Italian Pasta Salad is a tasty cold pasta salad with mozzarella, salami, peppers, and olives mixed in a tangy Italian dressing. The perfect potluck dish!
Italian Pasta Salad is a summer potluck classic. Pasta, Italian meats, vegetables, cheese, it’s a cold pasta salad packed with bold Italian flavors that are brought together with the tangy Italian dressing that everything is tossed in. It’s a quick and easy side dish tastes as good as it looks! I love when I get to use veggies to make bright sides, it’s how I know something is nutritious and I love how it presents, Orzo Pasta Salad is another fan favorite at potlucks for precisely that reason!
ITALIAN PASTA SALAD
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Cold salads like this and Ramen Noodle Salad, or Classic Macaroni salad, are the perfect thing to bring to potlucks, to serve at family get-togethers, or to have in the fridge for a quick lunch. These simple salads are served cold, so you don’t have to worry about transporting a hot dish, or warming it up when you get to a friends house, and they are so good you never have to bring home leftovers!
How to Make Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta 1 minute longer than you would normally. Pasta hardens as it cools and since you’ll be serving this pasta cold you’ll want to cook it just a little longer than usual. Don’t let it get mushy though!
- Toss the pasta with all of the ingredients, including the dressing, while it is still warm. The warm pasta will soak up the dressing and take on all of those flavors.
- Add another 1/4 cup of dressing before serving. The dressing soaks into the pasta as it sits so adding a little extra gives it all a new coating of flavor.
Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients
One of the things I love most about Pasta Salad with Italian dressing, besides the fact that it involves salami, is that there is no wrong way to make it. I mean, you want to stick with Italian ingredients but other than that you should have fun with it and make it any way you like. If you don’t eat meat, you can make it with only veggies. If you are a meat-lover, then add a few different types of Italian meats.
In this recipe I’ve included some of the most common ingredients to get you started including:
- Pasta – rotini, penne, and farfalle are the types used most often.
- Mozzarella cheese
- Black Olives
- Pepperoncini peppers
- Bell peppers
- Italian dressing
Other options are:
- Artichoke hearts
- Roasted red peppers
- Feta cheese
- Sun-dried tomatoes
Can You Make Italian Pasta Salad Ahead of Time?
Yes! I recommend it. Pasta salad always tastes better after it has had time to sit for a while. It gives the pasta time to absorb all of the flavors. You can make this pasta up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Try these other excellent potluck pasta salad recipes!
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Creamy Taco Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- More side dish recipes…
Tools used to make Italian Pasta Salad
Large Pot: This pot is a kitchen essential for everything from dinner to desserts. I use mine all the time and with proper care, it’ll last for years and years.
Serving Bowl: This large glass serving bowl is one of my favorite dishes. It’s perfect for everything from salads to pasta. Simple, classic, and a must-have!
- 16 ounces Rotini pasta
- 12 ounces Salami cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 pints Cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1.5 cups Orange bell pepper diced
- 12 ounces Pepperoncini
- 1 cup Black olives sliced
- ½ cup Red onion diced
- 16 ounces Fresh mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup Parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
- Once the pasta has cooked drain water and place in a large bowl.
- Add all of the other ingredients and toss together.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld together. Serve cold.