Simple, fresh and perfectly punchy – enjoy this Lemon & Cucumber Pasta Salad as a refreshing main or light side during the warm, summer months! Simply boil the pasta, mix the zesty lemon-mint vinaigrette and toss everything together until combined. Make it vegan by using your favorite dairy free cheese in place of the feta, or enjoy as is for a delicious gluten free, vegetarian dish!
Crunchy cucumbers, salty olives, creamy feta and tender macaroni tossed in a bright and minty lemon vinaigrette. This Greek Lemon & Cucumber Pasta Salad is a great Low-Cook meal that’s fresh, vibrant and above all – delicious! It’s perfect in warm weather!
Lemon & Cucumber Pasta Salad
The full ingredient list breaks down into two main parts:
- The minty-lemon vinaigrette – a simple dressing made with lemon, fresh herbs and oil.
- The cucumber pasta salad – chopped veggies and cheese mixed with gluten free pasta.
Mix the simple homemade dressing in minutes with only a handful of fresh ingredients!
- Olive Oil
- When it comes to salads, dips, or anything that isn’t heated up, a good extra-virgin olive oil ideal as you’ll retain all the health benefits along with the flavor.
- Lemon Juice + Lemon Zest
- Make sure to zest the lemons before juicing. Depending on the size you’ll need about 1-2 lemons.
- Add 1-2 garlic cloves depending on your preference and size of the cloves.
- Chop up a handful of fresh mint leaves for the vinaigrette. Dried mint won’t have the same freshness, but in a pinch you can use 1 teaspoon dried mint instead.
- Salt & Pepper
- A good pinch of sea salt to taste and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper go along way in boosting up the overall flavor.
Pasta Salad Ingredients
This Cucumber Pasta Salad recipe is made up of a few simple, easy to prep ingredients:
- I think the small macaroni pieces are an ideal size to mix and match the other salad ingredients. That being said, feel free to use another type of pasta in place of the macaroni. Rotini, fusilli and penne pasta are all great options.
- You’ve got a couple of options here: Persian/English cucumbers (seedless) or regular cucumbers. Seedless cucumber/Persian cucumbers just need dicing up. Cucumbers with seeds just need a little extra attention as you need to scoop out the watery insides before dicing them up. If the watery seeds are left inside, the extra water/moisture with leak into the salad making it soggy too fast.
- Kalamata olives are usually a popular choice in Greek cuisine, but use whatever you have available. I’ve also made this salad with green olives. Black olives will also work.
- Feta Cheese
As written, this is a very easy recipe with simple ingredients. While this recipe certainly doesn’t need anything else, you can absolutely spruce this salad up by adding a few addition bits here and there.
Here are a few ideas to create an even more veggie packed, filling pasta salad:
- Red Bell Pepper – cut out the seeds and dice it up into small pieces to add a bit more crunch.
- Fresh Tomatoes – small varieties like cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are great choices but you can dice up a large tomato as well
- Fresh dill – cucumber and dill is a popular flavor pairing for good reason!
- Dijon Mustard – I originally planned on adding dijon to the vinaigrette, but in the end I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. It’s a great way to add an extra punch of flavor.
- Vinegar – replace 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
Serve & Store
Serve immediately or leave for a couple of hours before serving. The longer it’s left the more the flavors have time to meld and develop.
Enjoy as a cool, crunchy, refreshing main or side in with something like this Greek Marinated Chicken in hot weather. Prep in advance for easy lunches throughout the week or bring to share at your next summer BBQ.
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container up to fours days.
- 8 oz (225g) dried gluten free macaroni
- 2 cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded scooped out and sliced
- 1 cup (135g) pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
- 6 oz (170g) feta, crumbled or cubed
- 6 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup (10 g) fresh mint, chopped
- salt and pepper
- Boil pasta: Fill large pot of salted water (about 2/3 of the way full). Bring to a boil then carefully add the uncooked pasta. Follow package directions to cook until al dente. Pasta should be springy & chewy, not mushy.
- Drain water: Pour into a colander to drain the pasta water. Run under a stream of cold water to cool it down. Drain thoroughly.
- Make vinaigrette: In a small cup or jar combine the olive oil, lemon zest, juice, garlic, chopped mint, salt and pepper. Whisk well. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Mix pasta salad: Add the cooked pasta to a large bowl along with the remaining ingredients: diced cucumber, olives, feta and herbs. Toss together to combine.
- Add vinaigrette: Pour the vinaigrette over the top. Toss again until everything is well coated and combined.
- Season and enjoy: Taste and season as you see fit. Add more lemon zest, fresh herbs, salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy as is or cover and refrigerate a couple of hours. The longer it's leftover the more the flavours intensify.
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
- Feel free to sub out the macaroni for another pasta shape of your choice - rotini and penne work well here too.
- Gluten free pasta has a tendency to clump together as it boils so make sure to stir the pot every so often.