As the temperature rises, there’s nothing better than a refreshing and flavorful pasta salad. This Italian pasta salad recipe is the perfect balance of convenience and taste. It brings back childhood memories of my mom’s quick and easy pasta salad, but with a homemade twist that will impress your family and friends.
Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
When it comes to easy recipes that everyone will love, this Italian pasta salad ticks all the boxes:
- It can be made ahead of time.
- It comes together in no time, even when you’re unprepared.
- It’s packed with the classic Italian flavor that we all adore.
- And it’s customizable based on your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand.
This versatile recipe is great for using up leftovers or for those times when you come home to an empty fridge after a vacation.
Italian Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to create this delectable Italian pasta salad:
- Medium-sized pasta (such as rotini)
- Sliced olives
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cheddar cheese
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Parmesan cheese
Italian Pasta Salad Dressing
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried oregano
- Dried parsley
- Black pepper
- Dried thyme
- Dried basil
- Vinegar (any flavor works well)
- Olive oil
(See recipe card for complete ingredient amounts and instructions)
Pasta Italian Salad – Notes on Ingredients
Let’s talk about the key players in this classic Italian pasta salad:
- Pasta: Any type of pasta, except for long noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine, will work perfectly. I suggest using smaller noodles that can easily fit on a spoon. If you’re short on time, here’s a trick: freeze cooked pasta, and you’ll cut your prep time down to practically nothing.
- Sliced Olives: I personally love black olives, but you can use green olives too.
- Tomatoes: Halved cherry tomatoes are the quickest to prepare, but any tomatoes will work. If you opt for bigger tomatoes, cut them into pieces about the size of the noodles.
- Cheddar Cheese Cubes: This is optional, but it adds a delicious touch of protein. Mozzarella cheese is a suitable substitute, but I recommend buying the bricks instead of the bite-sized cubes to save money.
- Pepperoni: Choose a nitrate-free version if possible, as consuming too many nitrates is not healthy. If you prefer not to use processed meat, cubed chicken or turkey will work just as well!
- Sun-dried Tomatoes: This is optional, but it helps create that authentic, copycat flavor.
- Parmesan Cheese: Again, optional, but it adds a big flavor punch.
Feel free to get creative and add other ingredients like cucumbers, bell peppers, summer squash, small broccoli florets, or red onion if you have them on hand or want to use up your garden’s bounty.
How to Make My Italian Salad Pasta Recipe
Let’s dive into how to prepare this delightful Italian pasta salad step by step:
Step 1. Prepare the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain and briefly rinse with cool water.
Step 2. Prepare the Italian salad dressing according to the directions provided in the recipe card.
Step 3. Meanwhile, prepare the olives, tomatoes, cheese, cucumbers, pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan for the pasta salad.
Step 4. Combine the cooked pasta with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Don’t worry, this salad can withstand being left outside during a picnic. You can also prepare it earlier in the day or even the day before.
Italian Pasta Salad Recipe Tips
Want a Vegetarian Pasta Salad? No problem! Simply add more vegetables and/or garbanzo beans to make it vegetarian. You can also learn how to make Instant Pot beans to keep your kitchen cool in the process.
How much pasta salad per person? If serving it as a side dish, allow 2 ounces of pasta per person. When mixed with the vegetables and other add-ins, this roughly equates to a heaping cup of pasta salad per person.
How much pasta salad for 50 or 100 people? If you’re hosting a larger gathering, you’ll need to scale up the recipe accordingly. For 50 people, you’ll need approximately 100 ounces of pasta (six times the original recipe), and for 100 people, you’ll need around 200 ounces of pasta (twelve times the original recipe). Keep in mind the number of other dishes you’ll be serving as well. If there are many side dishes, you can allot about 1.5 ounces of pasta per person.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Cobb Pasta Salad
- Vegetable Pasta Salad
Watch How to Make Easy Italian Pasta Salad
For more delicious recipes and culinary inspiration, visit Family Cuisine. Enjoy your homemade Italian pasta salad and share it with your loved ones!