Chopped Greek Pasta Salad Recipe // Video
A quick and easy side dish for summer, this Chopped Greek Pasta Salad recipe is loaded with fresh mediterranean flavor. Bite sized chopped veggies, salty kalamata olives, feta and herbs are tossed with a lemony vinaigrette for a fantastically, zesty mouthful of summer heaven.
Oh my gosh, guys…..who had a great Memorial Day weekend??? (This girl did!) I went creeping on some of my Instagram followers stories this weekend to see what everyone was up to and it looked like you all had so much fun! Lots of picnics, barbecues, trips to the lake…..you were all busy, busy, busy in the best way. We spent the weekend at the beach with my brother’s family and it was just what we all needed….a weekend of sun, surf and sand with a couple cocktails thrown in for good measure. Our kids are now old enough that we don’t have to follow them everywhere they go because we know as soon as the ice cream man gets close, they’ll be right back in a hot second.
And we ate a ton of food….but one thing I do miss when I spend weekends at the beach while everyone is having fun at big barbecues is all the picnic-y food like hot dogs, ribs and PASTA SALAD! I’m a huge pasta salad fan….well, I’m a huge fan of any salad that isn’t lettuce based like this super fab Greek Salad. But pasta salad is soooo good because….hellooooo, CARBS! And this Chopped Greek Pasta Salad Recipe is where it’s at right now.
How to make the best pasta salad?
To start your pasta salad, the key to the best flavor is in how you cook the pasta for your pasta salad. My secret to adding flavor without too many additional steps is to salt the water….just like when you make your Sunday dinner pasta. Salting the water before cooking your pasta is going to add so much (MUCH needed) flavor to the pasta before you even begin to assemble the salad.
Also, you’re going to cook the pasta until al dente….or until it still has a bit of firmness to it. This will ensure that your pasta will hold up in the salad and not become mushy. It will also have a better chance of absorbing the flavors of the dressing. Win, win, win.
How do you make a vinaigrette dressing for Greek Pasta Salad?
A light and fresh vinaigrette dressing is so easy to whip up in about a minute. I like to add all the ingredients to a mason jar with a lid so I can just shake it up and store it in the refrigerator until I’m ready to use it. Vinaigrette generally is made of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar whisked into an emulsion. Herbs, garlic, salt, pepper are sometimes used to add more flavor and often times mustard is used as an emulsifier and to punch it up a bit more. Occasionally, I’ll use lemon juice in addition to vinegar to give it a lighter flavor which is fantastic for summer. I, especially, love THIS Greek Vinaigrette Dressing!
What is in a Greek Salad?
Greek Salad, or Horiatiki Salad, is made of fresh vegetables like chopped tomato, cucumber, bell peppers and onion. Kalamata olives and feta cheese are also thrown in there for their briney, salty flavor (so you can go easy on the salt with this one.) Dressed with olive oil, fresh oregano and lemon, this is one of the best things to make with all that summer produce.
So, I took all my favorite things in a Greek Salad and put them into this Chopped Greek Pasta Salad recipe. Why is it chopped, you ask? Well, because I’ve had my fair share of pasta salad where the veggies were so big I needed a knife to chop up my salad before I could eat it. I like to try and keep my veggie pieces approximately the same size as my pasta….which in this case, I used my favorite Ditalini pasta (I love Delallo’s Ditalini) so my veggies needed to be super small.
This is the BEST Greek Pasta Salad ever. So many bright, fresh flavors dance around in the bowl….it’s always the first side dish to vanish at every gathering. So much better than just your normal Macaroni Salad and just as amazing as this Italian Chopped Pasta Salad recipe.
You can even make this Greek Pasta Salad with Feta in advance so you’re ready to go when the party gets started. In fact, I think this pasta salad recipe is even better when made a day in advance. Try it out….I bet you’ll agree!
Chopped Greek Pasta Salad with Kalamata Olives and Feta
- 1 pound short pasta such as Ditalini
- 2 cups seeded and chopped plum tomatoes approximately 4-5 tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber chopped
- 1 cup chopped orange bell pepper approximately half a bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper approximately half a bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1 1/2 cup Greek Vinaigrette
Bring a large pot of water to a boil seasoned with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente, approximately 7-8 minutes. Drain the pasta and stop the cooking process by rinsing with cold water. Set aside. (To prevent the pasta from sticking together, you can drizzle lightly with olive oil. This step is optional.)
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, onion, feta and olives to the bowl.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine.
Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance and store in the refrigerator, covered.