Tomato Feta Pasta Salad

by | Aug 8, 2019 | All, Side Dishes

No summer picnic is complete without a pasta salad. This crowd-pleasing Tomato Feta Pasta Salad is packed with sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and kalamata olives in every spoonful.

Glass bowl filled with pasta, kalamata olives, feta cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

This make-ahead, Tomato Feta Pasta Salad recipe is perfect for summer barbecues. Does anyone else love pasta salads as much as I do? They are really one of the perfect side dishes for summer. Especially when they don’t have mayo in them.

The dressing on this Tomato Feta Pasta Salad is really what gives it an edge. Whirl some capers, garlic, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and red wine vinegar in a food processor, season with salt and pepper and taste how this dressing rocks the pasta.

It’s a major big step up from just an oil and vinegar combo but equally as easy, tangy and full of deliciousness. YUM!

The rest of the recipe is really easy to tailor to your individual tastebuds. My family loves anything with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta cheese, but throw in whatever you love. It’s best when made ahead of time as the ingredients get the opportunity to meld together and bring out the best flavor. I

‘m salivating already. Is it lunchtime yet? 

Tomato Feta Pasta Salad in a white bowl with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil for garnish.

How to make a good pasta salad

All good pasta salads start with pasta that is cooked correctly. Follow these tips to get perfect pasta every time.

  1. Fill a large pot with water. Make sure that you have enough to cover the pasta. This recipe calls for a half pound of pasta so I use 2 quarts of water.
  2. Cover the pot and bring the water to a rolling boil.
  3. Stir in 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
  4. Add pasta and cook to al dente stage. Follow the directions on the package.

Why do I need to salt the water when I cook pasta?

Do you ever wonder why pasta that you eat in a restaurant always tastes better? It has been seasoned properly.

The only time you can season the pasta itself is while it is cooking.  2 teaspoons of kosher salt may seem like a lot, but the pasta only absorbs a fraction of it. 

So be sure you don’t skip this step. Otherwise, you will end up with pasta that doesn’t have any flavor.

What does it mean to cook it to al dente?

Al dente literally means “to the tooth” in Italian. When pasta is cooked al dente, it is easy to bite into but is still firm. Start your timer and cook pasta according to the package al dente directions.

Check it by biting into it, Ii it is still firm but not crunchy it is done! If not, check again after 30 seconds.

Overcooked pasta is gummy and soft and will ruin your pasta salad recipe.

Should I rinse the pasta after it is done?

YES! And you want to do that for 2 reasons.

  1. It stops the cooking process so you don’t end up with overcooked pasta. No one likes a mushy pasta salad.
  2. It rinses off the starchy film that coats the pasta after cooking. Rinsing it will keep the pasta loose, otherwise, it will clump together.

Simply pour the cooked and rinsed pasta into a large bowl and add the dressing and toss to coat. It may seem soupy, but don’t worry! All of that great flavor absorbs into the pasta.

Serving of Tomato Feta Pasta Salad in a low white bowl garnished with fresh basil.

Do you have any pasta salads that make you the star of the party? Share your favorites!  

We love to serve this Tomato Feta Salad at BBQs! Check out our other favorite BBQ side dishes!

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Tomato, Mozzarella and Grilled Corn Salad

Antipasto Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Fruit Salad with Mint

Easy Orzo and Chickpea Salad

Tomato, Feta and Vidalia Onion Salad

Watermelon Feta Salad 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad recipe

Danish Potato Salad 

 

Top down image of Tomato Feta Pasta Salad recipe in a white bowl with fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh basil for garnish.

 

Yield: 8

Tomato Feta Pasta Salad

Tomato Feta Pasta Salad in a white bowl with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil for garnish.

A tangy pasta salad filled with tomatoes, feta and Kalamata olives.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Pasta Salad:

  • 1/2 pound spiral pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 pound grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup basil, julienned

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 3 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

To make the Pasta Salad:

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Drain well and set aside to cool slightly. Place the pasta in a large bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, feta and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

To make the Dressing:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, and pepper and pulse until almost smooth.
  2. Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil and toss well. Stir gently before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1 1/2 cups

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 10g

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Tomato Feta Pasta Salad Recipe: This crowd-pleaser is packed with sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and kalamata olives in every spoonful.

This Tomato Feta Pasta Salad filled with tomatoes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and parmesan cheese is tossed in a tangy caper dressing! It’s always one of the first salads to disappear at a barbecue!

We're the creative juices behind Garnish with Lemon. In the past 8 years, millions of people have sipped & snacked on our recipes. Need easy, delicious party food and drinks for your next shindig? You’ve come to the right place.

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About Lisa

Hi, I’m Lisa! Looking for the party? It’s probably at my house. Nothing brings me more joy than sharing good food with friends and family. That and a seriously good cocktail.

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Hey ladies! I love cold pasta salads. I have one that I make up with sun dried tomatoes, pesto, kalamata olives and shredded chicken. I haven’t posted it yet, but you have now inspired me to make a batch and post it soon, that is when the weather gets warm again. It’s been like winter here, low 60’s and foggy rain drizzle. June is known in Northern California as June gloom. Heading out to MN in August from the 3rd till the 13th. I would love to hook up with you both.
    BTW, how was the blogher conference? Did you learn a ton? xoxo, Jackie

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Yum! I LOVE pasta salads during summer. The heat is already unbearable here in Texas so this dish sounds like a perfect meal! I saw your beautiful picture on CCN FB page and just had to come over ;). I don’t really have a recipe as I just like to dump and mix anything I have in the fridge. I should try writing it down sometime haha.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Pasta salads are my favorite! I love a Greek Salad Pasta salad. I want to try this one–love the capers!

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    This is one of my absolute favorite salads, probably the one I’ve made most over the years. Except I use chunked fresh mozzarella instead of feta. My family loves this as well, it’s a win-win. SO GREAT to meet you girls in Austin!

    Reply
  5. Avatar

    I just made this tonight and it was a hit with my whole family. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Love it when it hits the jackpot with everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    This looks awesome! We love cold pasta salad in the summer. Pinning this to make sure I don’t forget!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      This salad is definitely a keeper…and a crowd pleaser!

      Reply
    • Avatar

      We would eat well together! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Avatar

    This Tomato Feta Pasta Salad yells Summer and all the delicious flavours of the season. Fab recipe am going to try it. Thanks for a great post. Sammie http://www.feastingisfun.com

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Let us know how it turns out! It’s our summer go-to recipe!

      Reply
  8. Avatar

    Over complicated just throw it all in the food processor not sure why you would do both. Don’t want big chunks of sun-dried tomato in there also I wouldn’t use canned olives looks like that’s what was used from the photo.

    Reply

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