Greek Pasta Salad and a Summer Picnic

By Sally Cameron on May 14, 2012

Gluten-Free, Pasta, Salads and Dressings, Side Dishes, the daniel plan, Vegetarian

The fresh air off the Pacific Ocean cleared not only our lungs but our heads. Camped on a grassy hill above a sandy beach, glass of wine in hand, we relaxed and watched the waves roll in. That was Friday evening as we joined friends for a picnic dinner. I packed this healthy Greek pasta salad to share.

greek pasta salad | afoodcentriclife.com

Friends invited us to join them in their new Friday evening ritual – a picnic dinner overlooking the ocean. They go to this jewel of a park not far from home and watch the sunset. What a perfect way to get out of the house, let the craziness of the week fade away, and let the weekend begin.

Greek Pasta Salad

Filled with sweet grape tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, Greek Kalamata pitted olives, artichoke hearts, feta cheese and a lemon-oregano vinaigrette, this pasta salad is flavor-packed and healthy. To dress the salad, I make a light, lemony vinaigrette with fresh oregano and mint. Pasta note. For gluten-free pasta I buy Jovial. It’s my favorite.

The Picnic Plan

  • Transport
    • I packed the salad in 4 individual containers with tight fitting lids. That way each person had their own portion ready to enjoy and the containers fit easily into my picnic basket.
    • Pack extra vinaigrette in a smaller container.
  • Menu Notes
    • For a more substantial dinner, I packed skewers of grilled shrimp, grilling them at home just before we left, wrapped them in aluminum foil, then plastic wrap to transport. Grilled chicken would be another great option.
    • To start your picnic, make homemade hummus. My recipe has lemon and cumin for lots of flavor. It’s easy to make in a food processor. Serve with raw assorted veggies. Again, easy to pack.
    • For dessert, I packed fresh strawberries and a little dark chocolate to nibble on. Only toothpicks and fingers are required.
    • Be sure to pack water.
  • Extras
    • Pack plenty of napkins, recyclable or reusable utensils and cups
    • folding beach chairs or a blanket to sit on
    • A jacket if it’s going to get cool
    • Something to carry trash home
    • Maybe a flashlight if you are staying until dark.

Whether you are picnicking in your back yard, at a park or at the beach, this Greek Pasta Salad is good to have in your recipe arsenal for summer fun-filled summer opportunities to get outside and enjoy.

Greek Pasta Salad

This Greek pasta salad is filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and a lemon-oregano vinaigrette. It packs easy for a picnic at the park or beach. Team it with grilled chicken breast or grilled shrimp for a more substantial meal. For people with wheat allergies, use a gluten-free pasta such as a corn-quinoa blend or other g-free pasta.
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Greek, greek salad, pasta salad, Picnic
Servings 4
Calories 449kcal

Ingredients

Lemony Vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint
  • salt and pepper to taste

Greek Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces gluten-free pasta macaroni, fusilli or penne
  • 3-4 small Persian cucumbers quartered and diced
  • 18 grape tomatoes halved
  • 4-6 ounces Greek feta cheese cubed small ro crumbled
  • 20 pitted Greek Kalamata olives halved
  • 1 15-ounce can small artichoke hearts packed in water drained and halved
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives optional

Instructions

  • First make the vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and add additional lemon juice or oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add a tablespoon of salt, then add the pasta. Cook according to package directions.  Drain and toss with a little vinaigrette. When the pasta is cool, add the cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, olives, artichoke hearts and chives (if using). Toss with another tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette. Chill until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 664mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 933IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 2mg
8 Comments
  1. Madonna - May 14th, 2012

    What a delicious idea. I love greek salads. I have some whole wheat, but I will have to try the corn-quinoa pasta. Love the links and resources.

  2. susan - May 18th, 2012

    I love this salad “to-go”, Sally. So fresh, so simple and easy! With summer around the corner, I am putting this one in the vault!! xx

  3. pacific - May 20th, 2012

    One of the best composed pictures I’ve ever seen in a food blog. Great recipe and thank you for the information on Oxo containers. I live in Southern California also but to the north. Where is this park in OC where you can go camping? Our beaches do not allow any fire or camping at night.

  4. Sally - May 20th, 2012

    Hi, glad you liked the photo. Not overnight camping, “just camped” out for about 5 hours. Salt Creek beach and park in Laguna Niguel. Near the Ritz Carlton. Jewel of a place!

  5. Val @ Tips on Healthy Living - May 21st, 2012

    It’s definitely getting to be picnic weather! This is a nice, simple, fresh idea and easy to pack. I love the addition of artichokes too!

  6. Suzanne - July 11th, 2012

    Can you make this pasta salad the day before? thanks it sounds great!

  7. Sally - July 11th, 2012

    Hi Suzanne. Yes, making it ahead should work fine. You might want to hold off on adding the dressing until the day of serving, maybe an hour or so before. Another option, do all of the prep work and ahead (the vegetables, dressing) including cooking the pasta, the toss all together an hour or so before serving and dress. Please let everyone know how it comes out. Its a tasty salad!

  8. Linda - December 17th, 2012

    I LOVE Greek salad and I love pasta Greek salad too. Thanks.

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