Green Olive Herb Pasta Salad

This herbaceous and zesty, easy pasta salad recipe loaded with green olives, pistachios, and radicchio is the perfect balance of satisfying textures and mouth-watering flavors that comes together in under 30 minutes!

Nothing says summer quite like the perfect pasta salad to take on a picnic, great for a cookout, or the star of the potluck. You’ll be making this super quick and easy pasta salad loaded with fresh flavor-filled ingredients all summer long!

One of the best things about pasta salad is how it can be made in advance, developing even more flavor after it’s made. Less time in the kitchen and more time outside creating a zestful summer is a huge goal and this recipe totally hits the spot!

Note: if you do decide to make this in advance, you want to add the radicchio last minute so it doesn’t get too soggy, and make sure it’s at room temperature before serving to make sure the olive oil isn’t cold and hard.

Pasta Salad Tips

  • Cook your pasta perfectly al dente. The texture is everything to me in a dish and NO ONE wants soft pasta, it should have some chew.
  • Let your pasta slightly completely before tossing it into the sauce. The trick is to let the pasta cool for a few minutes so it’s still warm and will absorb more of the flavors. For the more delicate ingredients like certain vegetables and cheese, you want to wait until the pasta is mostly cooled before adding those.
  • Taste and adjust. This recipe is more of a suggestion, make it the way YOU want to, it’s designed to be flexible so if it needs more oil, some salt, more of your favorite ingredient, or something else you decide! Taste and adjust to create your perfect pasta salad!

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe Variations

This pasta salad is fantastic as-is, but feel free to change it up to match your tastes or the ingredients in your pantry. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add some cheese! this salad would be even better with some cubed feta, big shaves of parmesan, or even fresh mozzarella!
  • Add something chewy! Trust me, chopped-up dates would have been sooo good in this pasta salad – actually upset with myself that I did;t add any lol salty sweet is my favorite, or also sun-dried tomato for a nice dried chewy bite!
  • Make it gluten-free! Chickpea, lentil, or gluten-free pasta would be a great substitute!
  • Add more veg. More types of lettuce would be delicious like spinach or baby kale, chopped cucumbers, artichoke hearts, or even tomatoes – any vegetable would be really good!
  • Any type of roasted nut or seed. I used pistachios but toasted almonds, walnuts, pinenuts or even pumpkin seeds would be a tremendous nutty crunch.
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Green Olive Herb Pasta Salad


Units Scale

Green Olive Herb Tapenade

  • 2 teaspoons hot honey or honey plus a large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • small orange, juiced & zested
  • small lemon, juiced & zested
  • large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • large handful of basil (1/4 cup), finely chopped
  • large handful of parsley (1/4 cup), finely chopped
  • 6 oz green olives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional – if not vegan you could use grated parmesan or worcestershire sauce)

Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 lb short pasta
  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 small radicchio head, chopped


  1. To a large pot of boiling water add salt, and pasta and cook as directed on the package then drain to let slightly cool.
  2. Once the pasta cools down for a few minutes add it to a large bowl with the tapenade, pistachios, and radicchio. Stir until all the pasta is well coated, adding more olive oil if needed, and enjoy!

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