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Perfect for meal prep or a backyard barbecue, this 20-minute Mediterranean pasta salad is loaded with all your favorite Greek-inspired ingredients including a fresh lemony, balsamic vinaigrette!
You'll Love This
- It's the perfect pasta salad all year round! This salad utilizes high quality canned and jarred ingredients so it's easy to throw together in the dead of winter but also a welcomed side dish at any backyard barbecue during the hot, balmy summer time!
- The flavors in this Mediterranean pasta salad are so YUM. This pasta salad is basically my all time favorite combination of foods. Salty, briny capers, olives and artichoke hearts combine with the tangy sun dried tomatoes, fresh kale and mild mozzarella in a big bowl of pasta - does it get any better than that? Yeah, no. It does not!
- It's perfect for meal prep. I like to throw together a batch of this Mediterranean pasta salad on Sunday night and then enjoy it for lunch all week! That way I know I have a healthy, hearty lunch ready at a moment's notice without spending any extra time in the kitchen during the week.
Pour half the dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Just before serving, toss salad with the rest of the dressing and enjoy!
- Be sure to cook the pasta just until it's al dente. The pasta will continue to soak up the dressing as it sits. So in order to avoid a mushy mess, leave your pasta with a little toothsome bite.
- If you're in a pinch, you can rinse the cooked pasta under cold water to cool it down more quickly. This is a hotly contested topic, but I'll tell you I've tried it both ways with all my pasta salad recipes and the flavor and texture are still delish regardless of whether the pasta is rinsed after cooking. I usually like to toss my pasta in olive oil, salt and pepper and then pop it in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to cool down. But I realize not everyone has that kind of time. So feel free to give it a quick rinse under cold water if you're in a hurry!
- Opt for oil packed sun dried tomatoes as they seem to have more flavor. I have tried a few different brands of the sun dried tomatoes that just come dry in a bag. NO BUENO in my personal opinion. The oil packed sun dried tomatoes are really the way to go. They sometimes come with herbs added to the oil (which I love) and I just find that they have more flavor and a better texture than their dry counterparts.
- I like a really tangy, acidic dressing for this Mediterranean pasta salad so I usually opt for just ⅔ cup of olive oil. If you like your dressing more mild - go for ¾ cup of olive oil instead. I'd suggest starting with the ⅔ cup of oil and see how it tastes to you. Then add more oil (perhaps a tablespoon or so at a time) until the dressing tastes just the way you like it.
- Add just about half of the dressing at first and toss to coat. Then just before serving the salad, toss it with the rest of the dressing. This will keep the flavors fresh and prevent anything from getting soggy. In case you can't tell - soggy food is my arch nemesis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use another kind of pasta in place of the penne?
- Of course! Any short cut of pasta will work great for this pasta salad. Fussili, cavatappi, elbow macaroni, bow ties, rigatoni or even small shells would be delish in this salad!
Can I sub fresh tomatoes for the sun dried?
- You bet! I LOVE LOVE LOVE sun dried tomatoes, but I get that there not everyone's jam. Fresh tomatoes will be super tasty in this recipe too!
Can I buy a bottle of lemon juice instead of squeezing fresh juice?
- If you're in a pinch, it will work. But I strongly recommend squeezing a fresh lemon! It takes just seconds to slice the lemon in half and squeeze out all the juice. And the flavor of fresh squeezed lemon juice is SO MUCH better than the bottled stuff!
Can I make this Mediterranean pasta salad ahead of time?
- Yes! And please do! I like to make this about a day or so in advance so that the dressing can really soak into the noodles and let the flavors develop. Just add half the dressing initially and then add the remaining half just before serving so the flavors are fresh and bright!
Is it easy to double or triple this Mediterranean pasta salad recipe?
- Yes! If you're feeding a crowd this is the perfect recipe for you! It can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a large group. And the recipe card even includes a button to automatically double or triple the ingredients, making it easy peasy!