The most delicious lemon pasta salad is made with tons of fresh herbs, feta cheese, peas, and toasted pine nuts.
Simple Lemon Pasta Salad
This lemon pasta salad is such a great way to make a dish to serve a crowd and also pack in the veggies and herbs at the same time. The herbs and garlic lemon dressing are truly what makes this so special and we can’t wait for you to make it!
Why you’ll love it!
Serves a crowd
Seasonal spring veggies
Easy to make
Pasta: it wouldn’t be a pasta salad without the pasta, now would it! We’ve made this lemon pasta salad recipe a handful of times already (trust us when we say it’s one of our new favorites) and we’ve used both spaghetti and a shorter noodle such as rigatoni. Any kind of noodle works and it’s all about preference.
Dressing: talk about a flavor-loaded dressing! It’s made with sauteed garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and honey.
Herbs: the herbs really steal the show in this pasta salad. They’re light, fresh, and seriously so good. Here’s what you need:
Add-Ins: it wouldn’t be a pasta salad without all the add-ins. Make sure you have the following on hand:
- Feta cheese
- Pine nuts
- English peas
- Cook Pasta: cook around 8-oz. dried pasta until it’s al dente. Strain and set aside.
- Make Dressing: sautee garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Set aside. Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, and mayo. Then, add the garlic and olive oil and whisk again.
- Toss Pasta and Dressing: transfer pasta into a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss to combine.
- Add Mix-Ins: add the fresh herbs, red onion, peas, and salt. Then, add feta cheese.
- Toss: toss everything together until combined. Serve and enjoy!
Store pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Lemon Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs
- 8- oz. dried noodles
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt separated
- 5 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh chives
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ large red onion sliced very thin (a mandolin works best)
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- Zest from one small lemon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- 4- oz. fresh English peas or frozen peas, thawed
- Bring a large pot of salted water (like really salty) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente.
- Strain the pasta and rinse with cold water until the pasta is cold. Let the pasta sit in the strainer to let all excess water drip from the pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet pan over medium/high heat.
- When the olive oil is fragrant, add the minced garlic to the skillet. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and toss.
- Sauté the garlic for 4-5 minutes or until the garlic just begins to brown. Remove from heat and pour the oil and garlic into a separated glass bowl to cool. Set aside.
- Prepare the pasta salad dressing by adding the rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, and mayo to a bowl and whisk the ingredients together until they are combined and the honey has dissolved and is not sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Add the lemon zest and ½ teaspoon of salt to the dressing and whisk again.
- Slowly drizzle the cooled sautéd garlic and olive oil into the dressing while whisking to combine the oil into the dressing.
- Add the cooled pasta to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the pasta and toss until all of the pasta is coated in dressing.
- Next, add all of the fresh herbs, red onion, peas, and remaining salt (if needed) to the bowl and toss again until combined.
- Top the pasta salad with feta crumbles, toasted pine nuts, and freshly ground pepper.
- Eat immediately or place in the refrigerator to cool.
Tips & Notes
- The point of sauteing the garlic in olive oil for the dressing is to create a “quick infused” garlic olive oil. Trust us, it’s worth it.
- You can use any mixture of fresh herbs that you would like. Mint would be so good, too!
- Remember to taste the dressing and pasta salad throughout the recipe to make sure you are adding enough salt.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.