Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

This Italian pasta salad combines summer’s favorite vegetables with chopped salami, black olives, rotini noodles and tangy Italian dressing. 

 
Overhead view of pasta salad.
 
 
Summer is in full swing. Time to fire up the grill and serve up summer classics. 
 
This Italian pasta salad recipe is the perfect side dish at any barbecue or potluck. 
 

How to make Italian pasta salad

 

Start by boiling the pasta according to the package directions. Then drain the noodles under cold water to keep the noodles from sticking. 
 
It’s easy to make this recipe in under 30 minutes and it is loaded with healthy summer veggies like sweet peppers, red grape tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers. 
 
Toss in red onion, salty diced black olives, spicy chopped salami and zesty Italian dressing and this pasta salad is rocking with flavor. 
 
Allowing the salad to marinate in the fridge for a few hours will intensify the flavors. 
 
 
Tomatoes, salami, onion, peppers, cucumbers and black olives in a bowl.
 
 
I’ll serve this cold pasta salad with by my Grilled Marinated Flank Streak or my Fall of the Bone Baby Back Ribs. It’s delicious with just about anything off the grill. 
 
Choose your favorite Italian dressing or make your own. Refrigerate any unused dressing. 
 

How long can you keep Italian pasta salad in the fridge?

 

This pasta salad should last five days in the refrigerator. Personally, I think a pasta salad always taste better the next day because it’s soaks up the dressing and the flavors are so much more pronounced.

 

Overhead view of a bowl of pasta salad on a wooden surface.
 

How do you keep Italian pasta salad from drying out?

 

The key is cooking the noodles until they are al dente, just right. Then be sure to rinse them in cold water to remove any excess starch. The opposite is true when you are serving pasta as a warm dish.

 

Ingredients you’ll need for this side dish:

 

  • Pasta. The traditional style of noodle is the rotini or corkscrew shaped pasta, but any kind will do such as macaroni noodles, or Campanelle pasta.
  • Salami. I will splurge and head straight to the deli counter to order freshly cut salami. That way you can order it as thick or thin as you prefer. Chop it up and toss it into the salad. If you prefer a spicy meat, go with pepperoni.
  • Black olives. I love the briny taste of black olives but green would work just as well. Sliced or whole pitted are fine for this recipe.
  • Sweet bell pepper. Any kind of sweet bell pepper can be added to this pasta salad, just stick with red, yellow or orange for the sweetest flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese. I am partial and stay away from the stuff in the green container. I prefer freshly shaved Parmesan cheese from the deli counter. Look there for the good stuff.
  • Red onion. I typically prefer a sweet Vidalia onion but for this recipe you want the stronger flavor. Use your best judgement and add as much or little to give a punch of flavor without being to strong.
  • Cucumber.  I prefer a seedless variety but do grab whatever is on sale.
  • Tomatoes. Stick to the grape variety. They are easier to slice and don’t create too much juice in the bottle of the bowl.
  • Basil. I grow fresh basil in my garden. There is nothing like freshly grown basil for maximum flavor.
  • Italian dressing. Make your own or grab a bottle of your favorite from the grocery store. Add a little and add more if needed. No one likes pasta salad swimming in dressing. This Italian dressing recipe can be stored in the fridge for over a week.
 
 
Close up of pasta noodles, tomatoes, salami and black olives.
 

More great pasta salads for your get together:

 

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Overhead view of pasta salad.
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Italian Pasta Salad

This Italian pasta salad combines summer’s favorite vegetables with chopped salami, black olives, rotini noodles and tangy Italian dressing.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time14 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Pasta Salad
Author: Ali Randall

Ingredients

  • 1 pound box of rotini noodles
  • 1 cup chopped salami
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) container grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing

To make the dressing:

  • 3/4  cup  olive oil
  • 1/4  cup  red or white wine vinegar
  • teaspoon  garlic powder
  • teaspoon  dried oregano
  • teaspoon  dried basil
  • 1/2  teaspoon  onion powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground pepper
  • teaspoon  lemon juice

Instructions

  • Boil the noodles according to the package directions. Drain the noodles under cold water and set aside.
  • Chop the bell peppers, red onion, grape tomatoes and cucumbers and place into a medium-size bowl.Add in the chopped salami, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and Italian dressing. Toss to coat. 
  • Refrigerate the pasta salad for an hour or until ready to serve. 

 

Italian Pasta Salad | An easy side dish for any summer barbecue.

 

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #homeandplate. I’d love to see what you cook!



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