Rigatoni Pasta Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.

Our Greek Rigatoni Pasta Salad features rigatoni pasta, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and red onions tossed in a homemade Greek dressing. In about 30 minutes, you’ll have this tasty side dish on the table!

Close up view of pasta salad with greek dressing.

You can’t go wrong with a great salad! Even simple ones, like our tomato avocado salad. Which, by the way, you have to try; it’s so tasty.

But, why not add pasta to the mix like we do in our rigatoni pasta salad with Greek dressing?

The name says it all. A delicious Mediterranean-style pasta salad tossed in a homemade red vinaigrette. 

It’s full of all of the best flavors. Perfectly cooked rigatoni, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, purple onions, crumbled feta cheese, and a flavorful homemade dressing!

Did we mention this pasta salad is perfect for all your summer parties, picnics, BBQs, and poolside get-togethers? 

If you’re looking for a creamy pasta salad, you’ll love this macaroni salad or our dill pickle pasta salad!

Ingredients You’ll Need for Greek Pasta Salad:

Dressing Ingredients:

  • Red Wine Vinegar: Red wine vinegar is one of the main ingredients. It gives the dressing its tart flavor.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You’ll want to use a light-tasting olive oil that won’t override the taste of the vinegar.
  • Garlic: You’ll need 2 small to medium-sized finely minced garlic cloves. Substitute with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of garlic powder if fresh isn’t available.
  • Seasonings: We use 3 simple ingredients as seasonings in the dressing. You’ll need 1 teaspoon each of salt and dried oregano and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper or adjust to your own tastes.
  • Lemon: We use the zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Ingredients needed for greek salad dressing.

Pasta Salad Ingredients:

  • Rigatoni: Small rigatoni noodles are our favorite for this pasta salad. Any variety of short pasta works well like regular rigatoni, penne, ziti, rotini, and cavatappi.
  • Tomatoes: Either cherry or grape tomatoes work. They’re not too watery and are a great size for this pasta salad. Half or quarter them based on your preference.
  • Olives: We love pitted and halved kalamata olives in this dish. However, you have options. Try using green olives, black olives, or a combination of olives if kalamatas aren’t available.
  • Onions: Purple or red onion add the right amount of flavor without being overly strong. If you’d prefer a different type of onion, such as white, sweet, or Vidalia, use one of those instead.
  • Cheese: Crumbled feta cheese is our favorite for this side dish. It’s salty and light and pairs well with the different flavors. Other cheese options that work well are parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese pearls.
Rigatoni pasta salad ingredients.

How to Make Greek Rigatoni Pasta Salad:

Scroll to the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredient amounts! 

This easy pasta salad recipe is one of our favorite summer recipes. It’s light, quick, and full of great flavors!

To Make the Greek Dressing:

  1. Place all the dressing ingredients into a mason jar or sealable container, and shake well to combine.
  2. Taste and adjust any vinegar, oil, or seasonings. Set aside.
Greek dressing in a jar.

To Make the Pasta Salad:

  1. Cook the rigatoni noodles according to the package instructions. Drain then rinse with cold water and drain again.
  2. Make sure the noodles are fairly dry then transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Add the olives, tomatoes, onions, and cheese and stir to combine.
  3. Pour on the dressing, and give everything one more good stir. Transfer the pasta salad to a serving bowl and enjoy!
Cheese, olives, onions, and tomatoes on top of rigatoni noodles.

Rigatoni Pasta Salad Tips:

  • Cook the pasta to al dente: Cook the pasta noodles according to package directions, but make sure to slightly undercook them. This will prevent them from becoming mushy when combined with the other ingredients.
  • Rinse and cool the pasta: Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Cooling the pasta quickly helps maintain its texture and prevents it from sticking together.
  • Choose the right pasta: Opt for short pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or fusilli. They hold the dressing and other ingredients well.
  • Let it marinate: After tossing the pasta salad with the vinaigrette, allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste.
  • Add fresh herbs: Just before serving, sprinkle chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or dill over the salad. They add a burst of freshness and brighten up the dish.

Storage Options:

Refrigerator: Store leftover rigatoni pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Freezer: Freezing is not recommended.

Close up view of rigatoni pasta salad in a dish.

Can you make the rigatoni pasta salad in advance?

Yes, absolutely! You can prepare the pasta salad ahead of time, ranging from a few hours to one day in advance.

It’s best to keep the salad dressing separate from the salad components because the pasta tends to absorb a lot of the dressing.

If you do dress the pasta salad, make extra dressing for serving.

Can you use store-bought Greek dressing for the salad?

Sure! If you’d prefer not to make homemade Greek dressing, use your favorite store-bought variety instead.

Can you add protein to the pasta salad, such as chicken or shrimp?

Yes, you can add protein such as rotisserie chicken, steak, fish, or leftover cooked shrimp to this pasta salad. 

It makes this recipe more nutritious and filling, and provides an additional flavor boost.

Plus, adding protein takes this pasta salad from a side dish to an entree.

Side view of pasta salad with tomatoes and olives in a bowl.

Can you add additional vegetables or ingredients to the rigatoni pasta salad?

Yes, you can add additional vegetables or ingredients to this dish.

Popular additions include tomatoes, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, artichoke hearts, capers, cucumbers, mushrooms, and zucchini. 

Other options are roasted red peppers, kale, or a couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves for a greener version of the dish.

You can also top it off with chopped walnuts or pine nuts for an added crunch!

Can you add dressing to Greek rigatoni pasta salad ahead of time, or should you dress it just before serving?

Yes, you can add dressing to the pasta salad ahead of time if it’s going to be served within an hour or two.

Additionally, make sure to prepare some extra dressing for serving in case some of it has been absorbed by the pasta.

Like This Recipe?

We’d love it if you would leave a 5 Star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Top down view of a round serving dish filled with fresh greek pasta salad.

Rigatoni Pasta Salad

5 from 13 votes
Print Pin
Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • cup red wine vinegar, adjust to taste
  • cup extra virgin olive oil, adjust to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Pasta Salad

  • 12 ounces rigatoni, uncooked; or other short pasta
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta
  • 2 ounces purple onion, thinly sliced

Instructions
 

To Make the Greek Dressing:

  • Place all the dressing ingredients into a mason jar or sealable container, and shake well to combine.
    ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
    ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 garlic cloves
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 lemon
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Taste and adjust any vinegar, oil, or seasonings. Set aside.

To Make the Pasta Salad:

  • Cook the rigatoni noodles according to the package instructions. Drain then rinse with cold water and rinse again.
    12 ounces rigatoni
  • Make sure the noodles are well drained and fairly dry then transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives, cheese, and onions and stir to combine.
    8 ounces kalamata olives
    1 pint grape tomatoes
    2 ounces purple onion
    6 ounces crumbled feta
  • Pour on the dressing, and give everything one more good stir. Transfer the pasta salad to a serving bowl and enjoy!
  • Scroll up and see the post for tips, storage recommendations, and FAQs.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 655mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 468IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of ½ cup of pasta salad. Actual calories will vary.
 
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
 
*This recipe makes approximately 12 cups of pasta salad.
 
Get Our Dip Recipes Ebook!More details here ➡️ FREE EBOOK!

20 Comments

  1. Love easy pasta salads like this, especially during the summer! So yummy. Can’t wait to try this one out!

  2. This Greek Pasta Salad looks so yummy! Perfect for summer barbecues and great for parties. Simple and perfectly seasoned!

    1. Thank you, Heather! Simple is what I like, start using huge ingredient lists when trying to show someone a new recipe and see how quickly they lose interest lol! Have a great day πŸ™‚

  3. With the addition of extra protein this would be a great one pot meal, loving all the flavors in this pasta sald

    1. Thank you, Michelle! Sounds great, a little chicken or steak would be a great addition to the recipe. πŸ™‚

  4. I love greek anything!! And it’s spring going into summer and pasta salad is PERFECT for this time of year! Love the encouragement of using different vegetables!

    1. Thank you, Amanda! One of the great things about cooking is that you can make substitutions that appeal to your tastes. So, in my opinion, go crazy lol!

  5. I think Pasta Salad is always a winner in summer. Everyone loves a light refreshing and still fulfilling dish like a salad with pasta. I always choose to take pasta salad when I have to bring something for a BBQ Party.

    1. Thank you, Venna! We also enjoy a great pasta salad and usually bring one to get-togethers. Thank you again for commenting, have a great weekend πŸ™‚

  6. I love olives – the more recipes that use them, the better! This looks so great for summer picnics.

    1. Thank you, Analida! Us too, we always enjoy great Greek food. I would love to give homemade gyros a try, but I haven’t gotten around to making them yet. πŸ™‚

  7. I would eat this delicious Greek pasta salad all by itself as a meal. It’s so loaded with vegetables and feta goodness I wouldn’t need anything else with it.

    1. Thank you, Sharon! It’s one of my favorite recipes. I hope you decide to make it some time. πŸ™‚

  8. When I make this delicious Greek pasta salad for hubby, he is going to do cartwheels in happiness and I’ll be cartwheeling right beside him too! It looks so delicious and full of flavor!!

    1. Thank you, Elaine! It’s one of my favorite recipes to make for Kim and the family. I hope you and your husband enjoy the pasta salad πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating