Everyone loves this easy recipe for creamy Greek pasta salad with feta.
The healthy yogurt dressing gives it the best Mediterranean taste.
This is one of the best summer pasta salad recipes since it's best eaten cold or slightly chilled from the fridge and most of the veggies are in season during the summer, when their flavor is the most intense and sweet.
This dish is like a greek salad recipe but with added pasta and a creamy yogurt dressing. It is an easy make ahead recipe and ideal as a side dish for a potluck, BBQ, or a party. Many times though, I have it for lunch (put it in a mason jar and take it to work) or even dinner because it's a complete meal.
If you like this, then you should also check this Traditional Greek Dakos salad which is equally delicious!
For this greek pasta salad recipe with pasta you'll need:
- Rotini pasta or fusilli
- Red bell pepper
- Green bell pepper
- Kalamata olives
- Feta cheese
- Fresh parsley
For the dressing ingredients you'll need:
- Greek yogurt
- Red onion
- Dried oregano
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
For a Mediterranean Diet pasta salad it's best to use whole wheat pasta.
The Greek yogurt can be full fat or 2% fat. Use a strained Greek yogurt because it's thicker and will give you the best results.
The olive oil can be filtered or unfiltered.
Don't have any Greek yogurt? Check this article with the best Greek yogurt substitutes (dairy and dairy-free)
To make this creamy Greek yogurt pasta salad, follow this easy step by step guide:
Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, rinse well with cold water and drain again. Then, trasnfer the pasta to a large bowl.
Step 2: Chop the vegetables taking care that all the pieces are about the same size. This will make each bite more balanced and the salad will be easier to eat. Transfer the vegetables with all of their juices to the salad bowl over the pasta, along with the olives and the creamy feta cheese.
Step 3: Transfer the ingredients for the dressing to a small bowl and mix well to combine. Then, pour the dressing over the rest of the Greek pasta salad ingredients.
Step 4: Toss gently until everything is covered with the dressing. Serve right away or cover the salad bowl with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerated for 30 minutes or more.
Make sure to chop your veggies approximately the same size as the type of pasta you'll choose, because this will make the salad more balanced and easier to eat.
Cook the pasta al dente because it will soften further as it absorbs some of the liquids from the chopped vegetables.
Pasta: Rotini can be replaced with other short type of pasta such as penne, farfalle, fusilli, elbow, orecchiette.
Tomatoes: Any type of tomato is perfect for this recipe as long as it is ripe and sweet. In these photos, red beafsteak juicy tomatoes are used but you can also choose other varieties such as cherry tomatoes, roma, grape tomatoes and more.
Cucumbers: Preferably, Persian or English cucumber should be used because they can be eaten with their skin and they also don't contain many seeds. They're crisp and crunchy and will make your salad very refreshing.
If you use other type of cucumber you may have to peel it and remove the seeds if they bother you.
Parsley: Other fresh herbs such as dill weed, chervil, green onions or chives can be added instead of parsley.
Kalamata olives: Any other type of pitted olives or even capers can be used to replace Kalamata olives.
For the Greek salad dressing, you can substitute half of the yogurt with mayonnaise or add a bit of Dijon mustard, but I truly feel that there's no need to do any of that. The olive oil, the oregano and the chopped onion give so much flavor to the dressing, making every other addition unnecessary.
Red onion: Though red onions are mostly used for salads, any kind of onion will be fine for this recipe.
For a creamy Mediterranean pasta salad with extra plant-based protein, add a can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained. Red kidney beans are also a great addition.
With chicken: For extra animal protein, add one cooked chicken breast in cubes. It can be boiled, baked or from a rotisserie chicken.
Gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe free of gluten.
Garlic and miso yogurt dressing: If you want to make the creamy Greek dressing even healthier, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of white miso paste and a teaspoon of dried garlic powder. A similar yogurt sauce is used with these air fryer Brussels Sprouts.
This Greek pasta salad will keep for 3-4 days when stored in the fridge inside an airtight container.
Are you wondering what to serve with Greek pasta salad?
Here are some great pairing ideas:
Creamy Greek pasta salad (with healthy yogurt dressing)
For the salad:
- 1 pound (450 g) rotini pasta
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 small Persian cucumbers, sliced in the middle lengthwise and chopped.
- ½ red bell pepper, (chopped)
- ½ green bell pepper, (chopped)
- ½ cup fresh parsley, (chopped)
- ½ cup sliced and pitted Kalamata olives
- 7 oz (200 g) feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
For the dressing:
- 1 cup strained Greek yogurt 2% fat ((you can also use full fat))
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions or until al dente. Don't overcook it because the texture will be off.Drain well using a colander and rinse with cold water until no longer warm. Set aside to drain and transfer to a large salad bowl.
- Chop the vegetables approximately the same size as the pasta. Transfer them with all of their juices to the salad bowl over the pasta. Add the parsley, the olives and the feta cheese.
- Transfer the ingredients for the dressing to a small bowl and mix well to combine. Then, pour the dressing over the Greek pasta salad.
- Toss gently until everything is covered with the dressing. Taste and adjust the salt.Serve right away or cover the salad bowl with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerated for 30 minutes or more.
There are some basic mistakes you should avoid when making pasta salad, in order to get the best results:
1. Not using the right type of pasta. Using spaghetti to make a pasta salad won't work because the pasta should be short in order to get mixed with the other ingredients better. For salads with dressing, using pasta types with nooks and crannies such as penne rigatte or rotini, will catch the dressing resulting in more flavor in each bite.
2. Overcooking or undercooking the pasta. The pasta should be cooked al dente, so that you can feel the texture in each bite.
3. Not rinsing the pasta. In most pasta dishes the pasta should not be rinsed because you loose starch and flavor. However, in pasta salads, rinsing the pasta removes some of the extra starch that will cause it to stick together. And no one wants a salad with the pasta pieces stuck together.
4. Not using enough seasoning. All the pasta should be boiled in salted water and additional salt should be added to the rest of the ingredients. Salt enhances all the other flavors and makes them shine in every dish.
5. Not using seasonal, fresh ingredients. The best way to get the most flavor is to use seasonal, ripe, fresh veggies of good quality.
6. Not tasting the final product. You should always taste once the salad is ready. This way you can add more salt, acid (red wine vinegar or lemon juice), fat (oil) or spices and herbs to bring it to your desired taste.
Yes, many recipes including this one, are better when served the next day or when they're stored in the fridge for a few hours.
This way all the flavors have the chance to bind together and develop, creating a more tasty dish.
As mentioned previously, in many (warm) pasta recipes the pasta should not be rinsed because you loose starch and flavor.
However, when it comes to pasta salads, rinsing the pasta removes some of the extra starch that will cause it to stick together and also stops it from cooking further and becoming overcooked.
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