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I make pasta salads a couple times a month and I love to change it up based on the season, the available product and just what I’m in the mood for. When the weather is warm, this Mediterranean Pasta Salad is my favorite to make! Throw it together cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese and it’s sure to be hit with everyone!
What ingredients do you need for pasta salad
It’s all about color and freshness! Think of the Mediterranean cuisine and all the great ingredients you’d typically find in those recipes. Here’s what I like to include, and you can include more or less, depending on your taste.
- Pasta! Yes, we’ll need some of that. I like to use short and textured pasta like penne, ditalini, farfalle or fusilli. It’s easier to eat and their shapes absorb the salad dressings really well.
- Tomatoes – soooo Mediterranean! You can use fresh tomatoes or sun-dried.
- Cucumbers – it adds a nice crunch and greenery to the salad.
- Something brined and salty – olives definitely work here, as do roasted red peppers, artichokes and hearts of palm.
- Greens – I like using arugula, spinach or baby Kale. Don’t want big leafy greens? Try just parsley or basil or mint…hello freshness!
- Feta cheese (alllll the feta cheese) or none if you want to keep this vegan. That’s cool too.
Now for the vinaigrette, I keep it simple with red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and mint. Instead of olive oil, I use the reserved oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and it gives it a great color.
Tips to make mediterranean pasta salad
Sometimes we cook pasta for cold recipes the way we do for warm dishes. Don’t do that! There are some unique tips when cooking pasta to serve cold versus hot!
- Don’t skimp out on the salt. How much salt? I usually eye ball this, but the rule is usually 1-2 tablespoons for every gallon of water. Go with 2 tablespoons when it’s cold pasta to make sure there’s still lots of flavor there.
- Don’t cook until the pasta is soft. No one likes soggy pasta in a pasta salad. You want to make sure it’s moist but not too soft. Follow the al dente cooking instructions on the pasta box.
- Don’t rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking. Instead, toss it immediately with the dressing to allow it to absorb all the flavor immediately.
This recipe is super versatile to what you have on hand, and always such a crowd pleaser. It’s fresh, fast and so fabulous!
And best part is, it actually lasts in the fridge for a few days, so it’s a great candidate for meal prepping!
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Mediterranean Pasta Salad recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
More pasta salad recipes
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Avocado Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Spinach Pasta Salad
- Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- 6 oz pasta
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 4 oz roasted red peppers
- 2 oz sundried tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp green olives
- 2 Tbsp feta cheese optional
- 1/4 cup olive oil from sundried tomatoes jar
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain in a colander, then transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl.
- To prepare the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a small mason jar. Immediately toss the pasta with the dressing.
- To the large bowl of pasta, add the remaining salad ingredients, and toss the pasta salad until everything is evenly coated with the dressing.
- Serve immediately or allow to chill in the fridge until ready to eat.
- To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta
- To make the pasta salad vegan, simply leave out the feta cheese or use a vegan cheese substitute