How to make Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto

Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto, a dish that merges the rustic charm of the Italian countryside with the sophisticated burst of flavor synonymous with regional herbs, is a gateway to blissful dining. At Italy Today Restaurant, we open our hearts through the culinary tapestry expanded on

As the head chef and your guide through this culinary escapade, it is my privilege to not only present you with a collection of ingredients but to narrate the vibrant story each element contributes to this exquisite dish. This pasta salad is a testament to the vivacious spirit of Italian cuisine—each recipe imbuing moments of joy and connection.

Picture al dente pasta bringing its hearty foundation to a union embellished by the creamy tang of feta, the crumbly treasure providing sharp hits of delight amidst the more mellow pasta. Coupled with pesto, that intoxicating paste crafted from the freshest basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and luscious olive oil, the dish sings of fields adorned with verdant basil and sunlit groves.

In this harmonious blend, every twirl of the fork gathers a rich story—the feta whispers of pastoral lands and cheese-making traditions, while the pesto hums the melodies of age-old Genovese kitchens, all converging to dance upon the stage set by the humble pasta.

The finishing touches might include an assortment of cherry tomatoes for a pop of color and juicy succulence, a dusting of red pepper flakes for a hint of warmth, and perhaps a scatter of arugula or spinach for an earthy freshness.

To transport this Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto from our hearts to your home, I warmly invite you to explore Here, you will discover not just the steps to create this flavorful celebration, but also the passion and stories woven within, ensuring your culinary venture resonates with authentic Italian conviviality.

Buon appetito! May this pasta salad awaken your palate and nourish your soul, bridging the love of tradition with the thrill of new tastes, all within the embrace of Italian flair.

Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto recipe

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Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto is a culinary delight that brings together the bold textures and flavors of the Italian countryside. Imagine al dente pasta serving as the hearty base for a colorful composition featuring the creamy tang of feta cheese interspersed with the aromatic richness of classic pesto. This pesto, traditionally made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and olive oil, infuses the dish with a taste representative of Genovese culinary art.
Garnished with an assortment of cherry tomatoes for a burst of juicy flavor, a touch of red pepper flakes for gentle heat, and a scattering of arugula or spinach for earthy freshness, this pasta salad is not only satisfying to the palate but also visually appealing. Each ingredient is carefully chosen to narrate the vibrant story of Italian cuisine's vivacity and knack for creating moments of joy through shared meals.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 563 kcal


  • 1 bowl


  • 500 g 17 oz of pasta
  • 90 g 3 oz feta
  • 25 g 1 oz basil leaves
  • 25 g 1 oz of pine nuts
  • 25 g 1 oz grated Parmesan
  • 8 dried tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Cook pasta as directed on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • To make the pesto: wash basil thoroughly. In the blender, put the Parmesan, basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic. Add a good tablespoon of olive oil and mix it all for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper. The batter should be quite thick.
  • Crumble feta with a fork and cut the dried tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Mix all together and serve cold.


Keyword feta, tomatoes

Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto without using pine nuts

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  • Select the Pasta: Choose a pasta shape such as rotini or farfalle that will pair well with the pesto and other ingredients. Cook it until al dente according to package instructions, then rinse under cold water to cool.
  • Prepare Vegetables: While the pasta is cooking, chop your fresh vegetables. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, or fresh cherry tomatoes can work well.
  • Make the Pesto: For the pesto, in a food processor, combine:
    • Fresh basil leaves
    • Minced garlic cloves
    • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (if not avoiding all nuts, you can use grated Parmesan)
    • High-quality extra virgin olive oil
    • Lemon juice for some acidity
    • Salt and pepper for seasoning

    Since we’re omitting pine nuts, you might want to add a bit more cheese to achieve that gritty texture, or you could substitute pine nuts with seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free pesto variation.

  • Combine Ingredients: In a large serving bowl, mix the cooled pasta with the prepared vegetables and homemade pesto sauce.
  • Add Feta Cheese: Crumble feta cheese over the top of the pasta and gently toss to distribute throughout the salad.
  • Marinate Salad: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This chilling time allows the flavors to meld together.
  • Final Touches Before Serving: Garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired, and perhaps a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for a glossy finish.

Tips for making about Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto

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Cooking Tips

  • Pasta Selection: Opt for pasta that has nooks and crannies like rotini or farfalle, as they are fantastic at trapping the pesto and mingling with feta and vegetables. Cook it al dente according to package directions, then cool it under cold water.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use fresh basil and high-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for your pesto. The better the produce and cheese, the more vibrant and flavorful the pesto will be.
  • Homemade Pesto: Make your pesto sauce. Blend together fresh basil leaves, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice for acidity. You can add sunflower or pumpkin seeds in place of pine nuts if needed.
  • Feta Cheese: Crumble good quality feta cheese through the salad for sharp, creamy bursts of flavor. The saltiness of the feta contrasts beautifully with the herbaceous pesto.
  • Vegetables: Add color, texture, and freshness with a selection of vegetables. Think sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, or ripe cherry tomatoes.
  • Letting It Marinate: Allow the flavors of the pasta salad to meld by chilling it in the fridge after assembling—it lets the ingredients get to know each other a bit better!
  • Final Touches: Before serving, consider adding fresh greens like arugula or spinach for an earthy touch, and garnish with additional feta or herbs for presentation points.
  • Customization: Feel free to add protein such as grilled chicken or roasted chickpeas to turn the salad into a more substantial meal.

Serving suggestions

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  • Choice of Dish: Serve in a wide, shallow bowl to showcase the colorful ingredients, allowing the feta and pesto to be visible, tempting those about to indulge.
  • Garnishes: Sprinkle with extra crumbles of feta cheese for a sharp, salty kick and add a few fresh basil leaves for a pop of greenery and an aromatic finish.
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil: Offer a cru et of high-quality extra virgin olive oil on the table for guests who wish to add a glossier finish to their portion, enhancing the lush flavors.
  • Complementary Breads: Accompany the salad with slices of a crusty baguette or ciabatta bread, perfect for absorbing the flavorful pesto dressing.
  • Wine Pairing: Present a bottle of light white wine, perhaps a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, which pairs nicely with the herbaceousness of the pesto and the creaminess of the feta cheese.
  • Lemon Wedges: Provide lemon wedges for guests to squeeze over their salad, adding a bright, citrus note that can cut through the richness of the pesto and cheese.

Top 5 FAQs about Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto

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  • What type of pasta is best for making Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto? Opt for pasta shapes like rotini, farfalle, or orecchiette, which have nooks and crannies that are great for holding onto the pesto sauce. Cooking the pasta al dente will give it the ideal texture that holds up well in salad.
  • Can I make the pesto without pine nuts? Yes, absolutely. For a nut-free version of pesto, you can omit the pine nuts and add extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to maintain a rich texture. Alternatively, seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds can be used as a substitute.
  • What vegetables pair well with Feta and Pesto in this pasta salad? Vegetables like sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and spinach are excellent choices. They provide a lovely contrast in textures and flavors that complement the creamy feta and robust pesto.
  • Is it possible to prepare Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto ahead of time? Yes, this salad can be made in advance. In fact, letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving allows the flavors to meld more intensely. You might want to add a bit more pesto before serving if it has been refrigerated for some time.
  • How can I serve Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto to impress my guests? For an attractive presentation, serve it in a wide, shallow bowl to showcase the ingredients. Consider garnishing with additional crumbles of feta cheese, fresh basil leaves for a pop of color, and drizzle a bit of high-quality extra virgin olive oil to add a glossy finish. Offering lemon wedges on the side allows guests to add a bright, citrus note that complements the richness of the dish.

In conclusion, Pasta Salad with Feta and Pesto is a vibrant depiction of Italian cuisine’s grace and zest. It’s a delightful symphony where the playful shapes of al dente pasta catch the rich, herbaceous pesto, and the creamy feta adds a burst of tangy opulence. This dish is not just satisfying to the palate but also a visual treat, featuring a myriad of colors and textures that promise to enliven any dining experience.

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