This Greek Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette is the PERFECT healthy Mediterranean meal or side dish. It uses only half the amount of pasta than usual since it’s packed full of other nutritious ingredients- like white beans, tons of baby arugula, and fresh veggies. It makes a super refreshing vegetarian meal or side during warm weather, and would be great for a potluck or picnic since it can be made in advance.
Nothing says “Greek Salad” more than cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and red onions. And all of those bad boys are in here, along with two cups of wilted baby arugula, white beans, and pasta, all of which absorb the flavors in the herb vinaigrette.
THE HERB VINAIGRETTE! We need to talk about this for a minute. It’s made from fresh mint, fresh oregano, and fresh parsley, combined with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of honey, salt, and pepper. It’s easy to shake together quickly in a mason jar and use on this- and other- salad recipes. The honey cuts down on some of the acidity of the vinegar, which I always find a little bit too jarring in Greek salads. Don’t worry- if you don’t have fresh herbs you can easily substitute them with dry.
As with any pasta salad, it’s important that the pasta be cool when you mix everything together since if it’s too hot, it will absorb too much of the dressing and everything will dry out too much.
This can be a bit tricky, as pasta tends to stick together while it cools. To prevent this, toss the hot drained pasta with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. And while you’re there, toss the arugula in with the pasta- the heat from it will wilt the arugula down, so you don’t have to worry about steaming it separately.
My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time. In fact, the flavors marry together the longer it sits, so making it a day or two in advance might be well worth your while. And it makes GREAT leftovers. Plus, it’s inexpensive to make, especially if you are growing fresh herbs yourself, and takes only about 30 minutes total.
One word of caution: it’s important that the ingredients are as dry as possible before mixing together, so the Greek pasta salad doesn’t get watered down as it sits. The tomatoes can be particularly watery, so I chopped them, set them in a mesh sieve over a bowl, and sprinkled them with salt to draw the liquid out. I let them sit there while I prepped everything else, then patted them dry with a paper towel. I also scooped the seeds out of the cucumbers, which is where most of the water is stored.
Printable recipe below!
|Greek Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette|| |
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 8 oz. pasta, preferably whole wheat (I used trottole)
- 1 can white kidney (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 oz. fresh tomatoes, chopped into rougly ½ inch pieces
- 1 cucumber, seeds removed, quartered and sliced into ½ inch thick pieces
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 2 cups packed baby arugula
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 4 oz. feta cheese, chopped or crumbled
- salt and pepper
- Add all ingredients for dressing to a mason jar or bowl and shake or whisk thoroughly, Set aside.
- Place chopped tomatoes in a mesh sieve and set sieve over a small bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and set aside for the liquid to drain from the tomatoes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Mix with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
- Add arugula to the hot pasta and stir. Cover and allow arugula to wilt (about 5 minutes). Uncover and allow pasta to cool for another 5 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, pat tomatoes with a paper towel to remove even more liquid from them.
- Mix together cooled pasta and arugula mixture, beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, and feta cheese with remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.