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Easy Mediterranean Pasta Salad

posted June 28, 2022
by Cassandra Morris
The BEST Pasta Salad is super easy to make, full of fresh, delicious Mediterranean flavor and comes together in under 30 minutes! It is always the star at parties, potlucks, or as a zesty side dish with dinner.

Growing up, I was surrounded by loads of Mediterranean food influences. I had a family full of amazing cooks and I was always served the best dishes from scratch, and now that I’m older, I realize that I was incredibly lucky to have had someone cook for me. 

In Mediterranean cooking, we use a lot of flavorful plant-based foods like legumes, grains, and herbs. But, we also love our sauces and dressings. 

People tend to think of Mediterranean food like Italian, but it actually is a melting pot of European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African cuisines.

This Mediterranean pasta salad is healthy, appetizing, and most importantly, easy to put together. It contains everything a balanced meal should have. 

Fresh vegetables? Check! 

Carbs? Check! 

Good fats? Check! 

Seasoning and out-of-this-world flavors? Check! 

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what this colorful salad goodness is made of. I like to prepare each of the recipe ingredients according to their color groups (there are shades of yellow, bright reds, and muted greens).   

  • Rotini pasta – Also called spiral pasta. These types are my favorite and are commonly used because they are known for holding onto dressings well.
  • Feta cheese – A popular Mediterranean cheese option because of its strong briny flavor. Crumble and sprinkle over the salad as a garnish. 
  • Canned Romano beans – Other names include cranberry bean, Roman bean, and borlotti bean. There is another type of romano bean which is an Italian flat, green bean, but don’t be fooled they are not the same! 
  • Artichoke hearts – I am using a jar of artichoke hearts, which are always stocked in grocery stores.
  • Cherry tomatoes – The more the better!
  • Red onions – Fragrant and a little spicy, their flavor takes this pasta salad to the next level! 
  • Zucchini – I like to use zucchini over cucumber because cucumber has higher water content and may turn the salad soggy. 
  • Green olives – No Mediterranean pasta salad recipe is complete without some green manzanilla olives. They taste plump, briny, and slightly bitter. 
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley – Rinse and finely chop parsley to mix in.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad Ingredients | cookingwithcassandra.com

This Mediterranean pasta salad recipe comes together with a vinegary, light dressing. To make the dressing, you will need: 

  • Extra virgin olive oil – The healthiest type of olive oil. 
  • White wine vinegar – This vinegar is made with white wine, so it is slightly alcoholic. It is not the same as white vinegar. 
  • Lemon juice – A little bit of citrus and acidity keeps the salad tart. 
  • Garlic – Small garlic cloves, minced and mixed into the dressing. 
  • Seasoning – Sprinkles of fresh basil, oregano, black pepper, and salt, to taste. 
Mediterranean Pasta Salad Seasoning | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step-by-Step Instructions

This salad is SO simple to prepare. That said, the most time-consuming part of making this dish is preparing all the vegetables. 

Step One: Halve the cherry tomatoes, chop the artichoke hearts, and slice the zucchini, olives, and red onion. Mince the garlic. Rinse and drain the Romano beans. Chop the parsley, as well as the feta cheese. 

Chopped artichoke hearts | cookingwithcassandra.com
Thinly sliced zucchini | cookingwithcassandra.com
Chopped red onions | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step Two: Boil water sprinkled with salt. Add the rotini pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions, or until al dente. Drain and rinse well under cold water. 

  • Pro Tip: Don’t cook pasta more than al dente or the pasta will become super soggy once it absorbs some dressing. Boil it just right to al dente, or even 30 seconds shy.
Pasta in a pot | cookingwithcassandra.com
Cooked pasta for salad | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step Three: Transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon of olive oil so that it doesn’t stick together. Set it aside to cool.

Cooked pasta | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step Four: Then, make the dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients until well blended. Season to taste with black pepper. 

Homemade dressing for Mediterranean pasta salad | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step Five: Assemble the pasta salad, putting together the cooked pasta with all of the vegetables. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and then toss all of the ingredients together.  

  • Pro tip: Start with a little bit of dressing and add more if necessary. The last thing you want is a soggy salad with way too much dressing!
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Zucchini | cookingwithcassandra.com
Mediterranean Pasta Salad Dressing | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step Six: Finally, sprinkle the salad with crumbled feta cheese. Toss again lightly and serve. Bon appetit! 

Mediterranean Pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese | cookingwithcassandra.com

Expert Tips & Tricks

Follow these pro tips to make the best Mediterranean pasta salad.  

  • Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces: This allows for uniformity of size, and you can get some of each vegetable in every bite. 
  • Allow some time for the salad to marinate: After combining the dressing and salad, give it some time to marinate before digging in. The veggies and pasta will absorb all that flavor from the dressing! 
  • Chill the salad before serving: This salad can also serve as a cold and refreshing salad during the hot summer months. Set in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Storage Instructions 

This salad can be made in advance, which is great news for busy people! It stays fresh in the fridge, covered with saran wrap for 3 to 5 days. I actually think it tastes best the day AFTER you make it.

The next time you’re feeling like having some Mediterranean food, skip the restaurant and come back to this easy pasta salad recipe. 

Mediterranean Pasta salad with cherry tomatoes | cookingwithcassandra.com

For more veggie-loaded dishes, check out these links below: 

Pasta salad with cherry tomatoes | cookingwithcassandra.com

Mediterranean Pasta Salad Recipe

The BEST Pasta Salad is super easy to make, full of fresh, delicious Mediterranean flavor and comes together in under 30 minutes! It is always the star at parties, potlucks, or as a zesty side dish with dinner.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

PASTA SALAD

  • 1 pound (approx 450 grams) uncooked rotini pasta cooked al dente
  • 3 heaping cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 19 fluid oz can romano or cannellini Beans
  • 1 14 ounce jar artichoke hearts drained and roughly chopped into small, bite-sized pieces (excluding the hard chunks)
  • 1 ¼ cups zucchini sliced into thin rounds then into quarters (approx 1 zucchini)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced manzanilla olives (green olives)
  • 1 ¼ cups red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups feta cheese crumbled
  • ¾ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley finely chopped

LEMON-HERB VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Prepare and chop all of the ingredients: Start by placing the sliced onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad (this keeps their flavor but removes the harsh onion bite).
  • Now chop the cherry tomatoes, drain and rinse beans, chop artichokes, zucchini, olives, Italian parsley and feta cheese.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, or until al dente.
  • Drain and rinse well under cold water.
  • Transfer cooked pasta to a bowl, mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil (so that it doesn’t stick together) and set aside to cool down to room temperature.
  • Make the dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients until well blended. Season to taste with pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to use. Whisk together again right before pouring over the salad.
  • Add to the bowl of pasta- cherry tomatoes, Romano beans, artichokes, zucchini, red onion, olives and parsley.
  • Remove vinaigrette from the refrigerator and whisk again before adding to the salad. Start by drizzling some vinaigrette all over the salad and toss gently to combine. Always remember the golden rule: You can always add more! Start with a little bit of dressing/ vinaigrette and add more if necessary. You don't want a soggy salad!
  • Add feta cheese then toss all ingredients together! For the best results, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving.
Cassandra | Cooking With Cassandra

Hi, I’m Cassandra!

I’m a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin’ Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

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Cassandra | Cooking With Cassandra

Hi, I'm Cassandra!

I'm a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin' Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up for free recipes straight to your inbox:

Free E-Cookbook!

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Subscribe & receive my favourite 10 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes in an easy e-cookbook format!

Jujeh kabab - Eating | cookingwithcassandra.com

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