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Mediterranean Pasta Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, herbs and feta cheese
Food,  Recipes

An Easy Pasta Salad Recipe to Cool Down Your Next Cookout

This is an easy Pasta Salad recipe and is the perfect side dish for your next get-together – it’s cool, refreshing, and loaded with flavor.

Baby, it’s hot outside! I don’t want the heat in my kitchen so I am focused on grilling out and eating in.

With summer in full swing, there’s nothing better than gathering with friends and family for a cookout. But if the heat is getting to you, don’t worry – this easy pasta salad recipe is the perfect solution. It really is a cool, refreshing side dish that explodes with Mediterranean flavors.

Plus, it’s easy to make so you can spend more time enjoying your party. And making it in advance means you can really enjoy your guests without feeling the heat.

So, fire up the grill (for the rest of your cookout dishes) and give this salad a try – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Is this an Easy Pasta Salad Recipe?

This pasta salad is definitely easy to make – it only takes a few minutes to throw together and it’s a great side dish for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a cookout, potluck, or picnic, this salad will be a hit with your guests. And if you’re looking for an easy way to cool down on a hot summer day, this salad is the perfect solution for a side dish or as the main event.

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe with cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, pasta and feta cheese

What’s in this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe?

This Mediterranean-style pasta salad is loaded with flavor. The base of the salad is pasta, of course, but it also includes fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Plus, it’s tossed in a simple dressing of olive oil and vinegar with fresh, bright herbs.

The result is a salad that’s cool, refreshing, and satisfying. And best of all, it can be made ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about last-minute prep.

This Pasta Salad Recipe’s Best feature is the Dressing!

The dressing for this salad is simple but delicious! You marinate tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil and red-wine vinegar with loads of fresh herbs added for a bright flavor.

Delicious dressing with tomatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar and herbs

This makes it the perfect complement to the fresh vegetables in this dish. The best part about this dressing, and the whole salad, is that it can be made ahead of time.

So, if you’re planning a party or get-together, you can make the dressing in advance and simply toss it with the pasta and vegetables when you’re ready to serve. This salad is also great for leftovers – simply store it in the fridge and enjoy it for a few days after your party.

What are the Ingredients in this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe?

This pasta salad is loaded with fresh tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, and flavorful herbs.

Ingredients for Easy Pasta Salad Recipe
  • 3 medium tomatoes or 2 pints of grape tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 10 ounces Quinoa blend or whole wheat pasta, penne or farfalle size pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs such as oregano, basil, sage, and mint

How do you Make This Mediterranean Pasta Salad Recipe?

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.

While the water heats, chop whole tomatoes or halve the cherry tomatoes. Combine chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Let stand.

Cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs combined in a bowl

Add pasta to boiling water with a heavy palmful (about a tablespoon) of Kosher salt. Cook according to package directions, around 8 – 10 minutes. Drain into a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

While pasta cooks, cut the ends off the cucumber, quarter lengthwise, and cut into ¼-inch pieces horizontally.

Add drained pasta to the tomato mixture, add the cucumber, feta, kalamata olives, and fresh herbs and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir again.

Can I Make this Pasta Salad for a Picnic?

This pasta salad is perfect for a picnic! It’s cool, refreshing, and easy to transport. Just make sure to keep it chilled until you’re ready to eat. Then dish it out and return the container to the cooler. You don’t want this salad to sit out for more than an hour on a hot summer day. Keep the food-borne illnesses at bay by keeping this salad on the cool side with ice or refrigeration.

Is This a Good Pasta Salad Recipe for Parties?

If you’re looking for a dish to take to a potluck or cookout, this is the perfect recipe! It’s always a hit and can be easily doubled or tripled for a large crowd.

What’s the Best Pasta to Use for This Salad?

I like to use penne, rotini or shells for this salad, but you can really use any type of pasta you like. Just make sure to cook it al dente according to the package directions. No one wants a soggy pasta salad!

Do I Have to Use Feta Cheese?

No, you don’t have to use feta cheese if you don’t want this ingredient. If you’re not a fan, you can leave it out or substitute a different type of cheese.

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe with cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, pasta and feta cheese

Another good option for cheese in this easy pasta salad is to use Mozzarella cheese which works really well in this recipe.

Additionally, a 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese will also add wonderful flavor.

How Long Can I Refrigerate Leftover Pasta Salad?

The website “Does It Go Bad” has loads of tips for storing food properly.  The website has posts that recommend storing leftover pasta salad in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 – 4 days. It’s best eaten in that time as the tomatoes, cucumber, and feta will start to break down and get mushy.

DoesItGoBad.com also states, “salads with oil-based dressing retain quality better than those dairy- or mayo-based ones.” Another good reason to make this particular pasta salad!

Keep in mind that if your salad includes any ingredient that loses quality faster, the flavor will deteriorate even sooner.

I absolutely do not recommend freezing leftover pasta salad.

What Other Food Ideas for a Cookout Should I Make?

A great main dish to enjoy with this pasta salad recipe at your cookout is this recipe for BBQ Chicken Sliders. You actually make it in the slow cooker which really helps keep the heat down in the kitchen.

Also, coleslaw is the perfect side dish for any barbeque. But don’t make the usual, so-so-tasting, glorpy mayo coleslaw! Make this great recipe for Grilled Coleslaw with Dressing and really impress your guests with something unusual and tasty from your grill.

Finish your cookout with a cool and light dessert. Ice cream, homemade is best, or a no-bake, big batch yummy dessert like this No-Bake Cheesecake with Berries.

Invite Friends Over for a Cookout this Weekend!

Bursting with the bold, fresh flavors of the Mediterranean, this pasta salad is sure to be a hit at your next cookout! It’s packed with healthy ingredients and can be easily customized to suit your taste.

Serve it as a side dish at your cookout. Or add a couple of cans of chickpeas for a great vegetarian main dish with healthy protein any night of the week.

Cheers Y’all!

P.S. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! If you give it a try, be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below. Also, share this to your favorite social media. Happy chopping! 🙂

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe on a platter

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Lone Star Gatherings
This is an easy pasta salad recipe and is the perfect side dish for your next get-together – it's cool, refreshing, and loaded with flavor.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 8
Calories 212 kcal

Equipment

  • 4 Quart saucepan

Ingredients
  

  • 3 medium tomatoes or 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 10 ounces Quinoa blend or whole wheat pasta penne or farfalle size pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs such as oregano basil, sage and mint

Instructions
 

  • Bring water to a boil in a large pot.
  • While water heats, chop whole tomatoes or halve the cherry tomatoes. Combine chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, red-wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Let stand.
  • Add pasta to boiling water with a heavy palmful (about a tablespoon) of Kosher salt. Cook according to package directions, around 8 – 10 minutes. Drain into a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
  • While pasta cooks, cut the ends off the cucumber, quarter lengthwise and cut into ¼ inch pieces horizontally.
  • Add drained pasta to the tomato mixture, add the cucumber, feta, kalamata olives, and fresh herbs and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir again. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes

Can be made one day ahead. If you make two days ahead leave out the feta and herbs. Toss these into the pasta mixture when ready to serve.
You can add chickpeas or grilled chicken cooked with sumac or za’atar for protein to make a stand alone entrée.
Keyword cookout, summer

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