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Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

    This quick and simple pasta salad recipe can be put together in less than thirty minutes! It is guaranteed to be a hit at your barbecue because it is doused in a tangy vinaigrette and packed with vegetables.

    Today’s meal is a picnic-perfect spaghetti salad! A delicious pasta salad is an essential component of any successful barbecue, and this is the one that I plan to make repeatedly over the course of the summer. It takes very little time to put together, is loaded with a variety of fresh ingredients, and provides a tasty punch.

    I have gone to great lengths to ensure that not only are all of this week’s recipes simple but that they are also simple to prepare in advance… because I completely understand why you would prefer not to fuss with your salad when you could be enjoying time with your friends outside in the fresh air.

    Note: If you do opt to make this ahead of time, before serving throw some whole basil leaves on top of the salad. This will make the salad look much more presentable.

    Pasta Salad Ingredients

    Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

    Although though I’ve created a lot of different kinds of pasta salads in the past (for example how to Make Pasta Salad, see here and here), I recently discovered that my website was missing a really wonderful classic pasta salad that was dressed with vinaigrette. Together with the pasta, I toss in juicy cherry tomatoes, tangy feta cheese, a hefty handful of arugula, chickpeas for protein, pine nuts and small cucumbers for crunch, and lots of fresh parsley and basil. This recipe is both simple and refreshing.

    It is simple to prepare the dressing, which consists of a zesty mixture of olive oil, lemon, garlic, Dijon mustard, herbs, and seasonings. My personal preference is to use herbes de Provence, but Italian seasoning would work just as well in its stead.

    How to Make Pasta Salad

    Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

    The preparation of this dish is a breeze! Simply proceed in the following straightforward steps:

    • Prepare your pasta by boiling a large pot of salted water in which it will be cooked. It should then be drained, tossed with a little olive oil, and placed away to cool.
    • Prepare your salad by dicing your cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, chopping your parsley, and crumbling your feta.
    • Mix the ingredients for the dressing together with a whisk.
    • Now combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl! To taste, season it, and then dive in.

    Best Pasta Salad Tips

    Cook your pasta a little longer than normal. Make sure that your pasta is cooked for a little bit longer than usual. It should be slightly past al dente (but not mushy), as this will allow the pasta to maintain its soft texture once it has cooled. In my experience, the higher time range that is specified on the directions for the box is typically adequate for preparing spaghetti salad.

    Let your pasta cool completely before tossing it with the other ingredients. When combining the pasta with the other components, make sure you give it enough time to thoroughly cool down. If it’s still warm, the hot pasta will begin to cook, and the vegetables will wilt as a result. While heated cucumber is not to anyone’s liking, it is imperative that you incorporate cold pasta into this recipe.

    Save some herbs for garnish! Hold on to some of the herbs for the garnish! This recipe for pasta salad is an excellent one for making ahead of time; however, if you do want to make it ahead of time, be sure to set aside some of the herbs and pine nuts for decoration. The pine nuts will maintain their distinctively crunchy texture, and the herbs will be noticeably more flavorful, beautiful, and fresh.

    Taste and adjust. As is the case with the vast majority of salad recipes, this one is extremely adaptable; thus, before serving, you should give it a taste and alter it so that it suits your preferences. If you want your salad to have more of a tangy flavor, add more lemon juice. If you want more vegetables in your salad, add more greens. And remember to salt it to taste.

    Easy Pasta Salad Recipe Variations

    Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

    The original version of this pasta salad is delicious, but feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your preferences or use whatever you have on hand in the pantry. Listed below are some ideas to consider:

    Make it vegan! You can use olives or sun-dried tomatoes for the feta in this dish.

    Make it gluten-free! Instead of using regular noodles, try using gluten-free pasta or quinoa.

    Go Greek. The addition of kalamata or black olives and a half cup of thinly sliced red onion will transform this recipe into more of a traditional Greek pasta salad.

    Try another herb. This salad would be much more delicious with fresh oregano instead of mint, and the addition of thyme would be a welcome touch as well.

    Swap out the arugula If you prefer a higher ratio of pasta to vegetables in your dish, you can substitute the arugula for spinach or omit it completely.

    You could also roast your chickpeas to give them a crunchier texture.


    • 3 cups uncooked fusilli pasta
    • 2 heaping cups of halved cherry tomatoes
    • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 2 cups arugula
    • 1 cup Persian cucumbers, sliced into thin half moons
    • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
    • ½ cup minced parsley
    • ½ cup chopped mint
    • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts


    • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, or dried Italian seasoning
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • ¾ teaspoon sea salt


    • Start the cooking process by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. To cook the pasta, follow the instructions on the package and cook it until it is barely past the al dente stage.
    • Prepare the dressing in the meantime. Olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, herbes de Provence, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt should all be combined in a small bowl and whisked together. (It is important to note that the dressing will have a robust flavor, but it will become more subdued when it has coated all of the pasta salad ingredients.)
    • The pasta should be drained, then tossed with a little olive oil (to prevent it from sticking together), and then let to cool to room temperature. Place in a large bowl together with the pine nuts, tomatoes, chickpeas, arugula, cucumbers, feta cheese, basil, parsley, and mint. Pour the dressing over the salad, then toss to combine. Serve immediately after seasoning to taste with additional lemon juice, salt, pepper, and/or a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
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