The secret to a delicious, mayo-free pasta salad is a good amount of tang. This Greek pasta salad understands this all too well, with a bright lemony dressing, briny olives and capers, and punchy-meets-creamy feta cheese.

close up of a greek pasta salad in a serving bowl.
Photo Credits: Mariam Hamdy

Greek pasta salad keeps it simple in the best way, playing with tried-and-true Mediterranean flavors for a vegetarian side dish that’s both light and comforting. It's essentially Greek salad with pasta added, does it get any better?! And, just like my shrimp or Italian pasta salad, this beauty is a fuss-free delight: the pasta soaks up the flavor as it chills, getting even tastier with age. 

Plus, this pasta salad recipe shares the unique talent of any good pasta salad: it tastes delicious any which way you serve it. Warm, cold, room temperature, day-old, or brand new–you really can’t go wrong!  

Springy bowtie pasta is studded with fresh cucumber, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes for pops of flavor and texture. Shallot adds sweet, oniony goodness, and parsley brings freshness. A classic homemade Greek salad dressing with garlic and dried oregano weaves everything together in a wholly delicious, perfectly simple, and just-bold-enough way. It’s a great example of how you don’t always have to try hard to make a wow-worthy dish.

Though this Greek pasta salad recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes, it’s best when the pasta is given some time to relax and soak it all in. Give it at least 30 minutes to chill in your fridge. Then, wrap it up for your next picnic, or serve alongside simple grilled chicken, pork or lamb for a classic summer treat. 

Table of Contents
  1. Greek Pasta Salad Ingredients 
  2. How to Make Greek Pasta Salad
  3. Ways to Mix it Up
  4. What to Serve with Greek Pasta Salad
  5. Perfect your Picnic with These Recipes
  6. Greek Pasta Salad (No Mayo!) Recipe
ingredients for greek pasta salad including parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, capers, feta, red onion, olive oil, pepper, oregano, bell pepper, salt, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and farfalle pasta.

Greek Pasta Salad Ingredients 

This Greek pasta salad combines pantry staples and easy-to-source produce for a fresh, light, and effortless vegetarian side dish.

  • Pasta: Farfalle (bowtie) pasta is a classic shape for pasta salad for good reason. The short pieces match the size of the vegetables and tomatoes, making for a perfect, easy to grab bite. And, the ridges capture all the delicious dressing. If you need to substitute, chose a similar short pasta like rotini or penne. 
  • Cucumber: Invest in the smaller, thinner cucumber varieties like English or Persian if you can. They tend to be much more flavorful than the large American slicing cucumber, with sweeter, more delicate skin. If the big cucumbers are all that’s available, make sure you peel off the waxy skin and scoop out the seeds. 
  • Bell pepper: I like grassy green bell peppers for this pasta salad recipe, as the cherry tomatoes bring plenty of sweetness on their own. If you prefer a sweeter variety, like yellow or red, feel free to substitute them. 
  • Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes add bursts of bright, sweet, fresh summery flavor. Grape tomatoes or even a ripe but firm chopped heirloom tomato would also work well.
  • Flavor makers: Capers and Kalamata olives bring the brine, shallots add a mild oniony sweetness, and flat leaf (Italian) parsley adds freshness. If you don’t have shallot, a small red onion or a couple of green onions also work well. 
  • Feta: Feta cheese really pulls its weight flavor-wise, adding a tangy, creamy, salty punch to this otherwise rather delicate pasta salad. Grab a high quality sheep's milk feta packed in brine, as the pre-crumbled stuff tends to be rubbery. If you’re avoiding dairy, feel free to leave it off. 
  • Dressing: The bright dressing is made of my usual suspects. You really can’t go wrong with fresh lemon, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil, particularly with a full-flavored oil like our Greek Koroneiki.
a close up of a bite of greek pasta salad on a wooden serving spoon lifted over an entire greek pasta salad in a serving bowl.

How to Make Greek Pasta Salad

This pasta salad can be served immediately, but like with most Mediterranean mezze it tastes best when you give the ingredients time to get to know each other. Allow at least 30 minutes to chill in your refrigerator if you can. 

  • Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add a healthy pinch of salt and 8 ounces of farfalle (bowtie). Cook according to package instructions (about 8 minutes). Drain and set aside to cool. 
  • Make the dressing: In a large bowl, add the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Season with 1 teaspoon of oregano and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in about ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil. greek salad dressing in a bowl.
  • Add the fruits and veggies: To the bowl with the dressing, add the cooked pasta. Add ½ of a diced cucumber, 1 diced bell pepper, and 10 ounces of halved cherry tomatoes. Add in 1-2 chopped shallots, 1 cup of chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons of capers, and ½ cup of pitted Kalamata olives. Toss to coat, then add ⅓ cup of crumbled feta and very gently toss to combine. farfalle pasta, diced cucumber, chopped bell pepper, kalamata olives, chopped red onion, chopped parsley, halved cherry tomatoes and capers in a bowl, prior to mixing.
  • Chill: For best flavor, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours. Just before serving,  give the salad a final toss and serve cold or at room temperature. 

Ways to Mix it Up

Like just about every pasta salad recipe this Greek pasta salad is made to be versatile. The world-famous workhorse of a dressing goes well with just about any seasonal vegetable you may have on hand. (Greek salad dressing for the win!) Take full advantage of what looks the prettiest at your market. Here are some more ways you can make this Greek pasta salad your own: 

  • Up the herbs. The more herbs the better when it comes to no-mayo pasta salad! Fresh marjoram, dill, and/or mint would keep the Greek flavor while bringing some extra intrigue. 
  • Add fried or preserved lemon. Crispy Fried Lemons or punchy Preserved Lemons would add cheffy flair, texture, flavor, and more in-your-face tang. 
  • Add meat. Up the protein with sliced grilled chicken, pork or lamb
  • Add more antipasti. Play with turning this antipasto platter into a pasta salad. Add roasted red peppers, jarred marinated artichoke hearts, mozzarella cheese, or chopped cured meats. 
  • Make it vegan. This pasta salad is easily a filling vegan recipe. Simply omit the feta and you're good to go!
a greek pasta salad in a serving bowl next to a bowl of chopped parsley, a bowl of kalamata olives, and a bowl of crumbled feta cheese.

What to Serve with Greek Pasta Salad

This Greek pasta salad recipe is like having a very reliable plus-one. You know: that person you can bring to any party and suddenly they’re everyone’s new best friend? We all need a great plus-one, just like we all need a great pasta salad recipe! 

In other words, this easy side dish plays well with others. Grilled meats like Pork souvlaki and lamb kabobs are an easy match. Swordfish or salmon would be delightful. Or, dial up the vegetables with a hearty vegetarian salad like cucumber radish salad.

Perfect your Picnic with These Recipes

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5 from 31 votes

Greek Pasta Salad (No Mayo!)

Suzy Karadsheh
a greek pasta salad in a serving bowl next to a bowl of chopped parsley, a bowl of kalamata olives, and a bowl of crumbled feta cheese.
This mayo-free pasta salad is packed with bold Greek flavor and fresh herbs and vegetables. Plus, it gets better with age! Allow yourself at least 30 minutes of time to let the pasta soak up all the delicious flavor. From there, wrap up this Greek pasta salad for a picnic, or serve as a vegetarian main or a side dish alongside grilled meat.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 8 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total – 48 minutes
Cuisine:
Greek
Serves – 4
Course:
Entree or Side Dish, Sides/Salad

Ingredients
  

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 8 ounces farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • ½ English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 to 2 shallots, chopped (or ⅓ to ½ cup chopped red onion)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • cup feta cheese, crumbled, more or less to your liking

For the Greek Salad Dressing:

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta: Boil the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions (about 8 minutes). Drain and set aside briefly to cool just a bit.
  • Make the dressing: In a large bowl, mix the lemon juice and zest, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, and a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine, and while whisking, drizzle in about ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • Add the veggies: To the bowl with the dressing, add the pasta, cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, shallots, parsley, capers, and Kalamata olives. Toss to coat, then add the feta and toss again very gently.
  • Chill: For best flavor, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours before serving. Give the salad a final toss and serve cold or at room temperature.

Video

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 315.2kcalCarbohydrates: 54.6gProtein: 11.7gFat: 6.6gSaturated Fat: 2.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.7gCholesterol: 11.1mgSodium: 539.7mgPotassium: 559.6mgFiber: 5.4gSugar: 6.1gVitamin A: 1899IUVitamin C: 76.6mgCalcium: 141.6mgIron: 3.1mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just made this today. It is delicious!! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and your recipes! Thanks so much!

    Deborah

  2. 5 stars
    I have been eating this for lunch all week - perfect for a hot summer meal. I used chickpea rotini because I needed to use the box I bought. The dressing held up nicely on the salad-just a good stir and you're good to go! I used a lot of oregano from my garden that I had dried-so flavorful!!

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent! Great for lunch, side dish or pot luck dinner party. Just the right amount of pasta/vegetables/dressing.

  4. 5 stars
    The perfect answer to dinner in this sweltering summer in the south. Bright, tangy, fresh and filling! Was so happy to use veggies & herbs from garden - even threw in a ripe jalapeno.

  5. 5 stars
    This is such a perfect summer meal! I tried it out this week and it's definitely going to be one of my go-tos this summer. Very light and refreshing, but still filling.

  6. 5 stars
    Lovely and colorful! It's wonderful to have this for a meal especially during the hot and humid Mississippi summer!

  7. 5 stars
    Loved the Greek pasta salad. I through in a can of garbanzo beans and laughed because I now realize it's not in the recipe!! Oh well, extra protein

  8. 5 stars
    I tried using your email link for this recipe and many other of your recipes so I could try some of the ones that sound delicious for my family and me. When I go to my email the links don't work. You can't click on them. The links in the email would normally come out blue once sent to myself from your envelope on your page but it now is black and doesn't connect to your recipe. I think something is not functioning with the link or the little envelope on all your recipe pages.

  9. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic salad. I would not make any changes. It would be great with shredded chicken for a full meal.

  10. 5 stars
    Love love this Greek pasta salad. It so fresh and tasty. Easy to make. Great for B.B.Q’s, and on its own. Love it!

  11. 5 stars
    This pasta salad is amazing! I doubled the dressing and used it as a marinade for shrimp then added the grilled shrimp to the pasta. Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I’d give 10 stars if I could.

  12. 5 stars
    I love all things Mediterranean, and this pasta salad will be perfect for getting together with my family this Sunday.
    Thank you, Suzy for sharing your beautiful recipes ~ and your lovely Mediterranean culture! My ancestry is from Portugal so following you brings it all home for me!