Warm Pasta Salad with Arugula or Spinach

Need an easy dish for weeknights? This pasta salad recipe is great for dinner, and you can pack the leftovers for lunch later in the week.
Pasta Salad with Argula or Spinach - AvivaGoldfarb.com

Need an easy dish for weeknights? This pasta salad recipe is great for dinner, and you can pack the leftovers for lunch later in the week. 

Pasta Salad with Argula or Spinach - AvivaGoldfarb.com

This is a fresh-tasting dish for a weeknight dinner, and it’s great served hot or cold. Arugula has a light peppery taste that adventurous children may like, but you might want to leave some noodles plain just in case. If you can’t find arugula, you can use baby spinach or other tender greens. Serve it with sliced red or orange bell peppers with light ranch dressing.

Prep + Cook = 25 minutes

8 servings, about 1 3/4 cups each


  • 16 oz. penne noodles
  • 4 oz. arugula or baby spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped if using arugula
  • 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 oz. feta or goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata or other strong olives, chopped
  • 10 fresh basil or mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste (optional)


Cook the pasta according to package directions until it is al dente, and drain it.  Meanwhile, soak the greens in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes to thoroughly clean them, and then dry them well.

In a large serving bowl, combine the arugula or spinach, tomatoes, feta or goat cheese, olives, basil or mint, vinegar and oil.  Set it aside.  (Slice the bell peppers now, if you are serving them.)

Toss the noodles with the ingredients in the serving bowl.  Season it with salt, if desired, and serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 2 days.

Do Ahead or Delegate:  

Cook the pasta and store tossed with a little oil to prevent sticking, stem and chop the arugula if using, chop the tomatoes, crumble and refrigerate the cheese and chop the olives if necessary, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish.


Remember to read through a recipe completely before starting to cook.  This extra step can keep you from making mistakes with ingredient preparation or measurements, ultimately saving time and stress.

Scramble Flavor Booster: 

Add 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes with the tomatoes.

Side Dish Suggestion: 

Serve the bell peppers with ranch dressing or the dip of your choice.

Nutritional Information per Serving (% based upon Daily Values):

Calories 300, Total Fat 9g, 14%, Saturated Fat 3g, 15%, Cholesterol 10mg, 3%, Sodium 370mg, 15%, Total Carbohydrate 45g, 15%, Dietary Fiber 2g, 8%, Protein 10g, Sugar 3g

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