Inspired by one of my favorite salad dressings, this green goddess pasta salad is bright and tangy, cool and creamy, and packed with fresh herbs, spinach, cucumber, peas, and mild castelvetrano olives.
When my garden is teeming with fresh herbs, I use them as much as possible. Snipping them to top pizzas, making pesto and chimichurri, and a favorite condiment of mine—green goddess dressing. The cool and creamy dressing, made with fresh parsley, basil, and chives, is similar to Caesar dressing but with an herbaceous punch and a little zip from some lemon juice and garlic. It’s delicious spooned over grilled fish, enjoying it with crudités, or tossing in simple green salads, and of course, this green goddess pasta salad.
I love this vegetarian pasta salad because it’s loaded with fresh, green veggies—peas, spinach, cucumber, and castelvetrano olives, for a briny bite. I use twisty casarecce or gemelli pasta because the ridges give the green goddess dressing something to cling to.
What’s in Green Goddess Pasta Salad
This pasta salad is a cinch to make, especially when you have a jar of my green goddess dressing already made. Here’s what’s in it:
- Gemelli or casarecce pasta—DeLallo is my favorite pasta brand for this twisty short pasta, or try fusilli, rigatoni, or orecchiette (I recommend a short pasta, preferably one with ridges, so the dressing clings best to the pasta)
- Green goddess dressing
- Cucumber—use a soft-skinned cucumber like an English or Persian (or just peel the skin from a hot house cucumber). I like to remove the seeds, scooping them out with a teaspoon to help prevent the cucumber from getting soggy.
- Frozen peas
- Castelvetrano olives—DeLallo’s pitted castelvetrano olives are meaty and mild, or try Spanish olives for a more briny bite
- Parmesan cheese—Skip the pre-shredded variety and use a wedge of aged Parm instead
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
How to Make Green Goddess Pasta Salad
Green goddess pasta salad is so simple to make. You can make the dressing or chop your veggies while the pasta cooks.
Here’s how to make it:
Make the Green Goddess dressing. Add the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
Cook your pasta until al denté, adding your frozen peas to the boiling water during the last minute of cooking. Then rinse and drain everything to cool it down.
Prep your veggies. Seed and chop your cucumber (scraping out the middle will prevent the cucumber from getting soggy in the salad), chop your spinach, and more parsley and basil.
Toss and serve. Toss all the ingredients well, then top with shaved Parmesan and herbs before serving.
What Does Green Goddess Dressing Taste Like
Green goddess dressing is bright (thanks to lemon juice), herbaceous (thanks to lots of fresh herbs), and creamy (thanks to mayo and sour cream). Garlic gives it a little zip. Think of it as a cousin to Ranch and Caesar dressings.
Substitutions or Additions You Could Try
- You could use fusilli, rigatoni, or orecchiette instead of gemelli pasta
- Add marinated artichoke instead or in addition to the olives
- Swap the cucumber for sugar snap peas
- Add crumbled feta
What to Serve With Green Goddess Pasta Salad
- Baby Back Ribs
- Grilled Halibut with Tomato Avocado Salsa
- Grilled Vegetables
- The Best BBQ Chicken
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Green Goddess Pasta Salad
- 1 pound casarecce, gemelli or fusilli pasta , or your favorite short, ridged pasta
- Kosher salt , for pasta water
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups packed fresh spinach , chopped
- 1 cup pitted castelvetrano olives , halved
- 1 cup cucumber , seeded and chopped (use a soft skin cucumber such as English or Persian, or peel the skin of a regular hot house cucumber. Cut cucumber in half, lengthwise, then use a teaspoon to drag it down the middle, scraping out the seeds)
- 1 cup green goddess dressing , recipe below
- basil , chopped, for serving
- parsley , chopped, for serving
- Parmesan , shaved, for serving
Green Goddess Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons fresh chives , chopped
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic , (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water, until al denté and still a bit firm. During the last minute of cooking the pasta, add the frozen peas. Once pasta is finished cooking, rinse under cool water and drain well.
- While pasta is cooking, make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and purée until smooth.
- Transfer cooled pasta and peas to a large serving bowl. Add the spinach, olives, cucumber, and dressing, tossing well to combine. To serve, top with fresh basil, parsley, and shaved Parmesan.
More Vegetarian Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Love
- Greek Pasta Salad with Cucumbers and Artichoke Hearts
- Mexican Corn Pasta Salad
- Creamy Tuscan Pasta Salad
- Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad
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