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The key to this creamy pasta dish is using a small rice shaped pasta to be mixed together with creamy tzatziki sauce. The feta cheese adds another dimension of flavor. We also included some mayonnaise and crunchy vegetables for extra texture and flavor, and topped it off with lemon zest.
This light refreshing pasta salad is a favorite make-ahead side dish that goes with just about everything!
Risoni Pasta Substitutes
Risoni is a small rice shaped pasta, also known as Risi. It can be substituted with Orzo Pasta, or any small similarly shaped pasta for this recipe. Just be sure to follow the package cooking directions for the pasta you select.
What is Tzatziki Sauce?
Tzatziki sauce is a Middle Eastern sauce made with Greek yogurt. It is paired with cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs such as mint or dill. Tzatziki is often used as a dipping sauce or a sandwich topping.
The creamy, tangy sauce is a perfect addition to the pasta salad. You can often find Tzatziki sauce in the refrigerator section of your grocery store, but as with most things, we recommend using a homemade Tzatziki for this recipe.
It’s very easy to make and a great stand-in for recipes that use mayonnaise. We often substitute mayo with tzatziki as a sandwich spread or in a tuna salad. You can also swap it out for sour cream on baked potatoes or scrambled eggs, or even as a quick and easy dip for chips.
What to serve with Risoni Salad with Tzatziki Sauce?
This Risoni salad recipe is very versatile. It’s a great side dish for grilled and roasted meats, fish or vegetables, or even fried chicken.
We love the pasta salad paired with Kofte meatballs!
It’s another very easy recipe to make and is often served as part of a Mediterranean Mezze platter (appetizer platter). The meatballs are served along with additional dishes such as Spicy Feta Dip (Tirokafteri) and Tabouleh with pita bread.
The Risoni salad itself would also be a addition to the platter.
Adding tuna, leftover rotisserie chicken or grilled shrimp can also make the Risoni Pasta Salad more of a satisfying meal on its own.
How to Prevent Pasta Salad from Drying Out
Make-ahead pasta salad have a tendency to dry out when left in the fridge. When refrigerated overnight the pasta can absorb the dressing leaving the salad dry and sometimes mushy.
To prevent this we recommend taking a few extra steps. First, add some extra virgin olive oil to the pasta after it is rinsed in cold water and drained. Next, chill the pasta in the refrigerator before adding the dressing for about 20 – 30 minutes.
The additional steps take a little more time, but the resulting pasta salad should retain it’s creamy texture the next day, making the time well worth the effort.
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Here are some additional salad recipes you might enjoy:
- 1 Cup (200 g) Risoni Pasta (or Orzo or Similar) Pasta
- 1 Teaspoon (6 g) Salt
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons (7.4 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Carrot, peeled and grated
- 1/2 Medium Red Bell Pepper (Finely Diced)
- 1/2 Cup (145 g) Tzatziki Sauce
- 1/4 Cup (58 g) Mayonnaise
- 4 Ounces (114 g) Crumbled Feta
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 Green Onion, Diced
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Parsley, Diced
- Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)
Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 4 Cups (about 1 liter) of water and bring to boil.
Add the pasta and cook per package directions to al dente (approximately 10 minutes).
Rinse the pasta in cold water. Once cool place the pasta in a medium bowl and coat with olive oil. Place the pasta in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This will help prevent the pasta from absorbing the dressings, especially if made a day in advance.
Remove the pasta from the refrigerator and add the tzatziki sauce, mayonnaise, lemon zest, parsley, green onions, feta cheese, red bell pepper and shredded carrot.
Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper to taste.
Amount Per Serving Calories 168Total Fat 7.3gSaturated Fat 3gSodium 137mgCarbohydrates 18.8gFiber .4gSugar 3gProtein 7g