This vegetarian Summer Veggie Pasta Salad with the best creamy pasta salad dressing is perfect for potluck or bbq parties. Tossed with a creamy yogurt-based feta dressing, this summer side dish will feed a happy crowd. This post includes tips for making the best cold pasta salad!
Brighten up your day with this fresh Summer Veggie Pasta Salad!
❤️Why this recipe works
- What's summer without a pasta salad or two? A cold pasta salad is always popular at a summer party. It's the one you go back to for seconds! This one is chock-a-block full of healthy garden and farmers' market veggies.
- While pasta salads can sometimes be bland, this one has a bold feta dressing that is anything but boring!
- This vegetarian pasta salad is simply the best! This is an easy recipe to which you can add your own twist. Make it your own! Add your favourite garden veggies and herbs (basil is always a good choice.)
But be sure to follow the tips below to make it extra specially delicious!
Once the warm weather arrives, my healthy salad recipes come out in full force!
From melon salads, like my Greek Watermelon Basil Salad and this easy Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Poppyseed Dressing to heartier salads like Italian Potato Salad with Pickled Shallots, every summer meal has a fresh salad.
Ready to make a shopping list for this feta pasta salad?
Choose a regular or gluten-free pasta (there are Iots of fun shapes like bow tie pasta available) and fill up your salad with:
- crisp bell peppers: one of each colour is fun
- zucchini: green or yellow, or both
- broccoli: blanched and shocked (or just cut the florets very small and leave it raw)
- tomatoes: cherry tomatoes
- onions: red or green, or some of each
Then toss it all together with the simplest, creamiest, best pasta salad dressing! This Yogurt-Feta Dressing is made with:
- feta cheese: add half to the dressing and crumble the remaining half on the finished salad.
- Greek yogurt
- olive oil, lemon juice and freshly ground pepper
👍🏼 Tips for making the best pasta salad
- Cut all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces so this salad is easy to serve and easy to eat.
- Salt the pasta cooking water generously. Just for once, disregard all those warnings about too much salt in your diet. I learned this tip from an Italian mama years ago. It really will make a difference to the flavour of your pasta!
- Blanch and shock the broccoli. Place the broccoli florets in boiling water for 2 minutes until they turn bright green and have softened slightly. Then immediately remove them from the hot water and transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel before adding to the salad. (Or if you're short of time, cut the broccoli florets very small and leave them raw.)
- If making this salad ahead of time, toss the veggies and the pasta with the dressing to allow the pasta to soak up the flavours. If you are using gluten-free pasta, it does not hold up as well, so you'll want to toss it just before serving.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving. More salt? A few generous grinds of black pepper? A squeeze of fresh lemon juice?
Yes, absolutely you do. Remember: Rinse for pasta salad, don't rinse for hot pasta with sauce. This article explains why. You want to remove the starchy film for pasta salad, but keep it when you're serving pasta hot, so the sauce clings to the pasta.
Rinsing will stop the cooking and help the pasta retain its shape. A quick 30-second rinse in cold water will help to remove the starch and prevent the pasta from becoming gummy and sticking together.
If you'd like, after rinsing and draining, give the pasta a quick toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil to add flavour and keep the pieces from sticking.
Yes! Pasta salad is often best on the second day, once the dressing has had a chance to blend with the pasta. It will last covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. However, if you've made it with gluten-free pasta, it will not hold up as well. Some brands of gluten-free pasta tend to become mushy the following day.
🔁 Make it your own!
- Vary the dressing. Cold pasta salad is always good with a simple Italian dressing.
- Add your own garden veggies: cucumbers, radishes, blanched and shocked cauliflower florets, tiny asparagus spears.
- Use the herbs you love: try basil or fresh oregano.
- Add cooked sliced spicy Italian sausage.
Looking for more summer salad ideas? Check this collection of over 20 Best Summer Salad Recipes - Ideas for Potlucks.
🗒 More summer salad ideas
When you make this pasta salad, please leave a comment and a star rating below. Thanks in advance! Subscribe to my newsletter and have new recipes delivered straight to your inbox.
Summer Veggie Pasta Salad with Feta Dressing
- 18 oz pasta, gluten-free if necessary.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1 large head broccoli, chopped into small florets (about 4 cups)
- 3 bell peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes
- ¼ med red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
Feta Yogurt Dressing
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 200 grams feta cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a mini food processor or jar, combine 1 cup yogurt with half the feta cheese, olive oil, and pepper. Reserve the remaining feta to crumble on top of the salad.
Summer Veggie Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions. Drain, then rinse in cold water for 30 seconds or until pasta is no longer warm. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- While pasta is cooking, boil water in a large saucepan. Set up an ice bath: a large bowl of water and ice cubes. Cook the broccoli in the boiling water for 2 minutes, or until it has turned bright green and has softened slightly. Remove from heat, drain, then transfer the florets to the ice bath to cool completely. Drain, then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Combine the cooled pasta and prepared vegetables in a large salad bowl. Toss with Yogurt- Feta Dressing, sprinkle with feta cheese and parsley. Serve or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Toss with Yogurt- Feta Dressing, sprinkle with feta cheese and parsley.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving. More salt? A few generous grinds of black pepper? A squeeze of fresh lemon juice? Serve or refrigerate for up to 5 days.