Greek Pasta Salad ~ Loaded with Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Pasta and Topped with a Creamy Yogurt Dressing! It’s Perfect for Summer!
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In the movie As Good As It Gets Jack Nicholson said it best: “Good times, noodle salad”. The words ring true because the two really do go hand in hand, don’t they? A big bowl of pasta salad shared at a potluck, BBQ, picnic, pool party, or any other get-together involving friends, fun, and sunshine is a wonderful thing. I mean, the happiness is mixed right in.
It’s always the first thing I dive into at any gathering, piling it high on my plate without a care that I should take only my fair share. My fair share just happens to be a lot more than conventional wisdom would advise. I just can’t help myself and so it was with that in mind that I am sharing a Greek pasta salad with you all that feeds a crowd. There’s always someone like me in the group that gets greedy with the pasta salad so this recipe makes enough for the pasta salad hoarder and everyone else.
But, before we dive into ingredients, let’s cover two important pasta-salad-making best practices:
Almost eight years ago I learned an important tip from the Food Network: after boiling the pasta, drain it well, drizzle it with olive oil and spread it out on a sheet pan. Stick it in the refrigerator to chill. This keeps the dressing from breaking down once you mix it with the pasta. Mixing dressing with cold pasta keeps everything creamy instead of runny. Runny is not good.
Prep all the ingredients ahead of time, but keep them separate until it’s time to serve. Dice the veggies, mix the dressing, chill the pasta and once it’s go time mix them up and serve. Not only does this keep everything fresh, but it gives the dressing time to develop its flavor.
This Greek pasta salad has a yogurt-based dressing (along with some mayo for richness) with fresh dill, parsley, chives, and a squeeze of lemon. Crisp red bell pepper and cucumber are mixed in along with plenty of crumbled feta cheese. It’s creamy, light, and guaranteed to disappear at your next back-yard get-together.
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (see note)
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large cucumber, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain it well, toss it with the olive oil, and spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet. Chill the pasta in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.
Mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, parsley, chives and salt in a medium bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator to all the flavors to develop.
When ready to serve, mix the pasta, dressing, cucumber, bell pepper, and feta cheese together in a large bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
If the salad will be held at room temperature or outside for a long time substitute the mayonnaise with the same amount of Greek yogurt.
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