Spinach Pasta Salad

5 from 44 votes

This bright and colorful Spinach Pasta Salad is packed with flavor and nutrition- a vegetarian recipe that's perfect for picnics and potlucks

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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.

Large platter of spinach pasta salad served with sundried tomatoes and feta cheese

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.
Ingredients to make the recipe

How to make this spinach pasta salad

  1. Whisk the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and garlic until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the cooked pasta to the bowl on top the dressing.
  3. Add the artichokes, baby spinach, red onion, and feta cheese.
  4. Season again and toss well to combine.
4 image collage to show how to make the pasta salad

Tips to make this recipe

  1. Make this salad vegan by omitting the feta cheese or using a plant-based variety.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

How long does it keep?

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.

Do you have to let the pasta cool to make pasta salad?

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!

Can you eat it warm or cold?

This spinach pasta salad can be enjoyed warm or cold. It’s a great make ahead option of potlucks and cookouts.

Spinach Pasta Salad in a white bowl on a table with another bowl next to it and feta cheese

More pasta salad recipes

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Spinach Pasta Salad

This bright and colorful Spinach Pasta Salad is packed with flavor and nutrition- a vegetarian recipe that's perfect for picnics and potlucks
5 from 44 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Calories 277
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 4-5 days in the fridge.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. Since it’s a salad though, the ingredients and measurements are just guidelines, so feel free to adjust. To make this gluten-free, use any type of gluten-free pasta you’d like and cook it al dente.
Nutritional Data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use. 

Nutrition

Calories: 277kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 243mg, Potassium: 346mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 2969IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 140mg, Iron: 2mg

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Spinach Pasta Salad in a white bowl on a table with another bowl next to it and feta cheese

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Comments

  1. Made this for lunch today and it exceeded my expectations – so much flavor! I can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow! This would also be a perfect side dish to compliment any main course. Saving this one to make again and again. Thank you for sharing so many delicious recipes, Yumna!

  2. Question: When do you add the sun dried tomatoes or do you just use the oil from the jar?

    We liked the salad, very easy to put together!

    1. You can add it in step 4 along with the artichokes, baby spinach, red onion, and feta. Glad to hear you enjoyed the salad!

      1. I see my confusion now. I didn’t read all the way down to instructions, I got on the “How to make Salad” section and in Step 3 it omits the tomatoes. Thank you for clarifying.

  3. This salad is a keeper! I love this recipe’s versatility and adaptability for individual tastes and creativity!
    I had baby kale on hand and I used that instead of spinach (I don’t notice any difference in taste.)
    My grocery store had healthy seaweed pasta on special, so I decided to go with that…all very good choices!
    I chose to add Kalamata and pimento-stuffed olives and can’t wait to make this again using Parmesan cheese instead of feta.
    Thanks Yumna! Give give it five stars🍽👏