Italian Pasta Salad

Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite cold pasta salad dishes!  Fresh and colorful vegetables, cheese, salami, and Italian vinaigrette are tossed with your favorite pasta to create an unforgettable dish for just about any summer occasion.

Pasta salads are one of my go to potluck dishes from easy and fresh Greek Pasta Salad to a delicious Caesar Pasta Salad and of course my famous Dill Pickle Pasta Salad! Not only does everyone love them, pasta salads are super easy to make and  they’re even better when made ahead of time!

A bowl full of colorful Italian Pasta salad ready for a potluck!

Potluck Perfect Pasta Salad

Whenever summer rolls around, we always seem to be headed to barbecues, potlucks, and patio parties. Of course I’m always asked to bring a big pitcher of Classic Mojitos (it’s the drink I’m known for) but I almost always bring a cold pasta salad recipe along too!

This Italian Pasta Salad recipe is a really fun twist on a classic pasta salad because it’s loaded with so many goodies. It travels well and goes with pretty much anything.

Big Bold Flavors

This easy pasta salad recipe is loaded with flavor, you can add in your own favorite Italian inspired ingredients; diced artichokes and sun dried tomatoes also make great additions! 

Ingredients for pasta salad:

  • Bold Flavors: cheese, salami, olives and Italian seasonings add a big punch of flavor
  • Crunch: Bell pepper adds great  for color, crunch and flavor
  • Veggies: I love the juicy tang tomatoes add, throw in some cucumbers or any veggies you have on hand

A small serving of colorful Italian Pasta salad ready for a potluck!

Noodles for Pasta Salad

Tri-color rotini does an amazing job at holding the cheese and Italian dressing in the crevices for max flavor, but you can use shells, or whatever medium noodles you happen to have handy!

Cook the pasta al dente so it isn’t mushy and it holds up well to the dressing.

Tips to Make the Perfect Italian Pasta Salad

  • Cut your veggies small: Cutting your vegetables into pieces slightly smaller than bite-sized will ensure that you get a taste of everything in each bite!
  • Don’t overcook your noodles: Overcooking will make a mushy pasta salad as the acids from the dressing will break down the starches farther. Shock your noodles once they are cooked al dente in cold water for best results!
  • Cool your pasta before adding the toppings: You don’t want to begin to cook your vegetables while you toss everything together!
  • Let your pasta salad sit before you serve it: This gives the dressing a chance to really permeate your veggies and pasta, resulting in a more flavorful and delicious Italian pasta salad!
  • Keep it colorful: If you are adding some extra veggies you have on hand, keep your pasta salad fun and colorful! I love adding things like artichokes, shredded carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, etc.

A bowl full of colorful Italian Pasta salad ready for a party!

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing

To make this recipe quick and easy, I use a bottled Italian dressing but of course homemade Italian Dressing is amazing if you have the ingredients on hand.

Make ahead… The best thing about this pasta salad recipe is that it gets better as it sits and the flavors blend! It’s the perfect make ahead side dish, it takes 20 only about minutes to prepare. What could be better than that?

As this Italian pasta salad sits in the fridge, the acids in the dressing actually work to help break down the starches in the pasta and the proteins in the veggies, resulting in a more flavorful and tender pasta salad (so be sure not to overcook your noodles)!

To Make Homemade Italian Dressing combine the following:

Favorite Pasta Salad Recipes

Italian Pasta Salad

Tender pasta, ripe juicy tomatoes, crisp bell peppers, salami and mozzarella cheese are tossed in an Italian dressing for the perfect make ahead side dish.

  • 16 oz tricolor rotini
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (cubed)
  • 1/3 cup red onion (diced)
  • 8 oz salami (chopped)
  • 1 cup bottled Italian vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Repin this Super Summer Salad!

Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite cold pasta salad dishes!  Fresh and colorful vegetables, cheese, salami, and Italian vinaigrette are tossed with your favorite pasta to create an unforgettable dish for just about any summer occasion. #spendwithpennies #summersalad #pastasalad #easysidedish #easyrecipe #pastarecipe #healthyrecipe #freshsidedish