A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends, Jenni, sent me an email with this recipe of Tzatziki Pasta Salad with the remark that “it isn’t too Budget Bytes friendly (too many splurgy ingredients), but it’s really good!” I read the recipe and determined: A) I had to try it since it looked delicious, and A) I had to budget for it! This version that I’m noting is Creamy Lemon Dill Greek Pasta Salad. It’s a bit more affordable, yet amazingly delicious! It was so good I almost ate some forkfuls for breakfast today!


For this salad to be affordable, I must identify the ingredients that aren’t budget-friendly, and there are lots on the list: Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta onions, Greek yogurt, artichoke heart, and fresh Dill.

To limit the cost-cutting effect of these ingredients, I needed to cut down or substitute the elements where I could while keeping the “feel” of the recipe. Here’s how I went about it:

I cut back on the quantity of feta used in the salad to 2oz. Since feta is quite potent, I was confident I could use it less.

I used dried dill instead of fresh tomatoes instead of sun-dried tomatoes (funny that one ingredient can cost less when dried, and it is the opposite for another element).

Although I would love to have reduced the number of kalamata olives in my diet, I couldn’t find a reasonable price on the day I was looking, and they ended up on the cutting list.

As I chopped the olives, I opted to keep the artichoke heart. The elimination of both would have veered somewhat from the Greek salad vibe I wanted to achieve.

I saved the onion in its red form; however, I promised to use the remainder in a new cooking recipe or even by making pickles.

Finally, I kept Greek yogurt as the main ingredient in my flavor profiles and made sure to purchase one of the small cups available for sale.

Creamy Lemon Dill Greek Pasta Salad could be higher priced than many pasta salads; however, at $1.73 per large portion (1.5 cups for each serving minus certain pieces), it’s still quite affordable enough to serve as an ideal light lunch.

One more thing! I know that dried Dill isn’t that commonly used ingredient, and if you cannot buy it or don’t wish to buy it solely for this recipe, you can use oregano. It is also a great choice when combined with the flavors. This dressing is similar to the marinade used in the recipe I used for my Greek Marinated Chicken.


1 5oz. container of plain Greek yogurt ($1.00)

1/4 cup mayonnaise ($0.28)

One clove of minced garlic ($0.08)

One fresh citrus ( $0.67)

1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)

1/2 tsp of dried Dill ($0.05)

Cracked black pepper that is fresh($0.05)


One lb. penne ($1.29)

1 cup grape tomatoes ($1.25)

1. Cucumber (about two cups of cut) ($1.69)

1 15oz. can of artichoke hearts that have been quartered ($2.59)

1/4 onion red ($0.34)

2 oz. feta ($1.12)


Make the dressing before making it so that the flavors can mix. Use a small cheese grater with a hole to remove the zest of the lemon. Mix the Greek yogurt mayonnaise, garlic, one tablespoon of citrus juice, half a teaspoon of the tang of the lemon Dill, and salt fresh cracked pepper (about 15 to 20 cranks from the pepper mill). The dressing should be refrigerated until it is you are ready to use.

Cook the pasta in salted, lightly salted water by the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and wash briefly in cool water to cool it lower. Allow the pasta to drain until it’s dry and tacky on the outside.

While the pasta cooks, Cut the cucumber in half and then the slices into quarters. Cut the grape tomatoes in half. Finely chop the onions into pieces. The artichoke hearts should be rinsed before chopping them up into small pieces. Chop the feta cheese into chunks.

After the pasta has been excellent and drained, place the pasta in large bowls. Mix it with the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, artichoke hearts and cheese, and creamy lemon dressing with Dill. Mix to coat. Serve immediately or chill until ready for eating.