Pasta salads are a must at a BBQ or picnic. Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to them - make this vegetable packed Greek Pasta Salad that’s a real crowd pleaser, so easy to make and basically summer in a bowl. Chunky pasta, a zesty dressing, juicy tomatoes and plenty of feta and olives. The leftovers are a great salad to pack and take to work too.
Pasta salad is normally the centre of any BBQ or picnic as it’s easy to make, usually pretty cheap and good to feed a crowd. No need to make a separate Greek salad and pasta salad, as you can just combine them in this delicious Greek Pasta Salad. All your favourite Greek flavours in a filling healthy pasta salad dish.
A Greek salad is one of the greatest salads there is. It’s crunchy, it’s creamy and it’s salty. It really has it all. But it’s not overly filling, which is why it’s usually a side dish. It’s pretty much just vegetables and cheese, which is why we mixed in some pasta to make it a filling meal or healthy BBQ side.
Why you will love it
- An amazing BBQ side dish - This is great for a BBQ as it can be cooked in bulk and it's cheap and filling.
- Easy to adapt - There are so many different ways to adapt this, so it is a great fridge raid meal to use up what you have.
- Nutritious - We have packed lots of goodness in to this Greek pasta salad, and we have given options below of how to add more vegetables too.
- Vegan option - If you leave out the feta, or use a vegan alternative, then this can be vegan.
- Can be made in advance - Make this the night before a BBQ and then keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Make sure you give it a really good stir before serving.
- Pasta - This is the bulk of the dish. You can use any pasta you like, or even a mixture of a few if you have lots of little bits in your cupboard.
- Bell pepper - We used a diced green pepper, but any colour could work. Red bell peppers add a little sweetness. You could even used roasted red pepper for lots of extra flavour.
- Onion - Red onion adds a nice pop of colour. Some people find raw red onion hard to digest, so you could cook it a little first, or swap it for diced shallots.
- Cucumber - We just used a standard English cucumber.
- Tomato - An easy way to add a pop of colour. We used cherry tomatoes, but you could dice larger tomatoes if you prefer.
- Olives - It wouldn't be a Greek dish without olives, right? You can use any olives you like, but we really like Kalamata. Add some extra flavour by using garlic or chilli stuffed olives.
- Feta - Feta makes everything better, right?! Feta is a must on any kind of Greek dish and it adds a lovely creamy, salty flavour to the pasta salad.
- Oil - Try to use the best quality olive oil that you can, as you really will be able to taste the difference.
- Vinegar - We used apple cider vinegar in the dressing. You could swap it for red wine vinegar if you prefer, which has a richer flavour.
- Lemon - An easy way to really lighten up the whole dish and give it a lovely fresh flavour. Freshly squeezed is always best.
- Garlic - This really adds a punch of flavour. Fresh is always best, but you could use ready chopped garlic from a jar if you prefer.
- Herbs - We used loads of fresh dill as it really lightens up the whole dish. Dill always reminds me of Greek flavours too.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Add the pasta to a pan of lightly salted boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes and the drain and rinse under cold water. Alternatively, follow the instructions for our Microwave Pasta.
Two: Put the pasta, pepper, cucumber, tomatoes and olives into a large mixing bowl.
Three: Add the onions, garlic, dill, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest.
Four: Mix well. Crumble the feta on top just before serving.
We always say that it's the dressing that makes a salad, but we have kept this nice and simple and used an apple cider vinaigrette. It allows the main focus to be on all the delicious Greek flavours, rather than having an over-powering dressing.
We just mixed together some olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and zest, garlic and salt and pepper and it really brings all the flavours together. It's a dressing you can make from ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard.
Swap the apple cider vinegar for a red wine vinegar for a richer flavour.
We kept this pasta salad vegetarian and you get lots of texture from the crunchy cucumber and juicy tomatoes. Not to mention the olive and cheese too. But you could always add chicken, salmon, prawns or tuna if you wanted to, or chickpeas for a vegetarian option. But this really isn't missing meat.
This salad is bursting with chunky vegetables, but there is always room for more. Other ways we have made this in the past include using chopped up roasted red peppers and artichokes. Feel free to use anything you have that needs using up. We like roasted asparagus in it too and spinach adds a nice leafy green twist to it.
We crumbled feta on top of this, because feta is life in Greek food. But if you are not a fan, you could add some chunks of grilled halloumi instead.
What to serve with Greek Pasta Salad
This is the ultimate BBQ side dish. Easy to bulk out all the main meals and you can easily make double or triple if you have a few guests round. If you are looking for some BBQ mains to serve it with, then we have some suggestions for you:
- Greek Chicken Skewers
- Honey and Lime Chicken
- Greek Turkey Burgers
- Vegetable and Halloumi Kebabs
- Peri Peri Chicken
- Cajun Chicken Burgers
- Mexican Bean Burger
- Pork and Apple Burgers
This will keep in an air-tight container for around 3-5 days, so it's a good pasta salad to make a day or so ahead if you are having a big BBQ or to store in the fridge for your work lunches for the week. Ours never lasts that long though, as we keep eating it. You won't be able to stop yourself with this delicious pasta salad.
As far as pasta salads go, this is a pretty healthy one. It is packed with vegetables and we have used and oil and vinegar based dressing, rather than a heavy creamy one.
You can easily make a vegan version of this by either leaving out the feta or using a vegan alternative.
If you use gluten free pasta and make sure that there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
We have used a spiral pasta because the dressing clings to it really well and it's easy for toddlers to pick up as well, so we always have some in the cupboard. You could use any pasta that you have though, and we often use Fusilli, penne or conchiglie instead.
Feel free to adapt this recipe to use what you already have, rather than buying new ingredients. It works with orzo too if you want something smaller.
• If you are not a fan of feta, you could use chunks of cheddar or parmesan instead or even grilled halloumi.
• If you want to give this salad a bit of a protein boost, add some slices of grilled chicken or a salmon fillet on top.
• Turn this in to a creamy pasta salad by using a creamy salad dressing instead. A ranch or Caesar would work well.
• Make sure you cook the pasta to just al dente and then rinse it in cold water to stop it cooking further.
• If raw red onion is a little much for you, then you could soften it in a little oil, or swap it for shallots.
More Greek recipes
Greek Pasta Salad
- 300 g (10.5 oz) Pasta shapes
- 1 Green bell pepper - diced
- 0.5 Cucumber - diced
- 0.5 Red onion - thinly sliced
- 8 Cherry tomatoes - halved
- 55 g (0.5 cups) Mixed olives
- 60 g (0.5 cups) Feta - crumbled
- 3 tablespoon Olive oil
- 2 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
- 1 Lemon - (Juice and zest only)
- 1 Pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 10 g (0.5 cups) Fresh dill - finely chopped
- Add 300 g Pasta shapes to a pan of lightly salted boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes and then drain and rinse under cold water.
- Put the pasta, 1 Green bell pepper, 0.5 Cucumber, 8 Cherry tomatoes and 55 g Mixed olives into a large mixing bowl.
- Add 0.5 Red onion, 2 Garlic clove, 10 g Fresh dill, 3 tablespoon Olive oil, 2 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar, 1 Pinch Sea salt and black pepper and the juice and zest of 1 Lemon.
- Mix well.
- Crumble 60 g Feta on top just before serving.
- If you are not a fan of feta, you could use chunks of cheddar or parmesan instead or even grilled halloumi.
- If you want to give this salad a bit of a protein boost, add some slices of grilled chicken or a salmon fillet on top.
- Turn this in to a creamy pasta salad by using a creamy salad dressing instead. A ranch or Caesar would work well.
- Make sure you cook the pasta to just al dente and then rinse it in cold water to stop it cooking further.
- If raw red onion is a little much for you, then you could soften it in a little oil, or swap it for shallots.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.