Lemon Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas & Feta

Lemon Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Feta by Tori AveyLemon Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Feta by Tori Avey

Quite simply, this salad is a combination of some of my very favorite things in life. Pasta, fresh lemon, olives, roasted sweet tomatoes, basil, chickpeas, feta cheese, crushed red pepper flakes… stop! I can’t handle it! So much good stuff in one simple dish. It’s got layers and layers of flavor– salty, spicy, sweet, nutty. And with that lemon juice and freshly cut basil topping the whole thing off, it smells like a Mediterranean summer.

The roasted cherry tomatoes really take this dish to another level. Roasting the tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and makes them super juicy. Those of you with gardens probably have more tomatoes on hand than you know what to do with right about now. Pan roasting these little guys is a great way to extend their shelf life; you can keep them covered in a sealed plastic container for up to five days after roasting.

No step-by-step pictures here, because this salad is simple as can be. It would make a perfect addition to a summer buffet or cookout. These are a few of my favorite things… Enjoy!

Lemon Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Feta by Tori Avey

Lemon Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas & Feta

Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups dry bowtie pasta
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked or canned and drained
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced ripe green olives
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped or chiffonade cut

Dressing Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if spice sensitive, use 1/4 tsp)
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp salt
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Servings: 8 side servings
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Cook the pasta according to directions on the box to desired tenderness. Drain, rinse with cool water till pasta is room temperature. Reserve.
  • Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat and toast the pinenuts, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant. Reserve pinenuts in a small dish; keep the pan on medium heat.
  • In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and pinch of black pepper. Toss to combine, then add the tomatoes to the hot pan you toasted the pinenuts in. Give them a shake occasionally and cook over medium heat until blistered, about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients till well combined.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine all ingredients except tomatoes with the dressing, tossing to make sure all ingredients are well coated. Add the roasted tomatoes last-- gently stir them in, they will be very soft and delicate. Add more salt to taste, if desired-- careful, the olives and feta are pretty salty on their own!
  • Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Comments (46)Post a Comment

  1. Sounds delicious and easy to make for a group. Two questions…

    If I’m taking it somewhere, should I add the roasted tomatoes at home or take them separately and add just before serving

    How do you think blue cheese instead of feta, would go with the other ingredients?

    1. Keep roasted tomatoes separate, definitely, and toss them in just before you serve. Blue cheese is a very strong flavor, and the salad has a lot of dominating flavors– lemon, spice, etc. If you go with blue cheese I would start with less than the recommended amount of feta and only add to taste, so you don’t overwhelm the other flavors.

  2. Thanks Tory. I normally don’t change anything in a recipe (the blue cheese) before I make it for the first time and this this salad will be no exception. I’ll stay with the feta.

  3. I need to substitute gluten-free pasta. Do you think I should prepare it and serve it straight away; no refrigeration, correct? or the GF pasta gets too hard. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Shiksa!

    1. Great question Susan! I very rarely cook with GF pasta (sometimes I use Tinkyada spaghetti), I’m not sure how it holds up chilled. Wish I had some guidance for you here! Let us know what you end up doing. If chilling makes the pasta hard, maybe just run it under cool water until it reaches room temp?

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Tori – I used the Tinkyada Fusilli pasta (gluten-free brown rice pasta) and it was perfect! It’s great as GF because this recipe is served at room temperature. Everyone loved it and the GF guests were very happy. If there are leftovers and wind up being refrigerated; be sure to bring the leftovers back to room temperature otherwise the GF pasta will be very hard. Delicious!

    1. Great Susan! Thank you for sharing your mods/tips. I’ve had good luck with Tinkyada, it’s pretty great stuff. Glad to know it holds up in pasta form too!

  5. Tori – I’ll be making this next week for a buffet for about 25 people. I’m sure there will be plenty of food there including pizza.. Should I double or triple the recipe???

    1. Nina I would triple it, but then again I’m always worried about running out of food. :) It is VERY tasty so anticipate that folks might be coming back for seconds and thirds.

    2. Thanks Tori – I always make way more than needed at events like this. I think people will starve if I don’t. I’ll triple it and then _force_ everyone to take any left overs home! I’ll let you know how it went. So far the other are bringing veggies and dip and fruit salads… We need carbs … pizza and pasta salad!!!!!

  6. Hi again Tori… I will be making this to take to a buffet dinner. How far in advance can I mix everything (but the tomatoes) with the dressing? Should I do it earlier in the day or within two plus hours of serving it? Will the dressing make it soggy or will it taste better if it sits for awhile before serving?

    1. Sorry to be a pest, but I will be making it Tuesday for the buffet Tuesday night and I want it to be the best it can be.

      Thanks Tori.

  7. Thanks so much Tori. Since I am taking it elsewhere, I will do the prep work and then toss it as close to serving time as I can . ..maybe 1 – 1/2 hours or so, and adding the tomatoes at the very last minute, just before serving. I bought some beautiful Heirloom cherry tomatoes, yellow, red and green and they will look spectacular.

    1. Let me know how it goes! FYI you might want to start with the lesser amount of chili flakes per recipe, then add more to taste. I love it with a kick (3/4 tsp per recipe) but if it’s for a buffet with lots of people you may want to start with less heat, then increase it until it adds a little “something” without being overly spicy. Enjoy. :)

  8. I’ll let you know on Thursday. Good advice on the pepper flakes … a little goes a loooooong way. I may put a little bowl/plate along side of it incase someone wants to spice their’s up.

  9. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this for a buffet dinner last night for about 20 or so people, It was a HUGE success.

    Excellent flavors and and all of the ingredients melded so well. Since I was taking it to a party, I made each part separately, tomatoes, pine nuts, bow ties, dressing… and then about 3 hours serving time, I mixed it all together. The noodles remained firm. I knelled as I saw many people take two servings, especially since I had doubled the recipe and the large bowl was very full. We managed to bring home a little bit.

    My husband said it was the best pasta salad he has ever eaten.

    Thanks Tori … this salad is really a keeper.

  10. HELP… I made your hamburger empanadas (?) turnovers with raisins a few weeks ago and loved them.

    I can’t find the recipe anywhere, or your link to it. They freeze very well too, but of course we ate them right away.

    Thanks so much.

    1. Sorry about that .. I think that all of my really good recipes from you.

      My friend that I shared it with just found it … it was from Chowhound.

      Happy Chanukah and a Happy Healthy New Year.

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