minute from the lower range of what the box says.
- Salt the pasta water. This will help capture all the yummy flavors!
- Cool pasta completely. Run your cooked pasta under cold water to cool it and prevent it from sticking together and warming up the other vegetables.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. Everyone has different tastes & preferences, so that is why I recommend tasting the pasta salad after you have dressed it and adjusting the flavors to your liking. Add a dash of more red wine vinegar or lemon if you want a tangier salad, add more salt and pepper, or even more garlic!
- Let pasta salad marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, if not up to 2 hours. This is KEY for the flavor. If you do not have time, you can enjoy it right away.
Greek pasta salad variations
- Make it dairy-free & vegan! Simply remove the crumbled feta cheese.
- Swap the pasta for orzo! This is such an easy switch, just cut the veggies into small pieces.
- Make it gluten-free! I used Banza protein chickpea pasta, which is already gluten-free, but if you use another brand just make sure to use a Use gluten-free pasta or quinoa in place of traditional noodles.
- Add grilled chicken or shrimp to make this side dish a full meal!
- Substitute arugula for spinach, or leave it out.
- Leave out the olives and/or substitute with capers!
Try these recipes next!
- BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato Sliders
- Citrus Tabbouleh Salad
- Blackened Salmon With Mango Salsa
- Healthy Pineapple Teriyaki Turkey Burgers
- Greek Chicken Meatballs With Homemade Tzatziki
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Healthy Greek Pasta Salad
- 8 oz dried pasta, I used Banza fusilli
- ⅓ cup red onion, finely diced
- 15 sweet cherry tomatoes, halved (~ 1 cup)
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ large cucumber, sliced into quarter-moons (~ 1.5 cups)
- ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
- 4 ounces feta cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes or 1/2 cup crumbled
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large lemon, juiced (~3 Tablespoons)
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package until pasta is al dente. Strain pasta, run under cold water and set to the side
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Once pasta is cooled and ready, add the red onion, tomatoes, arugula, bell peppers, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese.
- Pour the dressing and gently toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking by adding more lemon, salt, pepper, and/or olive oil, if desired.
- For best results, place in the refrigerator for a least 30 minutes to marinate. If not, serve immediately and enjoy!
Recipe by Tati Chermayeff / Healthful Blondie + Photos by The Travel Palate
I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. In full disclosure, by purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. Everything counts to keep my dream afloat; thank you for supporting Healthful Blondie!
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