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Easy Italian Pasta Salad [+ Video]

22 Reviews

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!

A glass bowl of quick and easy italian pasta salad recipe with homemade italian dressing. Rotini pasta with pepperoni, salsami, black olives, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, peppers, dressing and red onions!

Homemade Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

Have you made our 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 dressing, and meat and vegetables galore.

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. Whomp, whomp. We love it as a salad or eaten with chips. Maybe the quinoa scared people away?

A glass bowl of quick and easy italian pasta salad recipe with homemade italian dressing. Rotini pasta with pepperoni, salsami, black olives, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, peppers, dressing and red onions!

What’s in Italian Pasta Salad?

I’ll be honest with you — our kids totally pick out some of the ingredients in this homemade pasta salad with Italian dressing. 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.). So Cade and I are left to eat whatever’s leftover from this pasta salad with pepperoni. The joys of parenthood! 

To make this Italian pasta salad recipe, you’ll need:

  • Rotini pasta
  • Chopped pepperoni
  • Chopped salami
  • Olives
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Bell pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onion
  • Italian salad dressing (we’ve include our homemade dressing recipe in the recipe card below!)

A close up of rotini pasta salad with pepperoni, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, black olives, red peppers, salami and more!

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

Don’t let all the mix-ins fool you, this Italian pasta salad with pepperoni is as easy as it gets! Here’s how we make this pasta salad with Italian dressing: 

  1. Whisk together the homemade pasta salad dressing. 
  2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and let cool.
  3. Add the pasta, dressing, and remaining ingredients to a large bowl and gently toss to mix. 

What to Serve with Italian Pasta Salad

This cold pasta salad with Italian dressing is good with a lot of different foods, from ham to pulled pork to hamburgers. You name it, I bet it’ll taste good with this homemade pasta salad!

A few of our favorite mains to enjoy alongside this Italian pasta salad are: 

A glass bowl of quick and easy italian pasta salad recipe with homemade italian dressing. Rotini pasta with pepperoni, salsami, black olives, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, peppers, dressing and red onions!

Can I Prep Italian Pasta Salad in Advance?

It’s best to prepare this cold pasta salad with Italian dressing 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.

If you wish to prepare this Italian pasta salad with pepperoni ahead of time, make sure the noodles are stored in a zip-top bag and the other ingredients are stored in a separate container with the dressing in a jar. That way, everything is prepped but nothing turns soggy!

Can Pasta Salad Be Frozen?

No. Oh, please no. Pasta does not hold up well in the freezer unless it’s in a casserole, and even then it really struggles because it absorbs the sauce or dressing just as it does in the fridge.

A glass bowl of quick and easy italian pasta salad recipe with homemade italian dressing. Rotini pasta with pepperoni, salsami, black olives, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, peppers, dressing and red onions!

Tips for Making Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

When cooking the pasta for this Italian pasta salad with pepperoni, you want to cook it just until al dente. Remember that the pasta will be sitting in the pasta salad dressing, so you want it to have a little bite to it otherwise it’ll become mushy. 

Also note that you’re welcome to use any short, sturdy pasta you have on hand. We prefer rotini pasta, but penne, macaroni, or bow-tie pasta would work too! 

Lastly, as we’ve mentioned in our other pasta salad recipe, you should never refrigerate pasta salad before serving it.  The pasta becomes mushy the longer it sits in the fridge, and fridge-cold pasta salad is often too dry for our liking. 

More PASTA SALAD RECIPES:

 

Easy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Raised in the Kitchen - Carrian Cheney
148 days

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A glass bowl of quick and easy italian pasta salad recipe with homemade italian dressing. Rotini pasta with pepperoni, salsami, black olives, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, peppers, dressing and red onions!

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

4.14 from 22 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
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!

Ingredients

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 1 Pound Rotini Pasta
  • 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 Italian 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
  • 1 Teaspoon Dry Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dry Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

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, or until 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.

Notes

Store pasta salad in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Italian Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 503 Calories from Fat 333
% Daily Value*
Fat 37g57%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Polyunsaturated Fat 24g
Cholesterol 63mg21%
Sodium 1072mg47%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 19g38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating




15 comments

  • Love it—-

    But I cheat and use bottled Italian dressing
    and cherry tomatoes (cut in half)

    • Reply
    • Cheating is allowed 😉

      • Reply
  • I made this up today, and can’t wait for my husband and the rest of the family to taste. 🙂
    Thank you for what looks like an awesome recipe.

    • Reply
    • Yay!! Let us know how it goes!! Thank you!

      • Reply
  • I am going to try your Italian pasta salad

    • Reply
    • Enjoy!!

      • Reply
  • I’m making this tonight! Can’t wait to try it. I’ve been wanting a good pasta salad recipe.

    • Reply
      • It was very good! My husband isn’t really big on eating anything with pasta, but he really liked this one. Thanks for sharing!

      • Yay! We love to hear that!

  • Can the dressing be made the night before? 

    • Reply
    • Sorry I just read your post and it answers my question. 

      • Reply
    • Absolutely! It actually tastes even better if it has time to meld all together for a little while. Enjoy!

      • Reply
  • It looks like there are red onions in this pasta, but I don’t see them in the recipe. How much does the recipe call for? Thanks!

    • Reply
    • Thank you for catching that, I’ve corrected it.

      • Reply

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