A light and fresh pasta salad with lemon herb vinaigrette is the perfect pasta salad to make this summer.
Pasta salad has always been one of my favourite dishes. I didn’t grow up with the mayonnaise-heavy versions you often see at weekend barbecues, the kind my mom has always made has a delicious and tangy herbed dressing. I took inspiration from my mom’s pasta salad to create this lemony herb version.
Most pasta salads hold up pretty well in the fridge for a few days, but because this recipe uses spinach, I find that it’s best within the first two of days, otherwise the spinach will begin to get a little soggy. Another option would be to leave the spinach out until just before serving, that way you completely avoid the potentially soggy spinach situation.
The vinaigrette is super simple, a combination of garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, dried oregano, dried basil and olive oil. Of course there’s salt and pepper in there too, but that’s a given.
It’s so easy to go overboard with the mix-ins for pasta salad, but for this recipe I wanted to keep it relatively simple, bell peppers are a given. I love the crunch they add here.
The first time I tested this recipe, I left out the red onion, but I found without the red onion, the pasta salad was missing a bit of zing. I’m a huge fan of olives, so I used some incredibly savoury and delicious Kalamata olives in here, but you could leave them out if you’re not a fan.
Feta and red onion makes up the rest of our cast of characters. And of course, pasta! I love penne in pasta salad because that’s what I grew up with, but I think bowtie pasta would be super cute here as well.
If you’re heading to any summer potlucks this year, this would be the perfect dish. It’s vegetarian, easy and a crowd pleaser. My Mediterranean pasta salad recipe is also a winner, if you want something a little different.
With this being our first long weekend and the ‘unofficial’ kickoff of summer, I feel like this is the perfect recipe to get you ready for summer cooking. Simple, fresh and flavourful, just the way I like it.
Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
For Lemon Herb Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
For pasta salad:
- 1/2 lb penne pasta, 225g
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 small bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- Cook pasta according to package directions. In a small bowl or mason jar, combine all ingredients for lemon herb vinaigrette. Once pasta is cooked, drain and toss warm pasta with dressing to avoid it clumping together. Allow pasta to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled, dressed pasta with spinach, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, feta, olives and red onion.
Let me know if you give this pasta salad with lemon herb vinaigrette a try in the comments below.