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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • Author: Kylie Lato
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean/American

Description

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!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 (15 oz.) can ripe olives, halved
  • 1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut (I prefer the oil packed ones)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • olive oil 
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Dressing:

  • 2/33/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions just until al dente. 
  2. Strain noodles and drizzle with olive oil. Add a large pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat. Pop the pasta in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to cool down while you prep the other ingredients. 
  3. Add cooled pasta, olives, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, kale, sun dried tomatoes, onion and capers to a large bowl.
  4. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, thyme and a large pinch of salt and pepper in a large measuring cup and whisk until well combined. 
  5. Pour half the dressing over salad and toss to coat.
  6. Just before serving, toss salad with the rest of the dressing and enjoy!

Notes

Be sure to cook the pasta just until 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 2/3 cup of olive oil. If you like your dressing more mild – go for 3/4 cup of olive oil instead. I’d suggest starting with the 2/3 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.