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This Spinach Pasta Salad is a great salad to make during the summer. Loaded with penne pasta, fresh baby spinach, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes and feta cheese, it’s full of color and texture and so refreshing for a potluck or picnic.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Pasta: You can use any short pasta you like, including penne, cavatappi, macaroni and fusilli. Make it gluten-free by using chickpea pasta or lentil pasta.
- Spinach: Use baby spinach which is tender and easy to eat raw. The good thing about spinach is that it’s a leafy green that’s still appetizing when it softens from salad dressings.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes are an easy way of adding a burst of flavor to this dish. We also use the oil from the jar for the dressing so nothing goes to waste.
- Artichokes: These add a hearty and juicy bite to the salad with a slight tangy edge. They work well in salads because their briny flavor complements the fresh ingredients here.
- Red onions: Red onions are milder than white or yellow and ar perfect for raw salads. Slice them finely so that they are not too overpowering. You could use sliced green onions or shallots as well.
- Feta cheese: The saltiness of feta cheese balances wonderfully when crumbled with the sweet dressing and sun-dried tomatoes. Goat cheese would also work really well.
- Dressing: Made with the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar and fresh garlic, it’s a simple vinaigrette that pairs perfectly with the spinach salad.
How to make this spinach pasta salad
- Whisk the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and garlic until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked pasta to the bowl on top the dressing.
- Add the artichokes, baby spinach, red onion, and feta cheese.
- Season again and toss well to combine.
Tips to make this recipe
- Make this salad vegan by omitting the feta cheese or using a plant-based variety.
- Don’t use fresh pasta for this recipe. Fresh pasta doesn’t tend to hold up well when it is tossed in the dressing, so stick to dried.
- Be careful not overcook or undercook the pasta. It should be just pasta al dente. If it is too soft it will break apart, and if not cooked enough it will be chewy.
- Season the dish well. So that you don’t end up with a bland spinach pasta salad, cook the pasta in salted water so you start to add flavor right from the start.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once cooled to room temperature, store the pasta salad in an air tight container in the fridge. It will keep well for 5 to 6 days.
No, it’s not necessary here. Because the dressing has no mayonnaise, you can add it straight to warm pasta. The spinach leaves will wilt a little, but it will still be delicious!
This spinach pasta salad can be enjoyed warm or cold. It’s a great make ahead option of potlucks and cookouts.
More pasta salad recipes
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Avocado Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
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Spinach Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 7 ounce jar julienned sun-dried tomatoes with oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove minced
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 7 ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained, and coarsely chopped
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Crushed red pepper for garnish
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water until no longer hot. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk about 4 tablespoons oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and garlic until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add the pasta to the bowl that contains the dressing and toss together. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, baby spinach, red onion, and feta.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Top with crushed red pepper and serve. Enjoy hot or cold.