I’m not a magic 8 ball that can predict when life will get back to normal. In fact, I highly doubt life is ever going to get back to normal after enduring a pandemic. But I do know that gathering outside is an acceptable (and safe) form of social distancing, according to the CDC, which means summer picnics are on. And that means you’re going to need some delicious recipes to make for those outdoor picnics—like this Greek pasta salad recipe.
I’m telling you right now, 2020 is going to be the summer of the pasta salad. When you work in food media, you want to be constantly informed about all the different food trends happening, and I promise you, pasta salad is the new hit thing. Everyone is going to be talking about it.
So, why not stay ahead of the trend and make this Greek pasta salad for your socially distant picnic? It’s really tasty, surprisingly refreshing, and doesn’t require any meat. Which means you don’t have to worry about shelling out lots of money on chicken or anything because of this meat shortage.
My only advice? Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. When I make this Greek pasta salad, I’ll make it in the morning and put it in the fridge for a few hours before lunch. An hour should be fine, but two hours really is best.
The ingredients you’ll need for Greek pasta salad.
With the homemade dressing, this Greek pasta salad requires 10 ingredients. If you have a bottle of pre-made Greek vinaigrette, then with that you’re only going to need 7 ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need.
- 1 box of short pasta—I like using bow-ties, but you could use penne or fusilli if that’s what you have.
- 2 cups of grape tomatoes, cut in halves.
- 2 cups of diced English seedless cucumber.
- 1 cup of diced red onion—I usually estimate about 1/2 a red onion.
- 1/2 cup of pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup of feta cheese—usually a full 4 oz. container.
- Greek vinaigrette—if you have a bottle of it, use about 1/2 cup! If not, I’ll teach you how to make your own.
How to make homemade Greek vinaigrette.
These Greek vinaigrette recipe will make just enough for your pasta salad. However, if you want more of it to have on hand (for salads and such), you can double the recipe and keep a bottle of it. I like to store my homemade vinaigrettes in these salad dressing jars.
Now Greek vinaigrette is a combination of 2 parts of olive oil and 1 part red wine vinegar. Plus some sprinkled in oregano, garlic, and salt. To keep things simple (and to keep this Greek pasta salad recipe under 10 ingredients), I used garlic salt to combine the two. So here’s how to make it:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Shake it up and pour it over your pasta salad! And if you want more, double the recipe and save some for later.
Other foods to bring to your picnic.
This cold Greek pasta salad is a refreshing lunch, but it can also be served as a side. If you’re looking for more easy food ideas to bring to your picnic, here are some that I suggest that are best served cold.
- Prosciutto Cucumber Bites
- Italian Bruschetta (toast the bread and cool before heading out)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chicken Salad (make sandwiches or lettuce wraps)
- Lemon Arugula Salad
- Apple Kale Salad
- Guacamole (bring some chips or fresh cut veggies!)
- Sparkling Peach Sangria (load up a few mason jars!)
- or Heavenly Lemonade (bring the ingredients with you to pour)
And of course, Greek pasta salad! Here’s the recipe to save for later, or you can click that print button so you have the recipe on hand.
Greek Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad
- 1 16 oz. box bow-tie pasta or any other short pasta
- 2 cups diced English cucumber
- 1 cup diced red onion about 1/2 an onion
- 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1/2 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
For the Greek vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the bow-tie pasta and cook for 10 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, prep your cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion, and kalamata olives.
- Drain in a colander and run cold water over the pasta to cool it off.
- Add the cooled pasta, cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta cheese to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and garlic salt.
- Pour in the greek vinaigrette and stir the pasta salad so the dressing is fully incorporated.
- Place the pasta salad in the fridge and cool for at least one hour.
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