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Green Goddess Pasta Salad

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Calories: 381
Green goddess pasta salad with basil, green olives, asparagus, snap peas and cucumbers in a a bowl with a wooden spoon

This stunning, veggie-laden green goddess pasta salad is loaded with the bounty of early summer, and thanks to a hearty toss in that classic, creamy herby dressing, it really looks the part, too.

Green Goddess Pasta Salad: Your New Summer Go-To

This pasta salad recipe might just be the be-all-end-all pasta salad recipe you’ve been looking for. We’re definitely adding it to our own permanent rotation of dishes that scream “SUMMER!” You know the ones, right? The bright, sunny and zingy dishes that you crave all winter, that you dream about making through those rainy, snowy, freezing cold months. When it’s finally time, you whip them up and present to your family with much ceremony because the sight of that meal signals to everyone that the gloriously long days of sunshine and cook outs have officially begun. Oh yeah, this herby, vegetable-y celebration of all things summer is everything you want right now, and more.

ingredients for green goddess pasta salad olives, chives, basil, green onions, garlic, asparagus, cucumbers, dijon, lemon

Homemade Green Goddess Dressing 101

Unlike so many of its classic recipe counterparts, green goddess dressing’s origin is not in question! It was created at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in 1923 to honor a famous guest, George Arliss, who was starring in a play called “The Green Goddess.” Everyone seems to have a slightly different take on this dressing, but it’s always green, mayonnaise-based, and sharply tangy thanks to plenty of garlic and lemon. Some people add anchovies, but we’ve opted to keep ours a vegetarian green goddess. To make our green goddess dressing recipe, you’ll need:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Olive oil
  • Lemons
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh garlic
  • Dijon mustard
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh spinach
Mayonnaise, Olive oil, Lemons, Salt and pepper, garlic, Dijon, basil and spinach in the container of a blender
green goddess dressing in the jar of a blender
green goddess dressing in a small bowl with a spoon
cooked pasta, olives, asparagus, spinach, green onions, in a glass bowl

The Very Best Pasta For Pasta Salad—Let’s Discuss

So, if you already have an opinion about this very heated question, just know that we think that your palate is always right! We’re not here to tell you that if your favorite pasta to make pasta salad with is bucatini that that’s wrong. However, in our opinion, the very best pastas for pasta salads are short pastas with plenty of ridges and / or spirals for catching the pasta salad dressing and other goodies. A few faves include:

  • Rigatoni. Go big! And if a little piece of asparagus or snap pea happens to get caught inside that pasta tube, well, helloooooo best bite ever.
  • Penne rigate—aka ridged penne. Not quite as big as rigatoni, but still lovely in a pasta salad and a bit easier for kids to eat, if that’s a consideration.
  • Fusilli—also known as corkscrew pasta, and a pasta salad classic.
  • Orecchiette—it literally means “little ears” and these tiny cups of pasta are perfect in pasta salad.
  • Casarecce (pictured). This increasingly popular (here in the U.S.) Italian pasta shape is so great in pasta salads. It’s a short, flat noodle with curled edges that perfectly catch the pasta salad sauce along with the herbs and other ingredients.
green goddess pasta salad in a glass bowl with olives, asparagus, spinach, green onions, in a glass bowl
green goddess pasta salad in a serving bowl with olives, asparagus, spinach, basil and green onions

How To Make Pasta Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Alright, so you’ve made the best pasta salad dressing ever. You’ve cooked up some really excellent, perfectly-al dente pasta. Now, what goes in the best pasta salad? Well, this green goddess pasta salad is —as you may have guessed—all about the dressing, so we’ve loaded the pasta salad up with all the green things to emphasize the salads’ green-ness. While we love this particular combination of vegetables and herbs, it’s OK to mix it up! If you’ve got a veggie in your CSA box / garden bed / crisper drawer that you’ve been wondering what to do with, try tossing it into this salad! Pasta salad is one of the ultimate catch-all recipes.

  • Chives.
  • Asparagus.
  • Snap peas.
  • Cucumber. We’re calling for English or Persian cucumbers here, because they’re both thin-skinned,mild, sweet and seedless. If you use cucumbers with seeds or thick peel, consider peeling the cucumber before adding it to the pasta salad.
  • Pitted castelvetrano olives. Briny and bright green, these little baubles are so pretty in this salad. Just be sure to use pitted! A pasta salad is no place for olives with pits.

How Long Does Pasta Salad Last?

We’re actually going to insist that you make this pasta salad at least an hour ahead of time, so that the flavors can meld. But beyond that, you can feel free to make it up to 3 days ahead! We suggest making your dressing and tossing the pasta with the dressing, then leaving the remaining veggies and herbs out until the last minute so that they stay crisp and fresh.

pasta salad with green goddess dressing and olives, asparagus, spinach, green onions in a bowl with a serving spoon

Tools You’ll Need:

More Hearty Salad Recipes

These unique and filling vegetarian salad recipes could serve as a light and summery main dish, or a striking side dish for a more basic meal—maybe alongside a piece of simply grilled salmon or chicken.

green goddess pasta salad in a serving bowl with a wooden serving spoon
green pasta salad with spinach, cucumber, asparagus, green olives and cucumbers

Make Us Green...

...With envy because you’ve made such a gorgeous green goddess pasta salad. Snap a photo of your finished salad and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see! Happy eating!

Green Goddess Pasta Salad

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Calories: 381

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pasta, cooked al dente, according to package
  • ¾ cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ tsp Salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • ¼ cup + 6 whole Basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups Spinach, roughly chopped, lightly packed, divided
  • ¼ cup Chives, roughly chopped, divided
  • 1 ¼ cup Asparagus (about ½ lb.)
  • 1 ½ cup Snap peas, chopped or 1 cup sweet peas thawed
  • 1 ½ cups English or persian cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted, optional

Method

  1. Boil the pasta (according to the package directions) in a large pot of salted water until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain, set aside.**
  2. Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, dijon, ¼ cup basil and one cup of spinach a high powered blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, remaining basil, remaining 1 cup of (roughly chopped) spinach, chives, asparagus, snap peas, cucumber and olives (if using). Pour dressing over salad; toss and serve.

** If the pasta gets stuck together, just rinse under cold water to separate.