Pasta Salad with Celery, Dates, Feta and Herbs

Pasta Salad with Celery, Dates, Feta and Fresh Herbs. Also red grapes and green olives, garnished with mint/parsley. Spoon resting to the side. Orange background.

There’s a lot of pasta salad out there, what makes a good one? Contrast and proportion. With so many ingredients coming together, use a variety of textures to keep things fun bite after bite.

Here’s a vegetarian recipe that hits some great flavor and texture notes. Perfect for summertime. Go with pasta with a little flavor depth, like red lentil or the whole wheat we use below. Make it a main by adding a protein like rotisserie chicken or fresh or tinned salmon. 


  • 8 oz whole wheat fusilli or penne pasta
  • ½ cup medjool dates, halved/ chopped 
  • 3 medium stalks celery, cut in thin half-moons 
  • ½ cup feta, crumbled 
  • ½ cup red grapes, halved 
  • 3 green onions, sliced 
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish 
  • ¼ cup mint, thinly sliced, plus sprigs for garnish 
  • ½ cup green olives – Castelvetrano or similar – halved 
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped 
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp EVOO, divided 
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed 
  • 1 Tbsp fine lemon zest 
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme 
  • ¼ tsp coriander 
  • ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste 
  • ½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste  


  1. Cook pasta per instructions, leaving it a little al dente (about a minute shy of done) as it will continue cooking and soften up as you put the pasta salad together. Drain cooking water and gently fold in 2 Tbsp olive oil. Let pasta cool slightly. 
  2. Make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, zest, Dijon, thyme, coriander and salt/pepper. Slowly add in ¾ cup olive oil, whisking as you go. Set aside for flavors to meld. 
  3. Put slightly cooled pasta in a large bowl. Add in celery, olives, feta, grapes, green onions. Add in date pieces, separating as you go so they’re not one sticky clump. Stir everything together gently. Adjust salt/pepper in dressing and fold in half of it. Fold in chopped herbs.  
  4. If serving immediately, add more dressing until you’re happy with the amount. Pasta will absorb whatever dressing you put in, so if not serving immediately, add reserved dressing just before serving. Top with toasted walnuts, herb garnishes and serve.