This Gluten Free Cucumber and Feta Spinach Pasta Salad is a tangy twist on your ordinary pasta salad, combining flavors from your favorite Italian and Greek Salads. Plus it stays good for days in the fridge!
My mom’s Fourth of July party is better than your mom’s!!!
Okay, that was rude. I apologize. It may be true, but regardless, it was still rude. Ahem, maybe I should just describe my mom’s epic annual July 4th party and let you decide for yourself how awesome it is.
First off, all of our family members and close friends invade the neighborhood pool where sometimes your 2 year old daughter becomes an instant internet sensation for getting pushed off the diving board.
After a good laugh at the expense of an overly traumatized toddler, we all meet up in my parents’ beautiful backyard for a good old fashioned BBQ of burgers, hotdogs, and brats. I stick to the burgers because, well, hotdogs just kind of freak me out. But hey, everyone else seems to enjoy them!
Then we set up volleyball and badminton nets, as well as root on young to very old (love you grandpa) basketball players in the driveway. I’m telling you, you’ve never seen a grandpa play basketball like mine. He tosses free throws like they’re nothing. Even Ben is intimidated by good old Grandpa Mel.
Followed by all of the sports hoorah, we bust open a homemade pinata sculpted by my mother-in-law where we all dodge flying sharpened pencils exploding from the inside. Really, every year there are sharpened pencils as part of the loot. We’ve just learned that once it gets close to breaking, you cover your face with every hit to save your eyes and your sight.
And for the grand finale, it’s off to the front yard to watch the near professional fireworks display led by my pyromaniac uncle. It’s honestly one of the best fireworks shows you will ever see. Especially when the fireworks come shooting right at you…pretty sure that wasn’t part of the plan last year.
It is pretty darn epic.
Aside from all the activities that take place in this one single memorable day, eating all the yummy food has got to take the cake for the best part of the night. Last year we had so much food it was nearly impossible to fit everything on the counter AND dining room sized kitchen table. In fact, if I remember correctly, I think we even had a table dedicated exclusively to desserts. Hey, my family may be small in stature, but we sure do know how to PIG OUT!
I usually jump right on making a gluten free dessert so that Braelyn has a sinful sweet to eat during the evening, but I’m thinking this year I may just jump on the side dish bandwagon. That kid finds sweets to eat anywhere and everywhere regardless of if I make them for her or not. So maybe this year I will spare myself some energy and forgo the baking…or maybe not.
Either way, whether I decide to cave to the baking, I am quite certain that this Gluten Free Cucumber and Feta Spinach Pasta Salad should be on the Independence Day menu. Why??? Well, let me tell you.
First of all, you can make it a day in advance, so why not save yourself some stress the day of the party. That’s a no brainer for sure.
Second, it’s super easy. It’s basically a balsamic based salad dressing that you whip up and pour over some noodles and veggies. Boom, bam, thank you ma’am! Honestly, if you’re in a huge hurry, you could even pour your favorite Italian/Mediterranean style salad dressing into the pasta salad and call it good. I won’t judge you.
And last of all, it just tastes good. Isn’t that the most important criteria after all??? This pasta salad is bold and tangy with its mixture of white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar paired with zippy crumbles of fresh feta cheese. It’s a palatable pairing for sure.
Emry absolutely loved this pasta salad because noodles and olives are pretty much two of her favorite foods. She was definitely a happy camper when I busted this out for lunch and then dinner, and then lunch and dinner again the next day. What can I say? Waste not, want not.
If you want to make this a main meal, you can always add a few grilled chicken strips for some additional protein. But if you want to stick to vegetarian, it’s a filling pasta salad in and of itself. But really, what pasta dish isn’t filling? Am I right???
Oh, and I almost forgot. Spinach, you guys. C’mon, I mean just the word “spinach” denotes healthy. As long as you throw some spinach in your food, it’s gotta be healthy, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. So that means the next chocolate cake I make, I’m pureeing some spinach into the batter and frosting mix. Hmmm, or maybe not.
So happy Fourth! I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday watching, shooting off, and dodging fireworks. I just hope it’s a lot less of the latter action compared to the other two.
- 1 box Barilla brand gluten free Rotini noodles (12 oz.)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 4 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 cucumber, peeled and cubed
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1½ cup packed spinach leaves
- ½ cup pasta water
- Cook pasta al dente in salted water according to directions, reserving ½ cup pasta water before draining.
- While pasta is cooking, begin making dressing. In a food processor or blender, combine white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sugar, Italian seasoning, Parmesan, salt, pepper, ground mustard, red pepper flakes, garlic, and onion powder. Blend until smooth. Slowly add in olive oil at low speed. Set aside.
- Prepare vegetables by dicing tomatoes, cubing cucumbers, and draining olives.
- Once pasta is done cooking, reserve ½ cup water and drain the rest. Transfer pasta to a large mixing bowl. Pour ¾ of dressing over pasta and stir to coat. Add spinach, tomatoes, olives, and pasta water. Stir to coat.
- Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours or until cold. Stir in cucumbers and olives before serving. Add more dressing if needed.*