This delicious Mediterranean pasta salad feeds a crowd! It's got loads of fresh veggies and bright ingredients. It's a flavorful vegetarian main course or side salad for a BBQ.
This recipe is easy to make too! It will take a few minutes to boil the pasta and chop the bell peppers and tomatoes, but it's ready in about 20 to 25 minutes.
Why You'll Love this Pasta Salad Recipe
This recipe combines so many fresh veggies and herbs for a refreshing and bright pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors.
One of the best parts of this dish is the pop of saltiness you'll get from the olives - they really balance the flavor.
The feta and chunky pasta shape make it a comforting and substantial dish as well. It's hearty enough that you can make it lunch or dinner. I typically make it as a side salad for a party and save a serving or two to eat as leftovers the next day.
Ingredients You'll Need
Pasta - You'll need 1 pound (16 ounces) of Orecchiette pasta or another chunky pasta shape like fusilli, rigatoni, or penne.
Tomatoes - You'll need 2 fresh tomatoes. I used heirloom tomatoes that I was able to get from our local farmstand. Roma tomatoes are usually easiest to dice, so they would also work well in this recipe.
Bell Peppers - You'll need 3 bell peppers. It's nice if you can have a mix of red, yellow, and orange. Did you know that all bell peppers start out green and as they ripen they change colors to yellow, then orange, then red? The longer they ripen the more they change color and the sweeter they become!
Olives - You'll need 1 cup of pitted kalamata olives for this recipe. Getting the olives pitted will save you a ton of time! It's much harder to slice olives with pits.
Feta - You'll need 6 ounces of crumbly feta cheese for this recipe. If you can only find it in a block, that's fine too! Feta is super easy to crumble.
Fresh Herbs - I recommend ¼ cup of chopped fresh basil and a ¼ cup of chopped fresh mint. Parsley would also work in this recipe and it would also be nice with fresh oregano!
Seasonings - To finish this dish, you'll need ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper.
A Note on Rinsing Pasta
I know some people consider it sacrilegious to rinse their pasta after cooking it. A recipe like this is the only instance I'll rinse pasta after its boiled, for two reasons:
- Rinsing the pasta slows it from cooking further. I love an al dente pasta in my pasta salads. If it sits in a colander or in its pot after it's been drained it will still keep cooking because it's hot. If all your veggies aren't chopped up, you run the risk of having mushy pasta.
- I like serving this salad cold. I prefer a colder pasta salad (personal preference). This dish is good either way, but I'd prefer the pasta not be hot when I add it to the veggies and cheese.
More Mediterranean Recipes to Try
If you love Mediterranean flavors with olive oil, fresh veggies, and plenty of herbs, try some of our other favorite recipes.
- Mediterranean Chicken Salad - a fresh green salad with shredded chicken and lots of veggies.
- Mediterranean Summer Salad - a herbacious tomato salad that's very refreshing.
- Tabouli Recipe (Tabbouleh Salad) - this authentic tabouli salad recipe is made with bulgur, parsley, and Roma tomatoes.
- Chickpea Salad with Cucumber - an easy lunch recipe with chopped cucumbers, onions, and chickpeas.
- Mediterranean Tuna Salad - a delicious chopped salad with fresh veggies and canned tuna.
Tips for Making this Recipe
Cooking Tips - Make sure to salt your pasta water heavily and feel free to rinse it after it boils (read my note above about why I sometimes rinse pasta for pasta salads).
Servings Tips - Salads like this are often taken to picnics or served at potlucks and tend to sit out for a bit. As a general rule, I do not save any food that has sat out for longer than 4 hours. Because this dish has dairy, this is especially true. If you want to save some for leftovers, portion out the amount and put it in the fridge before you serve this dish.
Storing Tips - This recipe will save in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Diet/Allergy Alternatives - If you'd like this recipe to be dairy-free or vegan, just leave out the feta cheese and add an extra sprinkle of sea salt.
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- 1 pound orecchiette pasta (or other chunky pasta shapes)
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 6 ounces crumbly feta cheese
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in very salty water. Drain and set aside.
- Combine the diced tomatoes, bell peppers, arugula, feta, olives, basil, and mint in a large bowl. Add the pasta and stir to combine.
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle it over the pasta and stir to combine.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 759mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 10g