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Looking for a new and delicious summer pasta salad recipe? Look no further than this Mediterranean version! Fusilli pasta is combined with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Crumbled feta cheese and a homemade Mediterranean dressing add tons of flavor. This salad is perfect for potlucks, parties, or a quick and easy weeknight meal.
I make pasta salads a couple of 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 with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese, and it’s sure to be hit with everyone!
why you’ll love this pasta salad with spinach
- Tangy and refreshing. The vinaigrette, feta cheese, and kalamata olives paired with the cooling cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach create a salad that’s both flavorful and refreshing.
- Quick & easy to make. This recipe comes together in just 20 minutes! Perfect for a busy weeknight or when you need to bring a dish to share.
- It can be made ahead of time. This salad actually gets better as it sits, making it the perfect make-ahead dish. Simply make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
- Crowd pleaser. This salad is perfect for feeding a crowd! It’s great for potlucks, BBQs, and picnics. Everyone always goes back for seconds (or thirds!).
Ingredients to make Mediterranean pasta salad
It’s all about color and freshness! Think of 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 tomatoes.
- 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!
- Feta cheese: Add as much as your heart desires or none if you want to keep this pasta salad vegan.
How to make Mediterranean pasta salad
- In a large serving bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
- Add the cooled pasta on top of the dressing and toss to combine.
- Add the remaining salad ingredients on top of the pasta.
- Toss the pasta salad until everything is evenly coated with the dressing.
Tips for making the best Mediterranean pasta salad
- Don’t skimp out on the salt. How much salt? I usually eyeball this, but the rule is usually 1-2 tablespoons for every gallon of water. Go with 2 tablespoons when it’s cold pasta to ensure there are still lots of flavors there.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. 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.
- Rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking. This will help to immediately stop the pasta from getting any additional heat or adding heat to other salad ingredients like the feta cheese.
- Cut the veggies as uniformly as possible. This keeps the salad looking nice and keeps the eating experience consistent. If everything is a different size, some ingredients will be overdressed or underdressed.
popular substitutions & additions
- Switch out the spinach with kale. If you’re not a fan of spinach, you can easily substitute it with kale. I like to use baby kale because it’s more tender and easier to eat, but you can use regular kale as well. Just make sure to chop it into bite-size pieces, so it’s not too tough.
- Beef up the protein with some chickpeas or white beans. If you want to add some extra protein or bulk up the salad, you can add in a can of chickpeas or white beans.
- Add in some grilled chicken or shrimp. If you want to make this a main dish, you can easily add in some grilled chicken or grilled shrimp.
- Try it with pickled onions or jalapeños. If you want a little more acidity or spice, you can add pickled onions or jalapeños. I like to add both!
- Add fresh herbs. Mint, basil, and parsley are all great additions to this salad.
what to serve/pair with your summer pasta salad
how to store Mediterranean pasta salad
I like to store pasta salad in a large glass container so I can see all the pretty colors! Be sure to give it a good stir before serving, as some of the dressing may have settled on the bottom.
How long will pasta salad last in the fridge?
This salad will last in the fridge for about 48 hours. After that, the pasta will start to get mushy, and the veggies will start to wilt. But if you’re anything like me, it’ll be gone long before then!
Frequently asked questions
Yes! This is actually a great salad to make ahead of time. I would recommend making it at least a few hours ahead, or even the day before, so all the flavors have a chance to mingle.
No worries! This salad is very forgiving. If you don’t have one of the veggies listed, just leave it out or substitute it with something else.
Yes! You can use any type of pasta you like. I’ve even made this with quinoa or brown rice in a pinch. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
This summer pasta salad recipe is super versatile to what you have on hand, and always such a crowd-pleaser. It’s fresh, fast, and so fabulous! And the best part is, this Mediterranean pasta salad actually lasts in the fridge for a couple days, so it works well for lunch meal prep.
More pasta salad recipes
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Avocado Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Spinach Pasta Salad
- Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
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This Mediterranean Pasta Salad recipe was originally published on August 15, 2018. The recipe has been slightly modified, and the post now includes new step-by-step photos for how to make the pasta salad recipe.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces fusilli pasta
- 1 English cucumbers diced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ red onion sliced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup kalamata olives halved
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the salad dressing in a large serving bowl by whisking together the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
- Add the pasta on top of the dressing and toss to combine. 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
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.