There’s something about pasta salad recipes and summertime that just make the world happy. Our Easy Italian Pasta Salad recipe has a homemade Italian dressing, meat, cheese and veggies!
Have you made our Easy Greek Pasta Salad? It’s really good and one of our most popular recipes on our site. Here’s the thing though, not everyone is a fan of feta cheese, so we felt like we had no choice but to bust out an amazingly Easy Italian Pasta Salad recipe complete with mozzarella cheese, fresh and flavorful Homemade Italian Salad Dressing, and meat and vegetables galore.
How to Make Pasta Salad Dressing
We first made this Italian Salad Dressing in a recipe for Cowboy Caviar Quinoa that totally breaks our hearts.
We’ve become close with all of you as readers so we don’t mind opening up and telling you the truth. And the truth is, some of our favorite recipes never end up taking off on the blog (or pinterest which feeds us, haha). Every blogger will tell you the same thing, the recipes we think are totally going to make it and be a reader favorite often end up flopping while the recipes we whip together on a whim and think will tank end up being viral.
No one understands it, but that’s the way it is. It’s at 255 pins on pinterest right now.
We love it as a salad or eaten with chips.
Maybe the quinoa scared people away.
How to make pasta salad dressing starts with a 2/1 ratio of oil and vinegar. Next add in any herbs that you’re wanting to pull flavor from and don’t forget a little salt and pepper as well.
Everything You Need to Know About Pasta Salad
Anyway, I’m distracted. Make sure you stop reading this post and read our entire Greek Pasta Salad post and Easy Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad as they will answer a few pasta salad questions. For the rest, well let’s dive in together.
When to Prepare Pasta Salad
It’s best to prepare pasta salad as close to eating it as possible. The longer it sits the more it will absorb the dressing and turn bland in flavor. Not to mention, the noodles become overly soft and swollen.
As we mentioned in our other pasta salad posts, you should never refrigerate pasta salad before serving either. You can read the posts we linked to above to find out more.
If you wish to prepare your Easy Italian Pasta Salad ahead of time, make sure the noodles are stored in a ziploc bag and the ingredients stored in a separate container with the dressing in a jar.
What’s in Italian Pasta Salad
So what’s in Italian Pasta Salad? Oh so much goodness!!
Italian Pasta Salad has pepperoni, salami, olives (sliced or whole is fine), mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, bell pepper, tomatoes and of course, Italian salad dressing!
I’ll be honest with you though, our kids totally pick things out on this one and it’s a little weird. Two of our kids love straight up cold pepperoni. One even requested chicken nuggets, pepperoni and carrot sticks for her birthday dinner a few years ago. Yeah.
What is Pasta Salad Good With
Pasta salad is good with a lot of different foods from Ham to anything on the BBQ or smoker, like our Grilled Honey Lemon Basil Chicken, Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken, or even our world’s BEST Carolina pulled pork.
What do you like to serve your pasta salad alongside?
Can Pasta Salad be Frozen
Or can leftover Pasta Salad be frozen? Two of the biggest questions we get about pasta salad, other than can I eat pasta salad while pregnant, which I must be missing something there, because I’ve never thought you couldn’t, but it’s about if pasta salad can be frozen?
No. Oh, please no. Pasta does not hold up well in the freezer unless it’s a casserole and even then it really struggles as it absorbs the sauce or dressing just as it does in the fridge.
Easy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 Pound Rotini
- 1 Cup Chopped Pepperoni
- 1 Cup Chopped Salami
- 1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
- 1 Cup Chopped Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Onion
For the Dressing
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1 Tablespoon Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Dry Parsley
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dry Onion Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic, minced
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice, fresh
- 1 Teaspoon Dry Basil
- 1 Teaspoon Dry Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Dressing
- Prepare the dressing by adding everything to a glass jar, adding the lid and shaking to combine, or whisking in a bowl.
For the Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta for about 7-8 minutes so it's just al dente.
- Place the cooked pasta in a strainer in the sink and let cool.
- Add the mix in ingredients and the salad dressing as well as salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to coat and serve within 30 minutes.
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 503 Total Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 63mg Sodium: 1072mg Carbohydrates: 24g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 3g Protein: 19g
This is such an easy pasta salad recipe and it tastes like pizza!