Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

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Indulge in the flavors of Italy with this irresistible Italian pasta salad. Each bite is bursting with flavor from cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, salami, olives, and fresh herbs topped with zesty Italian dressing. It’s like a taste of sunny Italy!

If you want to bring more international flair to your table, check out these other recipes from around the globe; Mexican pasta salad, Asian Ramen salad, or this Greek tzatziki pasta salad.

Overhead shot of a large bowl of Italian pasta salad with wooden spoon sticking out

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and Easy: This Italian pasta salad recipe comes together quickly and easily. All ingredients are ready to go, you just need to chop, slice, dice, and combine!
  • Versatile: I love how versatile this recipe is. You can omit or add items according to your preferences!
  • Great for Entertaining: This recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd! It’s hearty and bursting with flavors that both young and old enjoy!

Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

I love making this recipe when I need something quick and easy, especially when I need to feed a group. First of all, having the pasta as a base makes this hearty and filling. There is something for everyone to enjoy!

Additionally, any store-bought Italian dressing works to dress this salad, however I love using my copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing or Easy Italian Dressing. It adds authenticity, but my guests always know the salad was made with love!

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Italian Pasta Salad?

As mentioned above, this recipe is great because you can customize it to suit your tastes. I love the fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, al dente pasta, and salty cheeses. For exact measurements of each item, see the recipe card below.

  • Rotini Pasta: Is the base for the salad and absorbs the dressing.
  • Salami: Adds a savory flavor and chewy texture.
  • Small Pepperonis: Introduces a spicy taste and meaty texture.
  • Black Olives: Provides saltiness with a firm texture.
  • Green Bell Pepper: Offers a fresh, crisp texture and mild sweetness.
  • Red Onion: Adds a pop of color, sharp flavor, and crunch.
  • Grape Tomatoes: Contributes a sweet, tangy flavor and pop of color.
  • Fresh Parsley: Brings a beautiful green color and herby flavor.
  • Fresh Basil: Adds a sweet-peppery flavor that enhances the overall freshness.
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese: Provides a salty, nutty taste and gritty texture that complements the pasta.
  • Fresh Mozzarella: Offers a creamy mild flavor and soft texture.
  • Italian Dressing: This ties all the ingredients together with its tangy-sweet flavor and adds moisture to enhance the consistency of the salad.
Overhead shot of all of the ingredients in glass bowls and individually labeled.

How do I Make Italian Pasta Salad?

Although the list of ingredients may seem long, they’re all ready to go—you’ll just need to chop, slice, or dice them!

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and toss together until everything is well mixed and coated in the dressing.
  2. Serve immediately or cover and serve within 24 hours.

Tips and Substitution Ideas

To ensure your Italian pasta salad turns out how you want it, follow these tips below.

  • Pasta Variations: Use your favorite kind of pasta! I like the shape of rotini, but any bite-size pasta shape will work well. You can even use brown rice or chickpea pasta to make this salad gluten-free. 
  • Al Dente: Cook your noodles just until they are al dente! If you overcook your pasta, it will get mushy and break apart when you stir all the ingredients together.
  • Absorption: Pasta salad tends to absorb liquid as it sits, so keep that in mind if you are making the pasta salad in advance. If I prepare the pasta salad the night before, I like to reserve about ¼ of the bottle of dressing to toss with the pasta salad right before I serve it. 
  • Customizable: You can easily customize the ingredients by adding alternative veggies or cheeses or omitting the ones you do not like.

Side view of large bowl with pasta salad ingredients in piles. Someone is pouring Italian dressing into the bowl.

How to Store Leftover Pasta Salad

Whether you prepare this pasta ahead of time or enjoy it as leftovers, the noodles will absorb some of the sauce. Be sure to have a little extra sauce on hand to add right before serving.

**Note that the salami and pepperoni may lose a bit of their color after 2 days or so, but that does not mean they have gone bad.**

Close up shot of pasta salad with rotini noodles, tomatoes, bits of red onion, olives, salami, green pepper and cheese.

More Ideas for Similar Dishes

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  • Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and toss together until everything is well mixed and coated in the dressing.

  • Serve immediately or cover and serve within 24 hours.

Calories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 14gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 994mgPotassium: 320mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 571IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 124mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.