Looking for a Great Mediterranean Pasta Salad Recipe? Try Ours!
Ah yes, pasta salads. The perfect “thrown together” meal that can please almost anyone. For this recipe, we’re sharing our Mediterranean pasta salad recipe. Lisa thinks it’s Mediterranean-inspired but Eric thinks it’s fair game to call it Mediterranean because of its ingredients. Olives, olive oil, tomato, feta, sun-dried tomatoes? Sounds Mediterranean to me!
In any case, we really like this pasta salad because it’s very filling but not at all heavy. It’s a nice mix of lighter, fresh ingredients that can be made as dinner or as a side dish at an outdoor summer gathering. It’s also prime for additions like chickpeas, pesto, or even some types of meat if you are a meat-eater. Let’s get mixing.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad Variations
Of course, this recipe can be tweaked or modified to suit a number of different tastes or dietary needs:
- For a gluten-free Mediterranean pasta salad, you would have to use gluten-free pasta to the recipe.
- For a dairy-free/vegan Mediterranean pasta salad recipe, you can remove the feta cheese altogether or consider substituting it with a vegan cheese alternative.
- If you want to add more protein, you can consider adding a legume like chickpeas or even some fried tofu.
- Lots of other recipes make use of orzo (a short-cut pasta like rice) but you can use any smaller pasta really. We like Fusili because it grabs different flavors and spices when it’s mixed.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad Recipe Need-to-Knows
Before you begin to make this pasta salad recipe, there are a few things you should think about!
- It’s important to not boil your pasta for too long because you don’t want it to be too soft. The cooking time will change slightly depending on which type of pasta you use so keep that in mind.
- Watch the amount of salt you add when you start adding spices because once you add it, it cannot be taken back!
- Speaking of spices, you should really go easy on ALL of the spices the first time you make this because everyone has different tastes for different spices. You might no like how much garlic powder we put – while others may want more! Just be sure to taste as you go and mix in small amounts at a time.
- We think this recipe tastes better if it’s made and then sits in the fridge for a few hours (or even overnight). It has something to do with allowing the pasta to absorb the flavors.
- You can certainly make this recipe the day before consumption, but we’d recommend to not make it too far in advance since the pasta might get slightly soggy otherwise.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad Storing Tips
If you make this recipe as is, you will end up with a large bowl that serves about 6 portions. It’s great for a dinner party or as two meals eaten over two days for two people (speaking from experience).
As mentioned above, once you mix it together you can eat it right away but we think it should be served cold. Cover the leftovers in the bowl (or transfer to a smaller bowl) and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
After that, the tomatoes and the cucumbers get soggy and their water moves about the salad which can make the pasta more mushy. It’s still edible – just not as great or fresh. We never have any left to go bad in the fridge because we love it so much!
- 1/4 of a medium-sized onion
- 2 small tomatoes (or one large)
- 1/3 of a cucumber
- 1/2 cup of sliced olives
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes
- 17.6 oz (500 grams) of whole wheat fusilli pasta
- 4.4 oz (125 grams) of feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder (can be less, we really like it)
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of Italian spice blend
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (maybe less depending on how salty your olives are)
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil, salt the water, and cook your pasta as indicated on the package. The pasta should be just slightly firm (al dente).
- Strain the pasta and briefly rinse with cold water to shock it (it is so it'll stop cooking). Leave the pasta in the strainer for now.
- On a cutting board, dice the onion, cucumber, and tomatoes and place them in a large salad bowl.
- Slice the olives and sun-dried tomatoes and place them into the bowl as well.
- Add the cooled pasta into the bowl and crumble the feta cheese on top. You can save a little bit of cheese for decoration at the end if you want.
- In a glass, add the olive oil, vinegar, and spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian spice blend) and stir well.
- Add the dressing to the salad in the bowl.
- Mix the pasta salad together until everything is coated in oil and the spices are mixed. With a clean spoon, taste the pasta salad and add the remaining spices as per your taste preference.
When it comes to spices, add them last and definitely add them in slowly and taste as you go. Once you add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc they can't be removed!
We would also recommend putting the salad back into the fridge and letting it sit for at least 30 minutes (ideally a bit longer). This will allow the flavors to mix and it will taste so much better. However, oftentimes we can't wait that long and eat it right away - it still tastes delicious, but it tastes better after it sits for a bit.
And there you have it – our Mediterranean pasta salad recipe that we love to make! It’s such a simple and fast recipe that is relatively healthy, versatile, super filling, and works for lunch and dinner. How can you go wrong!? Let us know if you make it – and if you change anything up… we’d love to hear about it!
As always, Keep It Simple,
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