Last Updated on April 14, 2021 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD
I adore a good Greek Pasta Salad on a warm night when I can eat outside in the evening sun. It’s a crowd-pleasing side dish to a BBQ and leftovers double as a yummy weekday lunch.
MY version is easy, healthy and packed with vegetables. In fact I almost called this recipe Salad Pasta instead of Pasta Salad. It’s really a salad with pasta playing the role of crouton more than the star.
The creamy 2-ingredient Creamy Feta dressing tosses up right in the same bowl as the salad. Simple and delicious!
The Ingredient Lineup
My Greek pasta salad recipe is truly adaptable to whatever veggies you have on hand. I love the crunch of celery, although it isn’t typical of a Greek salad, it is fresh and summery and holds up well in an advance-made dish. I also used capers, which add the funky, briny flavour similar to olives. I like them because they’re tiny and pop and are more evenly distributed than olives would be.
Fresh basil really makes this salad sing. Its herbal flavour is so gorgeous with the burst of sweet corn and salty feta. Maybe we should call this Greek-ish. Whatever it is, it’s delicious.
These are the ingredients I used:
- Cold penne (any small-ish shaped pasta will do) cooked in well-salted water (so important to make that cooking water as salty as the sea or you’ll have a bland pasta salad!)
- Frozen corn
- Minced red onion
- Chopped bell peppers
- Fresh basil (or swap in parsley)
- Capers (or black olives)
- Tomatoes (or half and half with cucumbers)
- Crumbled feta
How to Make This Healthy, Veggie-Loaded Greek Pasta Salad
Start off prepping any pasta salad recipe by cooking the pasta. While it’s boiling, take your biggest bowl (you want ample room for tossing the salad without ingredients flying out) and add all the chopped veggies. Season them with salt to ensure you have a layered, well-seasoned salad.
When the pasta is tender but still has a nice chew (follow the instructions on your box), I put the frozen corn in a big colander and drain the pasta overtop. The hot, salted water will thaw the corn instantly. Then I run cold water over top to cool it all down. Drain it super well or the excess water will dilute the dressing and prevent it from sticking well.
Then, toss as much pasta into the veggies as I need to fill out the salad without overwhelming it. I want to really let the veggies shine. If you have any pasta leftover, pop it in a freezer bag and freeze it for another salad (it thaws instantly in a colander under hot, running water).
When making this greek pasta salad in advance, I like to start with the sturdy vegetables – celery, corn, carrot, bell peppers etc. I hold off on adding the tomatoes (and/or cucumbers) until just before serving (or leave them out completely if I want to have leftovers – the salad keeps really well for a couple of days without them).
Add the mayo and feta and toss. They blend together to make a delicious creamy feta dressing for the salad. Top the salad with more basil and more feta, if desired, and serve.
Healthy Greek Pasta Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing
- ¼ lb uncooked pasta (100 g)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 stalk celery thinly sliced
- ½ cup grated, peeled carrot
- 2 cups coarsely chopped bell peppers
- 2 cups halved baby tomatoes (or coarsely chopped tomatoes)
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil (really pack it in)
- ¼ cup capers (or a handful of olives)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water. When it's al-dente, add the frozen corn to a big colander and pour the hot pasta and its water right overtop to drain and thaw the corn. Rinse with cold water until cool.
- Meanwhile, toss the vegetables, basil and capers with salt in a large bowl. Add the pasta and corn, plus most of the feta (reserving a bit), mayo and pepper. Toss to combine. Top the salad with more feta, if desired, and serve.