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 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.
If you like this Greek Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette, you’ll love this Mediterranean Chickpea and Orzo Salad, this 20-Minute Creamy Lemony Vegetable Pasta Salad, and this Tzatziki Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad.
Printable recipe below!
Greek Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
For the Herb Vinaigrette:
For the Pasta Salad:
- 8 oz. pasta I used trottole
- 15 oz. canned cannellini beans drained and rinsed (white kidney beans)
- 8 oz. fresh tomatoes chopped into rougly 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cucumber quartered, seeds removed, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces
- 1/2 cup red onion diced
- 2 cups baby arugula packed
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives roughly chopped
- 4 oz. feta cheese chopped or crumbled
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients for dressing to a mason jar or bowl and shake or whisk thoroughly, Set aside.
- Place chopped tomatoes on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and blot as dry as you can.
- 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.
- In a large bowl, mix together cooled pasta and arugula mixture, drained and rinsed cannellini beans, patted dry tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, diced red onion (1/2 cup), olives (1/4 cup), and crumbled feta cheese (4 oz.) with remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
- Make it vegan: omit the feta cheese (or use a vegan alternative) and use maple syrup, sugar, or agave in place of the honey in the vinaigrette.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.