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.
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?
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.
- 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.
- Cover the pot and bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Stir in 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- 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.
- It stops the cooking process so you don’t end up with overcooked pasta. No one likes a mushy pasta salad.
- 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.
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!
- 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
- 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
To make the Pasta Salad:
- 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:
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, and pepper and pulse until almost smooth.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil and toss well. Stir gently before serving.
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
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!