Italian Pasta Salad – a great cold pasta salad recipe that is perfect all summer long! It is full of pepperoni, fresh tomatoes, black olives and tossed in a zesty Italian vinaigrette.
When I was growing up we had pasta salad very often in the summer. It is such an easy side dish to have in the fridge and it goes with just about anything! My mom would sometimes use the box mix to make it or she would make a homemade version. But sliced pepperoni and black olives were added every time! And it quickly because a favorite.
I remember summers in college making a bit batch of pasta salad with Italian dressing and then having it for lunch all during the week. Depending on the week and what I had on hand, the ingredients might change. But it was always a base of pasta, pepperoni, black olives and Italian dressing. Sometimes I eat it with a slice of toast sprinkled with garlic salt, because when you are 20 years old, carbs don’t matter!
What Goes In Pasta Salad
You really can make pasta salad a million different ways, with whatever flavor combinations you like. But here are the basics
- Pasta – you want a short cut pasta like rotini, penne or bowtie pasta. You want the noodles for pasta salad to be bite sized and have plenty of nooks and crannies for the dressing to fill. This gives you great flavor in every bite.
- Veggies – Here you can get creative and mix it up. Grape tomatoes, sliced onions, black olives, bell peppers, artichoke hearts, cucumbers and really whatever else you like is great in a pasta salad.
- Protein – Pepperoni and salami are great in this version, but you could even add chicken if you wanted to bulk it up and turn it into more of a meal.
- Cheese – Cubed cheeses work great in cold pasta salads. You want them to be small enough you can get in a bite with the pasta and other veggies. I also like to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on mine.
- Dressing – You can use bottled Italian dressing for this or make it homemade.
How Long Is Pasta Salad Good For
It will last in the fridge for about 5 days. I think it is best to make it ahead and let it sit for at least a few hours before you serve it. It is great to bring to potlucks or serve get togethers because it is a pasta salad you can make ahead and have waiting for you. All of the veggies and meat in this recipe are sturdy enough to stand up to the dressing and the flavors really come together after a few hours.
If the salad does dry out, you can add more dressing to serve. This can be necessary after the 2nd day as the pasta does absorb some of the dressing as it sits.
How to Make Italian Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions and then drain really well and let cool. You want everything chilled when you are mixing it together.
- Chop your veggies into small pieces and add to a large bowl.
- Add the meat and pasta to the bowl and mix with the dressing until everything is evenly coated.
- Let the salad sit for at least an hour before serving. This just helps bring everything together and let the dressing really flavor the noodles and the veggies. If the salad is dry add more dressing when it is time to serve.
So if you are looking for something to bring to that potluck, to serve at your next get together, or just need a side dish while making Grilled Hamburgers look no further. This will quickly become a staple in your summer and you can start mixing up the veggies and adding in your favorites.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
- Taco Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Caesar Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Middle Eastern Pasta Salad
- Pasta Salad with Summer Sausage & Grilled Veggies
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- 1 pound Rotini pasta
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 8 oz pepperoni
- 1 cup Italian Dressing
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to chill the noodles.
- In a large bowl combine pasta with tomatoes, olives, parsley, and pepperoni.
- Add dressing and mix until everything is evenly coated.
- Top with cheese when ready to serve.
Best if you let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours before serving. If the salad is dry add more dressing to taste.
Amount Per ServingCalories 333Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 30mgSodium 860mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 10g
Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com should only be used as a general guideline.
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