Italian Pasta Salad

This amazing Italian Pasta Salad is full of meat and cheese, featuring plump pasta and zesty Italian seasoning enhanced with parmesan. Red onion, pepperoncini, black olives, and an abundance of fresh vegetables complete this flavorful dish.

One of my sister Jenny’s favorite things to eat is a pasta salad. She’s always the first to go for the pasta salad bar, going from the Pesto Pasta Salad all the way over to the Italian Pasta Salad.

I think there’s just something about the combination of perfectly cooked pasta plus fresh veggies plus delicious cheeses and add-ins that has her going back for more.

So here’s to Jenny and all of you fellow Pasta Salad lovers out there! I know you’ll just love every single bit of this recipe, from the zesty and flavorful homemade Italian dressing to the bevy of fresh, crisp veggies and tomatoes, two types of cheese, and the deliciousness saltiness of salami, black olives, and pepperoncini!

Ingredients for this Italian pasta salad recipe including pasta, salami, red onion, bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, mozzarella, pepperoncini, parsley and Italian dressing.

Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Rotini pasta – or choose any bite-sized pasta you like, such as penne, macaroni, etc.
  • Italian Dressing – You can use my Homemade Italian Dressing, or your favorite store-bought kind for ease.
  • Veggies – I’ve developed this recipe so you can use your favorite crisp, fresh vegetables. If you prefer, you can use red and green bell peppers like I have.
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella pearls
  • Salami – or any of your favorite salty deli meats
  • Black olives + pepperoncini – I love this duo for an added flavor of zing and saltiness!
  • Red onion
  • Fresh parsley – I highly recommend fresh over dried parsley for the brightness of flavor
  • Parmesan cheese – use freshly grated cheese if you’d like, but the store-bought kind if fine too!

How to make Italian Pasta Salad

It’s easier than you think to make pasta salad with Italian Dressing. Start by cooking your favorite pasta according to the package instructions. Then, toss with oil to prevent sticking and spread out onto a lined baking sheet to cool.

Cooking Pasta - Two photos showing how to make Italian pasta salad - Cooked pasta in a pot and pasta spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

Next, grab a large mixing bowl and add all of the ingredients except the Italian Dressing.

Organized in bowl and pouring dressing Angled - Two photos showing how to make Italian pasta salad - Ingredients neatly laid out in a salad bowl and pouring dressing over it.

Drizzle all of the pasta salad with italian dressing, then toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Close up of tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, red onions, rotini, bell peppers, parsley, Parmesan, and mozzarella in a large serving bowl

Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, then serve and enjoy the best Italian Pasta Salad!

What to Serve With Italian Pasta Salad

This make-ahead side dish is best served cold and tossed with lots of dressing

Storing Notes

You can make this pasta salad with Italian dressing ahead of time! Simply make as instructed, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I actually like this pasta salad even better the next day, as the flavors have amplified overnight.

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Sending you all my love and maybe even a dove, xo Demeter ❤️

Print
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A serving bowl filled with Italian Pasta Salad packed with tomatoes, mozzarella, and Italian dressing.

Italian Pasta Salad


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5 from 4 reviews

Description

This amazing Italian Pasta Salad is full of meat and cheese, featuring plump pasta and zesty Italian dressing enhanced with parmesan. Red onion, pepperoncini, black olives, and an abundance of fresh vegetables complete this flavorful dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 2 cups fresh diced or bite-sized vegetables of choice (blanched broccoli, bell peppers, etc.) – I used red and green bell peppers
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz. mozzarella pearls or halved mozzarella balls
  • 8 oz. salami, chopped
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced
  • ½ cup pepperoncini, sliced
  • ½ cup red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 1 batch homemade Italian dressing or 1 ½ cups store-bought, use less dressing if desired
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with a few dashes of oil to prevent sticking. Transfer to a large, parchment paper-lined baking sheet to cool, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add pasta and remaining ingredients except for the Italian dressing.
  3. Drizzle with dressing, using less if desired. Toss to coat, adding more as needed. I used the full amount. If needed, add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator about 1-2 hours before serving. Keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge. Enjoy!

Notes

Tip: This salad tastes best 1 day later—it allows the flavors to meld and deepen deliciously.

Tip: If you find that the pasta salad is not moist enough the next day or two, go ahead and add ¼ cup to ½ cup dressing until you reach your desired consistency. Toss to coat.

Storing Instructions: Store Italian pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days maximum.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pasta, Main Dishes, Salads
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

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10 Comments

  1. This is the pasta salad of my dreams! I ate an embarrassingly large amount of it, but it’s just so good.






  2. This recipe was a huge hit at a pre-July 4 BBQ this past weekend and is a definite keeper. My kids asked if I can bring it to an event we are going to this coming weekend! Great recipe.