How To Make Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Italian Pasta Salad that is both filling and refreshing! Tender pasta, smoked salami, fresh vegetables and herbs, two varieties of cheese, and a zesty homemade Italian dressing come together to form this dish.

The Perfect Summer Pasta Salad

So, what would summer be like if there wasn’t at least one BBQ or picnic that included a refreshing and absolutely delicious cold pasta salad? Because there is so much deliciousness and an abundance of fresh taste in this dish, it will quickly become a new favorite. Each of the components works wonderfully well with the others, each one enhancing the flavor of the others. It also has a nice combination of textures throughout it. Crisp, soft, and chewy are all there in equal measure. Making this side dish is a really hearty and delicious experience, and it goes great with grilled chicken, beef or fish.

For a family supper, the dish may easily be halved to accommodate everyone.

Italian Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • Italian rotini pasta
  • Salami
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Peppers
  • Red onion
  • Fresh mozzarella pearls
  • Parmesan
  • Fresh parsley and basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Lemons
  • Dijon mustard, honey
  • Red pepper flakes

The complete recipe may be seen below.

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

  1. Cook pasta: Cook pasta according to package guidelines (I boil it in 5 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon salt until it is just just al dente). Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Pasta that is cool: Transfer the pasta to a baking sheet with a rim that measures 18 by 13 inches and spread it out to cool for 15 minutes, then serve. Prepare the following ingredients for the pasta salad: Preparing the ingredients while the pasta is boiling and cooling To make Italian dressing, follow these steps: To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, mustard, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste in a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, vegetables, and cheeses: Pasta should be served cold. Combine salami, tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, red onion, mozzarella pearls, parmesan, parsley, and basil in a large mixing bowl. Serve immediately. Toss with the dressing and the pasta water and serve: Dressing should be whisked one more time before being poured over the items in the bowl along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss well to coat everything evenly. If extra space is required, include the following: Thin with additional pasta water if desired, and season with additional salt as necessary. It can be served immediately, or chilled for 1–2 hours to make a cooler, more refreshing pasta salad, as described above.

Possible Variations

Here are some excellent substitutes that you may use with what you already have on hand:

  • Another medium-sized pasta, such as fusilli, gemelli, penne, cavatappi or bow tie pasta, can be used for the fusilli
  • Cheeses: Romano cheese is a good substitute for parmesan cheese in this situation. Fresh mozzarella can be substituted with processed block mozzarella, which should be chopped into tiny pieces. Meat: Pepperoni might be used to make salami (you wouldn’t need to use as much as you would with other meats)
  • Veggies: Try substituting half of the bell pepper with a cucumber. Kalamata olives can be substituted for black olives (use half the quantity because they are quite pungent)
  • If you don’t have fresh basil, use 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil instead. It’s much less because it’s stronger and has a distinct flavor
  • Yet, Depending on how much of the flavor you want to come through (extra virgin olive oil has a greater taste), you may use either extra virgin olive oil or refined standard extra virgin olive oil for the dressing. In place of the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar can be used. For some reason, I love the citrusy flavor of lemon. If you’re in a hurry, you may use 1 cup of your favorite store-bought Italian dressing for this recipe. If it has a strong herby flavor, simply reduce the amount of herbs used in the recipe.

Helpful Tips

  • Cooking pasta past al dente will result in the pasta being quite soggy once it has absorbed some of the dressing. Just right to al dente, or even a few seconds shy of perfection
  • Cut ingredients into small pieces to ensure consistency and to ensure that every mouthful contains a little of each taste. Allow pasta salad to marinate for a few hours or overnight so that the vegetables and pasta may absorb additional flavor. Allow 1 – 2 hours for refrigerating before serving if you want a cool and refreshing salad during the hot summer months. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

More Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes to Try

  • The following pasta salad recipes are available: Caprese Pasta Salad, Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, Easy Pasta Salad, Macaroni Salad (including Mexican Macaroni Salad), Poppy Seed Chicken and Grape Pasta Salad, and Poppy Seed Chicken and Grape Pasta Salad.

Italian Pasta Salad

It’s packed with nutrients and is quite refreshing! Tender pasta, smoked salami, fresh vegetables and herbs, two varieties of cheese, and a zesty homemade Italian dressing come together to form this dish. Perfect for a picnic or a summer meal under the stars. Servings:12 Prep30minutes Cook6minutes Ready in 30 minutes or less

  • A 16-ounce bag of dry rotini
  • 10 ounces hard salami, sliced 1/4-inch thick and chopped
  • 3 cups (16 ounces) ripe grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (6-ounce) can black olives, sliced
  • 2cups chopped bell peppers (I like to use yellow and green)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 8-ounces fresh mozzarella pearls*
  • 3 ounces fresh parmesan** (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, or to taste seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cook the pasta according to the package guidelines (I cook it in 5 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon salt) until it is just about al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a baking sheet with a rim that measures 18 by 13 inches and spread it out to cool for 15 minutes, then serve. While the pasta is boiling and chilling, make the dressing by chopping the ingredients. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, mustard, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pasta should be served cold. Combine salami, tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, red onion, mozzarella pearls, parmesan, parsley, and basil in a large mixing bowl. Serve immediately. Dressing should be whisked one more time before being poured over the items in the bowl along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss well to coat everything evenly. Thin with additional pasta water if desired, and season with additional salt as necessary. It may be served immediately, or chilled for 1 – 2 hours (or up to 3 days) for a cooler, more refreshing pasta salad.
  • *If you are unable to locate pearls of fresh mozzarella in the desired size, chopped fresh mozzarella (log or ball form) can be substituted. Simply chop the meat into little pieces.
  • Cut the parmesan into 1-inch cubes and place them in the food processor to grate the cheese. Process for about a minute or so, until the basil is finely crushed
  • ***1 1/2 tsp dried basil can be substituted for the fresh
  • If using dried basil, incorporate it into the dressing before serving. This recipe yields approximately 18 cups.

Nutritional Values Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing The amount of calories in one serving is 529 calories from fat, which is 315 percent of the daily value*. The amount of fat in one serving is 35 grams. 9 g of Saturated Fat (54 percent). 3 grams of polyunsaturated fat (56 percent) Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: 20 g Cholesterol38mg Sodium (13 percent): 1005 milligrams Potassium (44 percent) 413 milligrams 12% carbohydrate content (36 grams). Sugar 5g, 12 percent Fiber 3g, and 13 percent Fiber 3g 6 percent of the total protein18g36 percent Vitamin A2063IU41 percent Vitamin C62mg Vitamin A2063IU41 percent Vitamin C62mg 75% of calcium216mg22 percent of iron2mg11 % of sodium A 2000-calorie diet is used to calculate the percent Daily Values (%DV).

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Spiral rotini pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, black olives, and feta cheese are all combined in an Italian vinaigrette for a quick and easy pasta salad that takes only minutes to prepare. This spaghetti salad dish is really simple, fast, and tasty. If you’re looking for a quick and easy Italian pasta salad recipe, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve discovered that using store-bought bottled salad dressing is the quickest and most convenient method of preparing pasta salads. It seems ridiculous, and I understand that some people may be offended because it isn’t “homemade,” but I promise you that it makes pasta salad so simple to create and so wonderful when you use this method.

The same concept as today’s, but with bottled ranch dressing and shredded parmesan cheese instead of the fresh parmesan cheese.

Using spiral noodles, diced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, black olives and red onion along with feta cheese are combined in an Italian dressing in this simple recipe for Italian pasta salad. The tastes have a wonderful blending effect!


Following the directions on the package, cook a box of multicolored rotini pasta noodles until al dente. Meanwhile, prepare a cucumber, red onion, and grape tomatoes by slicing them in half and chopping them finely. When the pasta is finished cooking, move it to a colander (which is now resting in the sink) and set it aside to drain. Make sure that the faucet is completely closed and set to cold, and allow it to flow over the pasta for several minutes so that it may cool down. You definitely don’t want to put hot spaghetti in the bowl.

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing dish and whisk until well combined.

Remember to give it a thorough stir, and you may need to add a tablespoon or two of Italian dressing to get it back to a wet consistency.


  • Before adding the dried pasta, be sure to salt the pasta water well. Make an Italian dressing that you just adore. I particularly enjoy the Olive Garden Italian dressing, therefore that is the brand that I purchase. There are a plethora of alternatives. Italian dressings with a kick: zesty Italian dressing, creamy Italian dressing, and parmesan Italian dressing. Choose one that you adore or one that sounds delectable
  • For this pasta salad, it’s better if the cucumbers are seeded first. To prepare the cucumber, first peel it and then cut it in half vertically (so you end up with two thinner, longer pieces). Make use of a metal dinner spoon to remove the seeds and meat from the fruit. The cucumber should then be sliced and diced. Use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes. Either option will be excellent
  • You may eat this pasta salad immediately or store it in the refrigerator for a few hours. In order to avoid pasta salad drying out after sitting in the fridge for a lengthy period of time, avoid making it the day before you want to serve it. As soon as you are ready to serve the salad, or as soon as you are through with the leftovers, give it a good mix and drizzle in a tablespoon or two of the dressing to moisten it all up again. The recipe asks for 3/4 cup Italian dressing, but you may adjust the amount to your liking by adding or subtracting as needed.


  • Pasta salads such as dill pickle pasta salad, caesar pesto pasta salad, quick greek pasta salad, southwest pasta salad, and summer veggie pasta salad are all popular choices.
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion, 1/2 to 1 cup Italian salad dressing, 1 box (12 oz) tricolor rotini pasta, 1 cup chopped cucumber (peeled and seeded, about one cucumber), 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes, 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives, 1/2 – 1 cup Italian salad dressing
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Keep in mind to season your pasta water with 1-2 tablespoons of salt before cooking. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and run cold water over it to allow the noodles to cool down. Combine the cooked and cooled pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and red onion in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Pour the Italian dressing over the top and toss to combine. Make a starting point of 1/2 cup Italian dressing and build on it from there. On the salad, I placed about 3/4 cup dressing on it and then set aside the remainder to drizzle over it just before serving to moisten it back up. The dish can either be served immediately or chilled for a few hours before serving. I prefer it cold, so I place it in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours before serving.

Tip: This recipe for Italian pasta salad is quite adaptable! If you want more pasta, feel free to use more than the one box that is asked for in the recipe (of course you will probably have to add more dressing). If you want more olives, tomatoes, or even red onion, then increase the amount of each component in the recipe. To make up for my love of feta cheese, I constantly add additional feta cheese to my dishes. Using an Italian dressing that you enjoy is recommended. Because the flavor is so prominent, choose a high-quality brand.

  1. It has been my experience that this is the greatest taste store-bought dressing I’ve come across.
  2. Leftovers: Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for many days, they are delicious (about 3-4 days).
  3. As a pasta salad rests in the refrigerator, the pasta will absorb the dressing, which might cause the salad to become a little dry.
  4. Preparing this salad the day before and refrigerating it for about 2 hours before serving is my preferred method.
  5. Cucumbers: I prefer to use micro cucumbers, often known as salad cucumbers, because they have a small number of seeds and are therefore less bitter.
  6. Regular cucumbers may be used, but they contain more water and seeds than baby cucumbers, so be careful to remove the seeds and pulpy material from the centre of the cucumber before cutting.
  7. You will be left with a crescent moon shape, which you may break up into smaller pieces if you choose.
  8. The recipe remains the same; just the photographs have been updated.

calorie count 313kcal|carbohydrate count 39g|protein count 9g|fat count 14g|saturated fat count 4g|cholesterol count 13 mg|sodium count 953mg|potassium count 223mg|fiber count 3g|sugar count 5g|vitamin A 369IU|vitamin C 3mg|calcium count 112mg|iron count 1 mg

Reader Interactions

FANTASTIC! This has to be one of the greatest pasta salads that I have ever cooked, however I recommend starting with only one packet of dry Italian dressing mix and working your way up from there (one was all I used and it was perfect for us). I also used one package to make the dressing that went on top of the salad, which was delicious. I used freshly grated parmesan (maybe a bit more than the recipe called for, hehe), and I believe it made a significant impact; definitely try it this way.

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on hand; I’m looking forward to trying it with fresh next time.

This is something I will definitely make again and again.

Most helpful critical review

I used green Manzanillo olives from Spain, along with pimiento from Spain, in place of black olives, and split the olives in half. The original salad combination was a little bland, so I season it with a little of salt, pepper, dried oregano, and basil before mixing it all together. Bingo. The salad sprang to life, just as I had said it would. More information can be found at

  • 5star ratings received: 119
  • 4star ratings received: 25 3star values are 5, 2star values are 0, and 1star values are 1.

FANTASTIC! This has to be one of the greatest pasta salads that I have ever cooked, however I recommend starting with only one packet of dry Italian dressing mix and working your way up from there (one was all I used and it was perfect for us). I also used one package to make the dressing that went on top of the salad, which was delicious. I used freshly grated parmesan (maybe a bit more than the recipe called for, hehe), and I believe it made a significant impact; definitely try it this way.

  • on hand; I’m looking forward to trying it with fresh next time.
  • This is something I will definitely make again and again.
  • Among my male companions, this spaghetti salad was a huge success.
  • I used 1 cup of Italian salad dressing from the grocery store.
  • I started with one 7oz.
  • This is a salad that becomes better in flavor the longer it sits on the counter to blend flavors.
  • That is significant in our household, as we have three individuals that pack practically every day of the week.

The original salad combination was a little bland, so I season it with a little of salt, pepper, dried oregano, and basil before mixing it all together.

The salad sprang to life, just as I had said it would.

It is possible to lessen the amount of salami used without hurting the flavor.

  1. As an alternative to the traditional Italian dressing, I discovered an avocado dressing at the grocery store, which I substituted.
  2. It was just fantastic!
  3. I intended to include cucumber, but I forgot to pick it up at the supermarket.
  4. It was a hit with the kids!
  5. After reading previous reviews, I chose to use only one packet of the seasoning mix instead of the three asked for, and I increased the amount of Italian dressing by half a cup.
  6. Tomatoes would also be a fantastic addition to this dish.
  7. This salad was sent to a church lunch.
  8. I sliced the peppers a little smaller than usual, but there were no other changes.
  9. Continue reading It tastes nice, but there is less oil in the dressing.

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite cold spaghetti salad recipes to eat in the summertime! Fresh and bright veggies, cheese, salami, and an Italian vinaigrette are combined with your favorite pasta to make an amazing dish that can be served for just about any summer gathering or event. One of my favorite potluck foods is pasta salad, which may range from a simple and freshGreek Pasta Salad to a wonderful Caesar Pasta Salad and, of course, my famousDill Pickle Pasta Salad. Apart from the fact that everyone enjoys them, pasta salads are also extremely simple to prepare and taste much better when made ahead of time!

Potluck Perfect Pasta Salad

The first few weeks of summer usually seem to find us at barbecues, potlucks, and patio gatherings of one kind or another. In addition to bringing a large pitcher of Classic Mojitos (which is my signature drink), I generally always bring a recipe for a cold pasta salad as well as the mojitos. It’s easy to see why this Italian Pasta Salad dish is such a fun take on a standard pasta salad recipe since it’s packed with so many delicious ingredients. It’s lightweight and versatile, and it goes with almost anything.

Big Bold Flavors

This simple pasta salad dish is packed with flavor, and you can customize it by include your favorite Italian-inspired ingredients such as chopped artichokes and sundried tomatoes. For the pasta salad, you will need the following ingredients:

  • The use of strong flavors, such as cheese, salami, olives, and Italian spices, gives this dish a powerful punch of flavor. Bell pepper adds a tremendous deal of color, crunch, and taste to the dish. I really like the juicy tang tomatoes provide to the dish
  • You can also add cucumbers or any other vegetables you have on hand.

Noodles for Pasta Salad

Rotini in three colors does an excellent job of retaining the cheese and Italian dressing in the crevices for maximum taste, but shells or whatever medium noodles you happen to have on hand would work just as well. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, so that it does not get mushy and can withstand the dressing.

Tips to Make the Perfect Italian Pasta Salad

  • Cut your vegetables into tiny pieces: By cutting your veggies into pieces that are little smaller than bite-sized, you can ensure that you receive a taste of everything in every bite. Take care not to overcook your noodles: Overcooking will result in a mushy pasta salad, since the acids in the dressing will break down the starches even further as the pasta is cooked. To get the finest results, shock your noodles in cold water after they have been cooked al dente. Allow the pasta to cool completely before adding the toppings: During the process of mixing everything together, you don’t want to start cooking your veggies. Allow your pasta salad to settle for a few minutes before serving it: Because of this, the dressing has a better chance of permeating your vegetables and pasta, yielding a more flavorful and delectable Italian pasta salad. Keep it colorful: If you’re include any additional vegetables that you happen to have on hand, make your pasta salad as vibrant and lively as possible! Things like artichokes, shredded carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables are some of my favorite additions.

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing

I use a bottled Italian dressing to make this dish quick and simple, but if you have the ingredients on hand, you can create your own Italian dressing, which is very delicious. Prepare ahead of time. This spaghetti salad dish is particularly delicious since it becomes better as it sits and the flavors combine! It’s the perfect side dish to prepare ahead of time because it just takes around 20 minutes to put together. What could be more satisfying than that? Once chilled, the acids in the dressing work to help break down the starches in the pasta and proteins in the vegetables, resulting in a more flavorful and tender pasta salad (be careful not to overcook your noodles!).

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or use half olive oil and half vegetable oil)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian spice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Favorite Pasta Salad Recipes

  • Recipes include Caprese Pasta Salad, Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad, Bow Tie Pasta Salad, BLT Pasta Salad, Easy Greek Pasta Salad, Dill Pickle Pasta Salad, and Dill Pickle Pasta Salad.

Italian Pasta Salad

Preparation time: 15 minutes 15 minutes to prepare 2 Hours of Relaxation Time allotted: 2 hours and 30 minutes Servings12servings The ultimate make-ahead side dish is created by tossing tender pasta with juicy tomatoes, crisp bell peppers, salami, and mozzarella cheese in an Italian vinaigrette.

  • 16 ounces tricolor rotini
  • 8 ounces balsamic vinegar chopped
  • 1 cup Italian vinaigrette dressing (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 12 cup sliced black olives
  • 12 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 12 cup orange bell pepper diced
  • 12 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 13 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 12 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

FollowSpend with Pennies on Pinterest for more information.

  • Cook the pasta until it is al dente according to the guidelines on the package. After rinsing with cold water, In a large mixing basin, combine all of the ingredients. Toss everything together
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before to serving time.

In a well sealed container in the refrigerator, it can keep for up to 3 days. Give the leftovers a good swirl and, if required, add extra dressing to bring the flavors together. Calories:325, Nutritional Information: Carbohydrates: 34g, protein: 13g, fat: 15g, saturated fat: 5g, cholesterol: 24mg, sodium: 818mg, potassium: 314mg, fiber: 2g, sugar: 5g, vitamin A: 855IU, vitamin C: 24mg, calcium: 104mg, iron: 1mg (The nutritional information supplied is an estimate, and it will vary depending on the cooking technique and the brands of components used).

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We invite you to share this dish with your friends and family. It is extremely forbidden to copy and/or paste whole recipes into any social media platform. Please see my photo usage policy, which may be found here. Save this Super Summer Salad to your Pinterest board!

The Best Easy Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad – made with pasta, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spicy salami, pepperoncini, olives, and a simple Italian vinaigrette – is quick and easy to prepare. DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS. Meet your new best friend for the summer: A ridiculously simple pasta salad made with spaghetti, juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red onion, salami, olives, herbs, and a smothering of a fast homemade dressing is served at the table. If you want to know what I’ve been eating for four of my past five meals, go no further than THIS SUMMER ESSENTIAL BOOK.

Let’s take a time to reflect on this together.

  • Attending a picnic, potluck, or other end-of-summer get-together when everyone brings something to share
  • Attending a concert
  • Taking care of the leftover meat, cheese, and veggies in my fridge and transforming them into a dinner that I could enjoy every single day

This spaghetti salad will satisfy both of your needs.

How Do You Make Pasta Salad?

Do you have two and a half seconds left on the clock? Cool. You will require the following materials: It’s just some random crap. It has a great deal of adaptability. The following are some of my favorite pasta salad toppings: Salami with a kick of heat. Cheeses that are delicious. Tomatoes or some other non-threatening vegetable that is nice to you. Greens of some type – even if it’s only a handful of fresh parsley – are always welcome. Olives, red onions, and pepperoncini are among the ingredients.

Rotini is one of my favorite pasta dishes.

When it comes to sauce soakage, the semi-rough texture is unparalleled.

What About A Pasta Salad Dressing?

Thank you for your inquiry. This is quite crucial. We’re in desperate need of a zesty Italian dressing. Using a blender or food processor, it takes around 60 seconds to make it from scratch. You prepared that dressing, you are the pasta salad king or queen. The final step is to Toss everything together, taste, and adjust as needed, and use every self-control muscle in your body to avoid devouring the entire dish before everyone arrives at the party. I’d want to provide one more piece of advise.

This is the perfect supper for a busy weeknight.

Cook some spaghetti, put it all together, and you’ve got yourself a meal.

I’ll be there in a jiffy, promise.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Pasta Salad:

A quick and easy pasta salad with spaghetti, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spicy salami, pepperoncini, olives, and a simple Italian vinaigrette is all you need. DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS.

Pasta Salad Essentials:

  • 2 pounds raw pasta
  • 3 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls
  • 1 pound salami or summer sausage sliced into cubes
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta 3/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 3/4 cup pepperoncini (optional, but do it)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (either white vinegar or red wine vinegar will work)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (yes, tablespoons – see notes! )
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons each dried oregano and dried basil
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs if desired I occasionally garnish with fresh parsley, basil, or chives.
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package recommendations, adding salt to the water to enhance the flavor. After allowing it cool slightly, drizzle a little oil over the top to keep it from sticking. Shake the dressing together in a jar or blend it in a blender. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It’s best for me to use around three-quarters of the dressing and then keep the remaining dressing to use on leftovers. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. I believe it tastes finest the next day after it is prepared
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Salt For your information, please keep in mind that the amount indicated is for COARSE sea salt. If you’re using fine table salt, start with 2 tablespoons and adjust the seasoning to your liking. The dressing will be quite salty in its own right. For example, a typical salad would be far too salty. However, with this recipe, that is exactly what we want! It will be combined with a whole pound of plain spaghetti and a large amount of fresh, unseasoned veggies, and it will taste absolutely great after everything has been mixed together.

To make a more veg-forward version, try adding blanched green beans, fresh spinach, artichokes, red or yellow peppers, chickpeas, or other vegetables.

Alternatively, various varieties of cheese (feta? parmesan?) or different forms of pasta (penne? fusili?) might be used. (Perhaps even some tortellini?). The options are virtually limitless. I enjoy this salad as-is, but I really appreciate how adaptable it is!

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American
  • Time: 30 minutes

Pasta salad, pasta salad recipe, finest pasta salad, potluck dish, summer meal are some of the terms that come to mind. Recipe Card created with the assistance of

Try Our Other Pasta Salad Recipes

  • Pasta Salad with Marinated Chickpeas (fresh, bright, and easy! )
  • Zippy Orzo Summer Salad (made easy with rotisserie chicken)
  • Lemongrass Vermicelli Salad (that dressing, though)
  • Spicy Peanut Soba Noodle Salad (lots of fresh veggies and noodles – just how we like it)
  • And Lemongrass Vermicelli Salad.

One More Thing!

This recipe is a part of our collection of quick and simple pasta dishes. Take a look at it!

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad (Potluck Salad) Recipe

It is possible that this content contains affiliate links. Please see our privacy and disclosure policy for more information. Make this colorful, vibrant, and savory Italian pasta salad for large gatherings. Fresh vegetables, soft pasta, and a vibrant homemade Italian vinaigrette make this dish a winner! This salad is excellent for a gathering! Pasta salads are my summertime weakness, and I love them. With soft pasta, bright and crisp vegetables, and a zingy homemade Italian dressing that gets into the small grooves of the pasta and leaves a flavor explosion in your tongue, this dish is a one-bowl marvel!

However, because it is such a simple recipe, you can simply double, treble, or even quadruple the quantities without having to perform any complicated calculations!

The fact is that it is the most effective method to clean out the fridge and serve alongside grilled chicken or as a light and simple midweek supper option.

Ingredients to make a homemade potluck Italian pasta salad:

  • Pasta: You may use any medium-cut pasta that you choose for this recipe. I prefer to use tri-colored noodles to brighten up the salad and offer a pop of color. Keep in mind that we consume with our eyes first. With the addition of garbanzo beans, my antipasto pasta salad is truly totally vegetarian! However, in order to bulk up this salad, I added a can of washed and drained garbanzo beans, which you can see at the bottom of the recipe (if you’re interested). This salad is bursting with color and freshness, thanks to the addition of fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped green bell peppers, and red onions. Black olives: These lend a lovely briny taste to the dish. You may substitute green olives for the black olives if you like a different flavor, but black olives lend the right flavor to this dish. Pepperoncini peppers: another another burst of briny taste! My favorite part of pepperoncini chicken is the pepperoncini sauce, and this small ingredient adds a ton of flavor to this pasta salad. Fresh cheese: The salad is enriched with fresh pearl mozzarella balls, which provide creaminess. If you are unable to locate the smaller mozzarella balls, feel free to substitute a giant mozzarella ball sliced into small pieces. The addition of grated parmesan enhances the nuttiness and saltiness of the salad. Freshly grated parmesan is what I use, but you may easily purchase shredded parmesan if you’d want it to stand out more aesthetically in the salad. Fresh parsley infuses the salad with a burst of freshness and a splash of vibrant green color. If you want to add even more color and taste, you may increase the amount of parsley by up to double. Italian dressing: When I prepare this salad, I use my own homemade Italian dressing. When time is of the essence and you don’t want to spend the additional 5 minutes preparing the dressing, you may substitute a cup (or more) of this dressing instead

How do you make Italian pasta salad at home?

  1. Make the necessary preparations. Begin by bringing a big pot of water to a boil on the stovetop. When the water is boiling, add a sufficient amount of salt. Given that we’ll be rinsing the pasta under cold running water, we’ll need to use a lot of salt when we’re boiling it to ensure that some of the flavor is retained after it’s been rinsed. While the pasta is boiling, prepare the fresh vegetables for the salad by slicing or dicing them into small pieces. Rinse the pasta under cold running water to chill it down and remove all of the excess starch from the pasta shells. Toss it with the rest of the ingredients when it has soaked up all the liquid. Preparing the salad is the next step. Toss the pasta in a large mixing basin with the other ingredients until everything is well-combined. In a separate bowl, whisk up the dressing and continue to toss the salad until the items are equally covered. Taste and season with salt if necessary to your liking. Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours before serving to give all of the flavors a chance to meld together properly.

FAQs and Tips to make the best Italian Pasta Salad:

  1. Is it necessary to use three-color pasta? No, you may also use the standard one-color pasta if you want! You may easily make this dish with whole wheat pasta if you choose. It’s my preference to use tri-color because it adds more color to the salad, but it’s completely optional. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. It’s critical to cook the pasta until it’s al dente but still has a bite to it. During the course of the meal, the acid in the dressing will continue to break down the starches in the pasta, resulting in it becoming mushy. Don’t use any oil or butter while cooking your pasta. Make careful to rinse the pasta under cold running water to remove extra starch and prevent it from sticking together. Make an effort to avoid using any oil or butter when cooking the pasta. Because of this, the pasta will develop a slick coating on top, which will prevent it from soaking up the Italian dressing, and the pasta will lack its characteristic robust taste. Is it possible to use salami in this salad? Yes, you can! I decided to make this salad vegetarian-friendly, so I substituted garbanzo beans for the chickpeas
  2. However, you may easily add a 12 pound of salami if you choose. Allow the salad tastes to’marinate’ for a few minutes. Allowing the pasta salad to sit for a couple of hours will aid in mixing everything together and bringing all of the flavors together.

Other salad recipes to try:

  • The Mediterranean Pasta Salad, the Addicting Macaroni Salad, the Lemon Basil Arugula Pasta Salad, the Classic Summer Coleslaw, the Sour Cream Chive Potato Salad, the Marinated Feta Greek Salad, the Marinated Mozzarella Tomato Salad, the Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad


  • 16 ounces dried tri-colored rotini pasta
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can roasted red peppers
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced black olives
  • 1-1/2 cups diced green bell peppers
  • 12-cup sliced red onions
  • 12-cup Pepperoncini peppers, thinly sliced
  • 8-ounces pearl mozzarella (or small mozzarella cheese balls cut in half)
  • 14 cup each: grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley
  • 1-1/2 batches prepared Italian dressing


  1. COOK THE PASTA: Boil the pasta until al dente according to package guidelines in a big pot of extra salted water until the pasta is al dente. Remove the pasta from the heat and rinse it under cold running water until it is cool. Drainage should be adequate. IN A LARGE BOWL, combine all of the salad ingredients and mix them together thoroughly. Drizzle with the Italian dressing and mix until all of the ingredients are evenly covered with dressing. To check for salt, taste and adjust as required. Allow the pasta salad to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until it is time to serve.


  • I left it vegetarian so that everyone may enjoy it
  • However, you are welcome to add up to 8 ounces of salami if you choose. Keep leftover pasta salad in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you have any leftover salad, you may want to make an extra batch of dressing so that you have some on hand. Salad that has been freshly dressed before serving will have the same freshness and flavor as new.

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Loaded Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

This is the tastiest Italian pasta salad dish you will ever prepare thanks to a few easy guidelines. Extremely delightful, with a ton of crunch and color, as well as a delicious flavor. And you’ll adore the simple and light homemade Italian dressing that puts it all together, which is included. This macaroni salad is perfect for serving a large group of people, and the leftovers will keep for many days! It’s one of my favorite recipes to cook all year long: cold pasta salad with Italian dressing.

However, because it is even better the next day, it is ideal for lunch preparation.

What’s not to like about this?

It is only a few things that make all the difference.

What kind of pasta is good for pasta salad?

When creating Italian pasta salad, small pasta with some texture is preferable over long spaghetti. In order for every mouthful to be wonderful, you’ll want to include twists and turns, as well as nooks and crannies, where the flavors may be captured and retained. In this dish, I usedfussilipasta, but farfalle, rotini, and cavatappi are all excellent substitutes as well. Tube pasta, such as penne, is excellent for dishes that call for sauces such as pesto, and it will work well here as well. However, avoid adding pasta completely, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, since all of the delicious Italian dressing will just sink to the bottom of the dish, leaving you with something considerably less appetizing to eat.

Take my word for it! In addition, for those of you who are strictly following a Mediterranean diet, seek for whole wheat short pasta, which is the more nutritionally balanced alternative for you to choose.

More important tips

  • Dried pasta should be preferred over fresh spaghetti. In this situation, dried pasta performs significantly better than fresh spaghetti — it will not tear as readily and leftovers will store nicely in the refrigerator. Not to add that it is the less expensive and more convenient alternative
  • Make sure to season your pasta water properly. While boiling the pasta, season the water with more salt than you would typically use since you want the pasta to be well-seasoned
  • Cook for a few minutes longer than al dente. As a result, it is important to boil pasta for a few minutes longer than recommended to ensure that it remains moist and soft when served cold. Just be careful not to overcook it because you still need it to be sturdy as the dish’s base
  • Do not rinse the pasta with cold water after it has finished cooking! Instead, rapidly and loosely drain it in a big colander and lay it aside to cool down for a few minutes before continuing (you still want it somewhat warm). In order for the dressing to stick to your pasta, it is necessary to use starch from the cooking water. Furthermore, washing the pasta will cause it to cool down too much, preventing it from absorbing the great Italian dressing and the rest of the tastes.

What goes in pasta salad?

To my palate, the components of an excellent pasta salad strike the perfect balance between texture and flavor. Here is an example of what I used:

  • Pasta with a curly shape. I use fusilli, but any short to medium-length pasta with some texture, such as rotini, farfalle, cavatappi, rotelle, shells, or gemelli, will work well in this recipe. As previously said, simply make sure it has some structure and form that will hang on to the tastes and goodness
  • Fresh veggies for crunch and color
  • And a sufficient amount of salt and pepper. Bell peppers are my favorite ingredient in this dish, and any hue would work. I also use shallots, which are a milder-flavored onion (but red onions can be substituted if you don’t have any shallots). My favorite red veggies are grape tomatoes, which you can use whole or chop in half to release some of their juices. Marinated vegetables provide a tangy flavor to this dish. Pepperoncini, artichoke hearts, and olives are all common ingredients in Italian cuisine, and they provide just the proper amount of sharpness and intensity to this dish. Yummy! If you can’t locate pepperoncini, you may substitute some sun-dried tomatoes or banana peppers for the Italian sausage. Fresh mozzarella is a delicacy. Soft and creamy texture clings to the many shapes surrounding it, enriching each savory mouthful with a dash of tangy cheese that is always appreciated. You may use a large piece of mozzarella and rip it up, or a few little snack-size mozzarella balls, depending on what you have on hand
  • Herbs that are in season. For the fresh seasoning, I prefer to use basil and parsley, which are both strong, fragrant herbs that lend a sweet and earthy flavor to this pasta salad. I prefer to roughly cut the herbs to unleash their oils, and I like to cook Italian meats with them. I used a little amount of spicy salami in this dish, but you could use any mix of pepperoni, capicola, hot ham capicola, or even prosciutto if you want your salad with a little more meat. Italian pasta salad is also wonderful without the addition of meat.
See also:  How To Make Tuna Pasta

Pasta salad dressing

So I talk a lot about finding the right balance because I feel it is the key to creating a great, enticing food. The lightness of the pasta salad dressing is appropriate given that we are adding some heavier, full-flavored mix-ins (artichoke hearts, salami, pepperoncini, garlic, etc.). As a result, the tastes do not compete with one another but rather compliment one another. A good quality extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, fresh garlic, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of kosher salt and black pepper are used to make this homemade Italian salad dressing, which is light and zesty.

Pour the dressing over the pasta while it is still warm to provide the greatest flavor; remember what I said before about not rinsing the pasta in cold water!

However, while the pasta remains warm and starchy, it will absorb more of the dressing’s taste, which is precisely what we want in each mouthful!

How do you make pasta salad from scratch?

The preparation of this chilled pasta salad could not be simpler. It literally consists of three major steps:

  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until it is al dente (but as I said earlier, going a little past al dante is okay and can help keep the pasta salad moist). Don’t forget to thoroughly salt your water. Drain the water and set it aside to allow it to cool. Keep in mind that you should not rinse it with cold water. Combine the spaghetti with the other ingredients. Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Add the tomatoes (whole or half! ), chopped vegetables, artichoke hearts (with or without the pepperoncini), salami, mozzarella, and fresh herbs. In a second smaller dish or measuring cup, combine the dressing ingredients and pour over the pasta to coat evenly. Toss everything together

Make-ahead tips

This simple Italian pasta salad may be prepared up to a day ahead of time, making it ideal for entertaining guests. Prepare the Italian dressing ahead of time and keep it in a mason jar until you’re ready to assemble the salad! Chop all of the herbs, vegetables, and meat ahead of time and set aside.


If kept in an airtight container, Italian pasta salad can keep for up to 4 to 5 days. And, if you believe you’ll have leftovers, create some additional dressing to use as a refresher for the pasta salad because the most of the dressing will have already been absorbed into the noodles by that point.

Can you freeze pasta salad?

Pasta salad may be frozen for up to 3 months at a time. If you make it with the dressing separately, split the portions and freeze them in individual containers. Alternatively, it is OK to freeze everything together in a single container as well. For quick thawing, set the container out on the counter for a couple of hours, and it should be ready to eat within a couple of hours, or place it in the refrigerator overnight.

What goes well with pasta salad?

This filling Italian pasta salad may be served as a whole meal on its own, and I frequently have it for lunch. And it’s a no-brainer for the next BBQ party. However, it is a delicious side dish for supper when served alongside other main dishes such as:

  • Baked Cod
  • Salmon Kabobs
  • Or Salmon Burgers
  • Italian Baked Chicken Breast
  • OrBaked Chicken Drumsticks
  • Baked Cod
  • Bake

You may also like

  • Orzo salad with vegetables from the Mediterranean
  • Shrimp Pasta
  • Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Do you want to know more? Browse moreMediterranean dishes or my selection of Italian recipes!

Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

  • Crunchy vegetables and fresh herbs are combined with rustic old-world salami, acidic olives, and mozzarella in this flavor-packed chilled pasta salad. Everything is brought together with a zingy Italian dressing. Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes CourseSaladCuisineItalianServings10Calories292.3kcal
  • Pasta (I prefer fusilli or rotini pasta as a starting point)
  • 1pintcherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1bell pepperany color, cored and chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1pintcherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1shallotchopped
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil 1 14 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 6 pepperoncini, diced
  • 6 to 8 ounces salami, divided into bite-size pieces
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, torn (or mozzarella cheese balls)
  • 12 cup packed chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 6 ounces


  • 15 ounces extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the package directions until the pasta is al dente (don’t forget to salt the water as you cook the pasta). Drain
  • Prepare pasta by tossing it with the tomatoes, chopped vegetables, artichoke hearts, olives, pepperoncini, salami, mozzarella and fresh herbs in a large mixing bowl
  • Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small dish or measuring cup
  • Set aside. Drizzle dressing over the spaghetti and gently mix to combine.
  • This recipe yields around 12 cups of pasta salad, making it an excellent side dish for a large group of people. Leftovers will store nicely in the refrigerator (in a jar with a tight-fitting cover) for up to 4 days
  • Check out Our Shop to get high-quality Mediterranean items such as olive oils and spices.

Calories:292.3kcal Carbohydrates:31.1g Protein:13.2g 4.6 g of saturated fat Cholesterol:26.9mg Sodium:748.4mg Potassium:331.2mg Fiber:2.7g Vitamin A: 1238.5 International Units (IU).

39.5 milligrams of vitamin C Calcium:117.8mg Iron:1.6mg

This Loaded Italian Pasta Salad Is Better Than Any Mayo Drenched Pasta Salad

Pasta salad, in our opinion, is a must-have for summer potlucks. No matter what type of pasta salad you’re creating, whether Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad or Pimiento Pasta Salad, there are a few tips and tactics to make your dish stand out on the community table. Continue reading for more of our favorite tips and tricks! Pasta Should Be Respected When it comes to pasta salad, the only thing that makes it good is good pasta. Because it’s the cornerstone of the whole dish! When boiling spaghetti for pasta salad, or basically any recipe that includes pasta, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Adding salt to your water is a good idea. You can only season the spaghetti this way, since that’s the only way to do it! We usually use 2 teaspoons of kosher salt per pound of dried pasta, unless otherwise specified. Despite the fact that it appears to be a lot, it is the right quantity to improve the flavor of your pasta
  2. Be sure you cook it al dente. What is the boiling time shown on the back of the box? It is a LIE! As a general rule, we’ve found that it takes around half the time that the main brands require. Instead of 9 to 10 minutes, 4 to 5 minutes is more appropriate here. Start tasting as soon as possible to avoid mushy pasta. mushy = mushy The pasta will have a tiny carryover in the cooking process, so don’t be afraid to remove it from the heat too soon. Furthermore, once it has been in the dressing for a short period of time, it will soften again
  3. Thus, do not rinse your pasta. After pasta has been drained, it maintains a light layer of starch, which may be thought of as the glue that holds your dressing to the cooked pasta during the preparation process. If you rinse away the starch, the surface will be smooth, and the dressing will have a more difficult time sticking to the wound site. We want to maintain the starchy layer on our pasta because we want our pasta and dressing to remain inseparable.

Make Certain That the Mix-Ins Are Correct When it comes to pasta salad mix-ins, variety is the spice of life. Isn’t that how the term goes? Isn’t it? But, in all seriousness, it’s all about the diversity. Texture, taste, and color variety are all important. We eat with our eyes first, after all! All of that diversity helps to create a sense of balance in your salad, so make sure you include a range of opposing items. As an illustration: Adding Creamy or Fatty Ingredients Every mouthful should have the following ingredients: quartered mozzarella balls, crumbled bacon, shaved gouda, slices of avocado, crumbled feta, prosciutto, or minced salami are all excellent choices.

  • Crunchy/Fresh Ingredients to Add to Your Salad We’re talking about vegetables!
  • Choose your favorite items from the list!
  • After all, it is the summer!
  • Ingredients with a Lot of Flavor These components may transform your pasta salad into a complete dinner.
  • Mix-Ins with a Salty Flavour In our salads, a blast of salty taste is a must-have.
  • Mix-Ins with a Variety of Flavors Fresh herbs and citrus come to mind when we think of bright tastes; these are the types of ingredients that will give your salad an extra burst of freshness and flavor.
  • Please feel free to blend three or four different varieties of herbs; the more the merrier!
  • Make Certain That the Dressing is Proper The dressing serves as a great unifier for the entire ensemble.
  • Bright but not astringent, full-bodied but not greasy, tasty but not overbearing, and correctly seasoned, your dressing should be the star of the show.

You’ll find that dressing is one of the easiest things to taste and tweak as you’re creating it, so as soon as you’ve found the right balance, you’ll be ready to go. Here’s what you’ll require:

  1. When it comes to oil, choose your preferred extra-virgin olive oil if you want that lovely rich flavor
  2. Otherwise, use a neutral oil such as vegetable oil or grape seed oil. Wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and other vinegars are some of our favorites, but there are many others that are equally excellent. Make an effort to match your vinegar to your mix-ins. In the following example, sliced cabbage, red peppers, and chopped peanuts equal rice wine vinegar. Balsamic or red wine vinegar goes well with basil, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella. Adding flavorings such as minced garlic or shallots, fresh or dried herbs, spices, or even a scoop of dijon mustard would be excellent additions to this dish. You can tell your dressing is unique by the flavorings it contains. Sweeteners: Although they are not strictly essential, we have found that our dressings can be a little too acidic at times. (Also known as the burning sensation at the back of your throat when you taste anything.) A teaspoon or two of honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or even simple sugar might help to balance out the acidity of a dish. Creaminess: While not strictly essential, if you’re looking for a more opulent dressing, consider adding a dollop of mayonnaise! With this addition, your pasta salad takes on a more classic feel, which we appreciate. If you’re not a fan of dairy, pureeing your dressing with ripe avocado is a delicious alternative.

Spend less time preparing the dressing by doing so ahead of time! Combine the ingredients and place them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve your pasta. In addition, the dressing will taste better this way! Leftovers Do you have any leftovers? You’re in luck! The pasta salad will keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days after it is made. Did you make it? Do you have any questions or remarks? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below. (Don’t forget to give it a rating!) Note from the editor: A more detailed description of the meal was added to the introduction of this recipe on April 15, 2021 to reflect the most recent changes.

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