Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Chickpeas combines tangy feta cheese, salty Kalamata olives, sweet grape tomatoes, and crunchy vegetables for a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
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Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Chickpeas is an excellent dish to add to your side dish rotation for your next grill night. It complements grilled meats and vegetables well, is easy to prepare, and is a healthy and nutritious option everyone will enjoy.
You can cook the pasta and prepare the vegetables and dressing earlier in the day, so you can spend more time outside with your guests. It’s also a dish that can be made in large quantities, making it perfect for feeding a crowd.
What is Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Chickpeas?
This dish is a delicious and healthy salad that combines pasta, chickpeas, and a variety of vegetables and seasonings that are commonly found in Mediterranean cuisine.
The dish typically includes ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese, and is dressed with a tangy and flavorful dressing made with olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and dried oregano.
However, you can mix and match to make your perfect salad, depending on the likes and preferences of your guests. It’s a very versatile salad. I’ve even made it with gluten free pasta on occasion.
- Pasta – It is up to you what type of pasta you use. Penne and Fusilli work really well.
- Olive Oil – Use light olive oil to not overpower the other ingredients
- Lemon – Always us a freshly juiced lemon for the brightest flavor.
- Dijon Mustard – You can use yellow mustard if that is all you have
- Dried Oregano
- Ground Black Pepper
- Grape Tomatoes – Halved
- Cucumbers – Sliced
- Green Bell Pepper – Chopped
- Red Bell Pepper – Chopped
- Chickpeas – I use canned chickpeas, but you can soak and cook from dried.
- Red Onion – Sliced
- Kalamata Black Olives
- Fresh Dill – You can use parsley if you would prefer.
- Feta Cheese – You can use any crumbly cheese you want – goat’s cheese, blue cheese, or Gorgonzola are possible substitutes.
How Long Does It Take To Make
The great thing about this dish is that it can be prepared in a short amount of time. To start, you will need to cook the pasta. This typically takes around 8-12 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you are using and how al dente you prefer it.
While the pasta is cooking, you can prep the rest of the salad, which is just a lot of chopping and slicing of vegetables. This will take around 10 minutes.
Since this salad contains chickpeas, you will also want to shell the chickpeas. There is a thin outer layer on each bean that can easily be removed by gently squeezing the bean. Removing the shell isn’t strictly necessary, but it does give them a more pleasant texture. To shell a can of chickpeas will take about 10 minutes.
The homemade dressing takes just a few minutes to whip up, as well. I like to add the ingredients to a small container with a lid, so I can shake it up, rather than whisking. It works better and fasters.
How to Make Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Chickpeas
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package and then drain and cool.
Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small container with a lid. Shake it up to combine the dressing. This works better than whisking in a bowl. However you can go that route, if you don’t have a small lidded container.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, chickpeans, onion, olives, and dill.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss it to coat. Once it’s mixed up, you can add the feta and toss lightly. The reason I add the feta last is because it has a tendency to break down if it’s stirred too much and that makes the salad not quite as pretty.
If you aren’t serving the salad right away, I would recommend waiting to put the dressing and feta on until just before serving.
Some Tips for Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Chickpeas
- Use a short pasta shape, such as fusilli, penne, or rotini, to ensure that the salad is easy to eat and that the dressing coats each piece evenly.
- Rinse the pasta under cold water after cooking to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together and becoming clumpy. It will also keep it from overcooking and becoming mushy. The pasta should still be al dente for the best texture.
- Add the feta cheese last, just before serving, so it doesn’t break down and mix into the salad.
How to Store This Salad
Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge or cover the bowl tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. This will help to keep the salad fresh for longer and prevent any odors or flavors from the fridge from affecting it.
If you have dressed the salad, store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The dressing may cause the pasta to become mushy, so it’s best eaten within a few days.
If you are making the salad ahead of time and need to transport it, pack it in a large airtight container. Add the dressing and feta right before serving.
What to Serve It With
This side dish goes great with all kinds of grilling favorites. Here are a few of our go-to main dishes to serve with this:
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Mediterranean Pasta Salad With Chickpeas
- 8 ounces pasta uncooked
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cucumbers cut into quarters lengthwise then sliced
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 can chickpeas drained and shelled
- 1/2 small red onion sliced
- 1/2 cup kalamata black olives halved
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill or parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and cool.
- Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper in a small container with a lid. Shake to combine (alternatively whisk in a bowl).
- In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, chickpeas, onion, olives and dill.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss it to coat.
- Once it’s mixed up, add the feta and toss lightly.
- Serve cold.
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Laura is a passionate home cook and grill enthusiast who has spent years perfecting her culinary skills, with a particular focus on grilling techniques and flavor combinations. Her fascination with the grill, smoke, and the mouthwatering results they produce has led her on an exciting journey to discover the best methods for grilling delicious and unforgettable meals.