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Italian-Inspired Pasta Salad recipe

Italian-Inspired Pasta Salad recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Pasta salad

A fantastic pasta salad with flavours from the Med. It's light, refreshing and perfect for summer barbecues.

380 people made this

IngredientsServes: 16

  • 450g fusilli (spiral) pasta
  • 450g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 225g mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 225g salami, cubed
  • 115g sliced pepperoni, cut in half
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 200g black olives
  • 75g roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 225ml Italian salad dressing

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta with tomatoes, cheese, salami, pepperoni, green pepper, olives and red peppers. Pour in salad dressing and toss to coat.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(642)

Reviews in English (481)

by I'm nuts too...

I make this all the time & we LOVE it (especially my father-in-law)! I use tri color rotini, grape tomatoes, pepperonchinis instead of the green peppers, and some chunked red onion. I also use a whole 16 oz. bottle Wishbone "Robust Italian Dressing". I learned that if you "dry" (like pat them with a clean dish or paper towels to get the water off) the noodles, the dressing will really stick a lot better. Pour 1/2 the dressing on right away, refridgerate, and pour the other 1/2 on before serving prevents it from drying out (the noodle will soak up the dressing). Delicious, it goes great with Italian beef. Thanks Desiree!-28 Jan 2003


For as easy and versatile as this one is, it deserves 5 stars! I made this for a bridal shower and it went over as a huge hit! I did omit the olives and used a little less tomatoes BUT I then added some chopped zucchini. Also, I sprinkled in just a little parmesan cheese and added a little white sugar...believe it or not, the touch of white sugar takes the edge off the Italian dressing without making it sweet. I had people who came up to me at the shower and told me that they don't normally like these types of salads but LOVED the way this was made. They couldn't believe that the secret ingrediant was the dash or two of sugar! A great summer pasta salad! Thanks Desiree!-26 Aug 2003


This is a great pasta salad because it has things that just about everyone likes. I added zucchini, a red bell pepper, and some fresh mozarella, and i only used a small can of sliced black olives. I put about 8 oz of Italian dressing on the night before [Newman's family-style italian, our favorite] then another 8oz right before serving. Great recipe!-30 May 2005

Italian Pasta Salad

When the weather gets hot, pasta salad can be a great addition to any barbecue, picnic or cold meal spread. This classic vegetarian and vegan Italian pasta salad recipe are packed with plenty of vegetables, so it is both nutritious and delicious. Using a pre-made Italian salad dressing, this quick and easy side Italian pasta salad recipe is a great dish when you're looking for a recipe for a warm weather side dish or main course. Serve as a side dish at your next picnic or on a hot day when standing over a hot stove is not an option.

Looking for more ideas for what to bring to a vegetarian or vegan potluck or picnic? Most people will bring a traditional dish like a vegetarian pasta salad or a vegetarian potato salad and there will likely be plenty of bean salads too. Just about any vegan dessert will always be welcome, and, the last vegan potluck we went to, we brought vegan spring rolls and they were gone in a flash (in hindsight, we should have made a double batch!).

Recipe adapted from The Compassionate Cook Cookbook by E. Christensen, reprinted with permission.

Similar to tortellini, tortelloni is also a type of ring-shaped, stuffed pasta. They may sound and look similar to one another, but there are a few things that tell them apart:

The suffixes -ini (small) and -oni (big) in their names indicate their size as tortelloni is often twice as big.

Another difference is their fillings. While tortellini is often stuffed with rich, cheesy, meaty fillings, tortelloni is filled with leafy vegetables, pumpkin pulp or purée.

Ingredient Tips

DRESSING: Instead of grabbing a generic bottle of salad dressing, I love to use the good stuff. This post isn’t sponsored or anything, I just LOVE Cindy’s Kitchen. These dressings taste fresh and aren’t loaded with a bunch of additives like the shelved kinds.

You will notice a difference in taste depending on the quality of dressing you use, so choose wisely!

SALAMI: Speaking of choosing wisely, grab quality salami as well. I prefer Creminelli, Columbus or Boar’s Head brand if I can find them.

If you don’t have salami on hand you can always use pepperoni instead. It is in the same “family” of meat types and may be better suited for kids’ tastebuds.

OTHER ADD-INS: To add some variation to your pasta salad, try doing a mix of salami and pepperoni or even ham, add cucumbers, or try different types of olives.

Is Hearts of Palm Pasta Healthy?

Hearts of palm pasta makes a wonderful, healthy alternative to the carb-heavy,gluten-intense, wheat or grain-based pasta we’re used to seeing.

Instead of a grain, this pasta is considered a vegetable. It’s low in calories, and low in carbs. About half of the carb content that it does have is fiber. According to the USDA, t is a source of vitamins B-6, and B2 and a touch of vitamin C and Folate. It also contains some calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.

Some companies will add oil or salt to their palm noodles, so if you’re watching your sodium intake, you might want to read the ingredients.

Easy Italian Pasta Salad FAQs…

How long will Italian Pasta Salad last in the fridge?

This easy pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Although, it will be freshest 2-3 days after making!

Is it better to make pasta salad the day before?

Making pasta salad the day before does let all the flavors marinate deliciously, but this can also be done in a few hours! As long as you let this Italian Pasta Salad sit for 1-2 hours before serving you should be good!

If you do make the day before, make sure to let the pasta salad sit outside of the fridge for a few minutes before serving. This sort of lets the dressing loosen up a bit!

Can I cook the pasta ahead of time for pasta salad?

Yes, you definitely can cook the pasta ahead of time for pasta salad! This is a great option because you do want your pasta to be completely cooled by the time you mix in the other ingredients. If you cook the pasta beforehand just toss with some olive oil to prevent sticking and place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the salad!

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Cook's Notes

This salad is chock full of flavour and goodies, so it's a little-goes-a-long-way pasta salad. This recipe will serve 4-6 as a side easily. You can double or triple if you're feeding a crowd. I love to toss it with some greens just before serving. The flavours of this pasta salad are lovely with kale, spinach, watercress or arugula.

I find that balsamic vinegars vary a lot in acidity/sweetness. Mine is quite sweet, so I add a tablespoon or two of red wine vinegar for a bit more acidity. You may not need to. Taste and decide.

If you like spice, add a tiny bit more of the crushed red chilis for a nice bite to this salad.

I know feta seems more like a Greek thing than an Italian one, but I have just found that Parmesan gets lost in the other strong flavours. Feta holds it's own and provides a nice salty note. That said, a stronger cheese like Asiago, finely chopped or crumbled, would probably work nicely, as well.

A quick tip! When boiling water for a bit of pasta for pasta salad, I love to use a large, deep skillet instead of a big pot. The water boils much more quickly and it is easy to stir while cooking.

Your pasta salad may seem a little liquid-y when you first mix it up, but the marinade will soak in to the pasta as it refrigerates.

I have confessed before that I am not a fan of olives, so there are none in my salad here. That said, a bit of chopped black olive would be perfectly fitting for this salad if you are a fan :)

This delicious recipe for shrimp scampi ravioli captures all the flavors of a scampi, in a cute little package!


About Me

I'm Jannese, a Puerto Rican girl living in paradise (Florida), and the creative mind behind Delish D'Lites. I love sharing my family recipes and travel inspired cuisine! My favorite things include collecting passport stamps, twerking to Latin music, and kissing puppies. Lots of puppies.


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Classic Italian Pasta Salad

I’m back from Mexico and have this Classic Italian Pasta Salad to share with you today! I had the best time and loved where we stayed. I must say it makes it much easier to snap back to reality when you are coming home to nice weather and not 10 feet of snow and cold.

I love springtime here in upstate NY and don’t mind “reality” right now at all. I feel like I have my own little mini resort in my backyard with our huge patio and gazebo. I spend a lot more time out there than I care to admit once the weather turns nice.

I’m so glad you’re here! Follow along on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Pasta salads are always a huge hit for Memorial day, potlucks, summer picnics or a simple weeknight meal side dish. Everyone needs a good, reliable pasta salad recipe in their life, right? My new obsession is my Cashew Chicken Rotini Salad.

This Classic Italian Pasta Salad is so colorful (I love colorful food because somehow in my head it makes the food taste better) and hearty enough to actually stand as a light meal on it’s own. Pasta salads are great because you can make them ahead of time – and it actually is advantageous to make them in advance for the flavor to be the best it can be.

This quick chop and throw-together Classic Italian Pasta Salad is full of great flavor and will be your new favorite side dish. It’s a great salad to use some of those fresh garden vegetables you may have laying around.

The little dash of white sugar I like to add to my pasta salads actually takes the edge off the Italian dressing without making the salad itself sweet at all. You can leave this out but I really believe it makes a difference in the flavor!

Here are a couple of my other favorite pasta salad recipes: Simple Pasta Salad, Caprese Pasta Salad and Greek Pasta Salad. You may also like some of the creative pasta salads from my friends: Creamy Pasta Salad that is light and slightly tangy from my friend Mary and Shrimp Pasta Salad with homemade Italian dressing from my friend Amy. Enjoy!