Italian Pasta Salad Recipe – rotini pasta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella tossed with homemade Italian dressing. Perfect side dish to your summer dinners!
On a hot summer day, I find myself craving a cold pasta salad full of fresh vegetables and tossed with delicious homemade dressing. This Italian Pasta Salad is currently our go-to, along with it’s Greek version (I will share it soon!) and the super popular BLT Pasta Salad. You can make it ahead of time and serve for lunch or a light dinner, or simply as a side dish. It’s always a hit!
This Italian Pasta Salad is perfect for potlucks and BBQ summer parties. You can easily make a big batch to feed a crowd!
HOW DO YOU MAKE ITALIAN PASTA SALAD?
Italian Pasta Salad is probably one of the most popular pasta salads. The classic version calls for corkscrew or rotini pasta (we love tri-color!), pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and the dressing. Garnish with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, as well as chopped fresh parsley. The Italian Pasta Salad is served cold. You can easily turn this salad into a light meal by adding a protein of your choice: cooked chicken, turkey, more pepperoni or beans. This pasta salad can be easily made in advance. Simply place it in a bowl, cover with saran wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Toss with dressing and cheese right before serving.
HOMEMADE ITALIAN SALAD DRESSING
If you look at my salad recipes, you will notice that I like to make my own dressing. It’s so easy and you can adjust ingredients to your needs and likings, that there is no need for the store-bought kind. To make a quick Italian dressing, simply whisk oil, vinegar, herbs, lemon juice and honey in a measuring cup. Use immediately in this salad or store up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Some recipes add Parmesan cheese along with all dressing ingredients. If you will be storing the dressing, skip the cheese and toss it in with the salad ingredients just before serving. You can make a batch of the Italian Salad Dressing recipe and store it in the fridge.
CRAVING MORE PASTA SALADS? Check out these easy and delicious recipes:
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- 12 oz. rotini pasta
- 1 English cucumber
- 1/4 red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup olives
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup pepperoni slices
- 1/2 cup my Italian Salad Dressing
- Cook pasta according to instructions on the box, until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large salad bowl.
- Chop cucumber, pepper and onion, add to pasta.
Quarter cherry tomatoes, pepperoni slices and slice olives in half. Add to pasta.
- Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces. Gently toss to combine.
- To make dressing: combine all ingredients in a jar with lid, shake well; or whisk well in a measuring cup. Pour half of the dressing over pasta and gently toss to coat. Serve more if needed.
Please note that the nutritional value does not include the dressing. Please, see the Italian Dressing recipe for the info.