This Greek Pasta Salad is protein-packed and tangy! No boring bite here! Acidic quick pickled red onions and tomatoes, fresh cucumber and Greek-herb marinated beef. Top this salad with the creamiest lemon mint yogurt dressing.
My love of pita pockets inspired this Greek Pasta Salad. I prepare my pita pockets as a Greek-Style gyro with all the same ingredients! I hate feeling hungry after eating a huge bowl of salad so I wanted to recreate a gyro into a salad. To be full for longer after finishing this meal, I added marinated sirloin and orzo (a rice-like pasta).
HOW TO MAKE A PROTEIN-PACKED GREEK PASTA SALAD
INGREDIENTS IN A PROTEIN-PACKED SALAD
- GREEK MARINATED BEEF – Marinate sirloin in dried parsley, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. Dice the beef before marinating. The cooking is quick and makes sure each bite has a crispy brown sear.
- QUICK PICKLED RED ONIONS & CHERRY TOMATOES – To add tang, pickle red onions and cherry tomatoes. Do this first so it pickles while preparing the rest of the meal. You can eat this by itself!
- CUCUMBERS – Easy diced cucumbers for greens in this dish instead of your typical lettuce. Either hothouse or English cucumber will be fine.
- ORZO – Orzo is the perfect pasta for this pasta salad. Orzo or Risoni is a short-grain pasta that looks like rice. It only takes a few minutes to cook in boiling water, is light and fills you up for longer.
- LEMON MINT YOGURT DRESSING – This zesty dressing combines the flavors of this salad. It includes lemon, mint, scallion and low-fat Greek yogurt. Enjoy this dressing on everything, not just this salad!
HOW TO PICKLE RED ONIONS & CHERRY TOMATOES
Pickling red onions and cherry tomatoes normally can take days. That’s why we do a quick pickle for these vegetables! Add the red onions and tomatoes to a mixture of white wine vinegar, water, salt and pepper. It’ll sit while making the rest of the meal.
What do pickled red onions and cherry tomatoes taste like?
I much prefer pickled cherry tomatoes than regular. It adds a vinegar-y, acidic tang to the rather boring typical taste. By pickling the red onions, it actually takes away some of the strong sharp taste of onion making it easier to eat uncooked. The onions and tomatoes are quick pickled and therefore keep their crunch.
If you don’t like vinegar, use regular cherry tomatoes and red onions instead!
HOW TO MAKE A LEMON MINT YOGURT DRESSING
This lemon mint yogurt dressing is my favorite part of this salad! It is creamy, lemony and herbaceous. Make the dressing in the blender – I used my small blender attachment.
- STEP ONE: Chop scallions in fourths to make it easier to blend. Place into blender.
- STEP TWO: Add mint. Squeeze one lemon’s juices. Top with Greek yogurt.
- STEP THREE: Season with salt and pepper.
- STEP FOUR: Blend.
How to Store a Greek pasta salad
This Protein-Packed Greek Pasta Salad can and should be made in advance. It can be made up to two-days before a gathering – simply leave the dressing off. Mix the dressing in around 30-minutes to two hours before eating.
The recipe is also great for meal-prep. Simply distribute into tupperware airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to 4-days. It would be better to keep the dressing separate.
VARIATIONS ON THIS PROTEIN-PACKED GREEK PASTA SALAD
- VEGAN – Omit the beef and swap the Greek yogurt for unflavored dairy-free yogurt.
- VEGETARIAN – Omit the beef. You could substitute with cannelloni beans!
- DAIRY-FREE – Swap the Greek yogurt for unflavored dairy-free yogurt.
- GLUTEN-FREE – Omit orzo, or substitute for Gluten-Free pasta!
- MAKE IT PITA – Omit orzo and add all ingredients to a pita pocket.
- SWAP PROTEIN – Use chicken or ground meat instead of beef.