Healthy Mediterranean Pasta Salad—ideal for a crowd and also right at home on a meal plan for quick weekday lunches. This healthy pasta salad is savory and satisfying thanks to bold ingredients like sun dried tomatoes, olives, and goat cheese. Use bean or lentil pasta to keep this salad healthy and free of refined grains!
This pasta salad is:
What's in mediterranean pasta salad?
I’ll run through what I put in my Mediterranean pasta salad, but like all good pasta salads, this one can easily be modified to suit your preferences and your pantry. Check out the ingredient substitutions later in this article for ideas on how you can make this salad different every time.
Here’s what’s in this mediterranean pasta salad:
- oregano vinaigrette
- bean pasta or lentil pasta
- green olives
- sun dried tomatoes
- spinach or arugula
- goat cheese
I love the combination of sweet, tangy and briny ingredients in this healthy pasta salad. The balance of flavors make it satisfying enough to be an all-in-one meal.
How do you make Mediterranean pasta salad?
There are four simple steps to making a pasta salad.
- Cook the pasta
- Make the vinaigrette
- Chop the ingredients
- Toss it all together(and give it a little taste)!
Pasta salad is one of the easiest things to prepare, but there are a few tricks that’ll make the process quicker and more efficient. Here’s how to make this pasta salad as efficiently as possible.
Before you even get started prepping your ingredients, fill a large pot with water and get it on the stove over high heat.
While you wait for the water to come to a boil, make the vinaigrette in a very large bowl. It's important to make the vinaigrette first, and to make it in a large bowl. For one, it decreases the amount of dishes you use, and two, it makes tossing everything together much easier.
Generously season the boiling water with salt, drop the pasta in, give it a stir, and cook according to package directions.
While the pasta cooks, prep the rest of the salad ingredients.
Drain the pasta and immediately transfer to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Give the pasta a quick toss in the vinaigrette (the hot pasta will absorb some of the flavorful vinaigrette).
Then add in the chickpeas, shallots, olives and sun dried tomatoes and give it all a toss. Add the spinach and basil and toss again.
Finally, sprinkle cheese over top and give it a quick stir. Don't forget to give it a taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed!
How long does pasta salad last?
Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, this pasta salad will last up to five days.
I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
Variations on this Mediterranean pasta salad:
- Add some protein:
- chicken or chicken sausage
- marinated tofu
- diced salami
- canned tuna or salmon
- Add canned artichoke hearts
- Instead of sun dried tomatoes, add fresh cherry tomatoes
- Instead of olives, add capers
- Swap out the rotini for a smaller grain pasta like orzo
- Use feta instead of goat cheese
- Instead of basil, use parsley
- Use thinly sliced red onion instead of shallot
- Add diced cucumber
What makes this pasta salad healthy?
Here at ZK I define healthy (or healthy-ish) cooking as using whole-grains, lots of veggies, fish, lean meat, and healthy fats as often as I can.
For this salad I chose to keep it vegetarian with the option to leave out the cheese and keep it vegan.
I also opted for a heart-healthy homemade vinaigrette made with extra-virgin olive oil.
And instead of using regular refined pasta, I call for a bean-based pasta, but whole-wheat or whole-grain gluten-free pasta would also be great.
From there I toss in a ton of spinach (or arugula), chickpeas, and sun dried tomatoes. All that’s left is to finish the salad with some ingredients that’ll bring bold flavor to the party—basil and olives, because every pasta salad needs something fresh and something briny!
What to serve this pasta salad with…
- Crispy Pan-Seared Salmon
- Vegan BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches
- Easy Salmon Patties
- Healthy Chicken Meatballs
- Juicy Turkey Burgers
Crowd-pleasing salads you may also like…
- Curried Carrot Salad
- Miso Za’atar Potato Salad
- Healthy French Potato Salad
- Kale & Cherry Salad with Brie
- Smoke Trout Salad
Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or tag #zestfulkitchen on social media if you make a recipe!
Don’t forget, if you make this healthy pasta salad, leave a comment and rating below!
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Savory and bold in flavor, this Healthy Mediterranean Pasta Salad is made with bean or whole-wheat pasta, an oregano vinaigrette, fresh veggies and briny olives. Perfect as a side dish, lunch, or all-in-one meal!
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 ½ teaspoons dried)
- 2 teaspoon Dijon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces bean or lentil pasta, such as Banza rotini, or whole-wheat pasta of choice
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup sliced green olives
- ½ cup thinly sliced shallot
- ½ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 4 cups chopped spinach or arugula
- ½ cup chopped basil
- 2 ounces crumbles fresh goat cheese
Cook pasta until al dente, about 1 minutes less than listed on package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, Dijon, honey, and pepper flakes.
Drain pasta and add to bowl with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Add chickpeas, olives, shallot, and sun dried tomatoes; and mix to combine. Add spinach and basil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle goat cheese over top and stir just until combined.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
If making ahead (or if you have leftovers), store pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored this way, pasta salad will last up to 5 days.
Keywords: healthy pasta salad, mediterranean pasta salad, pasta salad