Greek Pasta Salad
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A popular dish for warmer months is the classic Pasta Salad, and one of our favorite versions is this wonderful Greek Pasta Salad. There are many different versions of this hearty yet refreshing dish, which typically varies by the type of Pasta that is used. For our Greek Pasta Salad recipe, we’re not using Orzo, instead we are using Orecchiette Pasta, and it turns out amazing!

Using Orecchiette Pasta is great in a Greek Pasta Salad, and here’s why

You can really use any kind of Pasta you want in this dish; it will turn out great regardless. Popular versions of the dish use either Orzo or Spiral pasta. Other versions like Ribbon Pasta are very common too. What we love about Orecchiette Pasta is that it’s the perfect size for this dish

The key to a great Pasta Salad is ensuring that every forkful of food is likely to have equal parts of all ingredients. This results in the best overall taste with every bite. We’ve found that Orzo is too little, with an almost rice-like consistency. You end up spooning in mouthfuls of Orzo with not much else. Or you get a bit mouthful of Salad and not much else!

Orecchiette is simply the perfect size, because in our Greek Salad we are using Cherry Tomatoes. When you cut the Cherry Tomatoes in half, they are literally the exact same size as a piece of Orecchiette Pasta! It’s a perfect match and means that each mouthful you’ll get equal parts Pasta with Tomatoes! Not to mention, it also tastes great!

How to make the best Greek Pasta Salad

This is one of the easiest recipes you can make. We talk a lot about effort and reward on this website. We feel the best recipes are the ones that don’t take too much effort yet punch well above their weight in flavor. Our Greek Pasta Salad is a low effort, high reward kind of dish

First step is to cook the Orecchiette

This dish is generally served at either room temperature, or cold. The Salad components of the dish won’t benefit from being heated up and are best eaten at a cooler temperature. So, the first step is to cook that wonderful Pasta and then let it cool down a bit before it’s added to the rest of the Salad ingredients

We’ve found that the dish is best served at room temperature, which can easily be achieved by adding the Pasta that has been cooling for about 20 – 30 minutes (so it’s still a little bit warm) with the cold salad ingredients. The warm Orecchiette will slightly warm up the Salad, while the cold salad ingredients will cool down the Orecchiette. It all nets out to a room temperature dish which, in our opinion tastes the best

If a dish is too cold, sometimes you don’t get all the flavors coming through from the ingredients. Especially for ingredients like Tomatoes. They’re best served in a salad at room temperature to best appreciate their flavors

Greek Salad with Pasta
Don’t overload the Salad with too much Pasta. You want to be able to taste all of those wonderful vegetables

Don’t overload the dish with Pasta

A little trick we’ve found when making a Pasta Salad is to not overload the dish with Pasta. The dish will become a little one note and not have as much flavor, as too much Pasta will begin to dilute it. As a rule we recommend cooking the same quantity of Pasta as you have Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the prominent vegetable in a Greek Salad, so aim for the same volume of Pasta to Tomatoes. This way you get an even amount of the two big flavors in the dish, and everything will be balanced out. For our recipe we’re using 300g / 11 oz. of both Pasta and Tomatoes. This will be plenty enough to feed 3 – 4 people generously

Prepare the classic Greek Salad ingredients

What is great about the Classic Greek Salad is the simplicity of its ingredients. You don’t need much to make an exceptional Greek Salad, just good quality ingredients. Tomatoes are the star in a Greek Salad and for our recipe we’re using Cherry Tomatoes

We just cut the cherry tomatoes in half, so they will be about the same size as an individual Orecchiette piece. This is not only for presentation, but it makes eating the dish a lot easier when the pieces are around the same size. So, try cutting the Bell Peppers and Cucumbers to the same size as well so everything is even

Make a simple Vinaigrette

There’s no need to be fancy when it comes to a Greek Salad vinaigrette. The goal is to elevate the flavors of the other ingredients, not to overwhelm the dish with a salad dressing. Therefore, we keep it very simple – 4 parts good quality Olive Oil to 2 parts Lemon Juice. We then add about 1 tsp. of Dijon Mustard for some added flavor and to slightly thicken the vinaigrette

For most of our Salad dressings we typically opt for 4 parts Olive Oil to 1 part acid (either Lemon Juice or Vinegar). For our Greek Pasta Salad Vinaigrette we’re doubling the quantity of acid, in this case Lemon Juice. Because the dish has a lot of Pasta in it, it benefits from a slightly higher acid levels

The acid will help to elevate the flavors of the fruit and vegetables in the Salad, balancing them out to match with the slight heaviness of the Orecchiette

Greek Pasta Salad with Feta and Mint
Right before serving add a generous amount of Feta and Mint to complete this wonderful Greek Pasta Salad dish

Finally, it’s not a Greek Salad without Feta Cheese and Mint

The finishing touches to this awesome Greek Pasta Salad are fresh Mint and Feta Cheese. The Mint gives that lovely Mediterranean feel to the dish, with bright freshness and a wonderful aroma. As always with fresh herbs, cut them up right before adding them to the dish to capture as much flavor and aroma as possible

Finally, crumble over some good quality Feta Cheese for a lovely creamy consistency at the very end. Cheese always pairs well with Pasta, and it’s a staple ingredient in a Greek Salad. So, naturally Feta Cheese works wonders in this dish. It can be slightly salty, so just be wary of that when seasoning your dish

You’ll notice the absence of Olive in this dish too. That is completely down to personal preference, we’re simply not the biggest fans of Olives. I find that the Olives carry quite an aggressive flavor and tend to overpower everything else in a Greek Salad. You can add some if you like them, it’s totally up to you

Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken
try adding a protein to the salad for a bit more heartiness. We made our Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken and it was great!

Add a protein to the Greek Pasta Salad if you like, it’s totally optional!

For an even heartier meal we’d recommend adding a protein to the Salad. We’ve found that Chicken goes exceptionally well with the dish. We didn’t do anything fancy to the Chicken in the photos in this recipe, just a basic seasoning of Salt and Pepper then pan fried

We used Chicken Thighs as they pack a bit more flavor and are also more forgiving on the stovetop when being pan fried. Steak would be another good option, give it a try with some lovely tenderloin, Ribeye, or even NY Strip. Any protein will pair great with this Salad

Recipe Details

Servings

4 people

Prep time

15 minutes

Cooking time

10 minutes

Total time

25 minutes

Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 grams / 11 oz. Orecchiette Pasta
  • 300 grams / 11 oz. Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Cucumber, diced
  • ½ Red Onion, finely sliced
  • ½ Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • ½ cup fresh Mint, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup Feta Cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 4 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Fill a medium sized saucepan about ½ way up with Water. Bring to a boil, season with about 2 tsp. of Salt then add the Orecchiette. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until al dente. Strain and set aside to cool
  2. Add the Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Dijon Mustard, and 1 tsp. of Salt into a large salad bowl and whisk well to combine all the ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary
  3. Prepare all your vegetables and then add them into the bowl. If you have time, we suggest adding the Onions first and let them sit in the Vinaigrette for 10 minutes. This will help to break down the Onions, taking away a bit of their harsh raw flavor. After 10 minutes, add the Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Bell Pepper
  4. Add the Orecchiette and mix well. Chop up the Mint and add it to the bowl. Mix well then serve family style or in individual bowls. Finish by sprinkling Feta Cheese over the dish and serve immediately

Chicken Greek Salad
An optional addition to the dish is adding a protein, such as Chicken. You can also add Steak, Pork, or even Fish

Recipe Notes

A delicious, but optional addition to the Salad is to cook up some protein and serve it on top. We tried this dish with a beautiful pan-seared piece of Chicken Thigh which we simply seasoned with Salt and Pepper. Slice it up for a nice presentation and serve it on top for an even heartier dish!

That’s all there is to it! A perfect Greek Pasta Salad that is hearty, healthy, and most importantly of all; delicious! If you enjoyed this delicious salad, why not check out some of other favorite healthy dishes:

Happy Cooking!

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