The Best Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing (Easy Recipe)

The Best Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing (Easy Recipe)

This pasta salad with peppers and Italian Dressing combines summer’s favorite fresh vegetables including cucumbers and tomatoes with chopped salami, black olives, and rotini noodles. 

Overhead view of pasta salad.

Summer is certainly in full swing.

Therefore, it’s time to fire up the grill and serve up those summer classics. 

This easy Italian pasta salad recipe is ideal on those warm weather days.

This easy pasta salad recipe is the perfect side dish at any barbecue or potluck. 

How to make this pasta salad with peppers and Italian dressing

First, start by boiling the rotini pasta according to the package directions.

Next, 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. 

Finally, toss in red onion, salty diced black olives, spicy chopped Italian 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 further 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 especially delicious with just about anything off the grill. 

Choose your favorite Italian dressing mix or easily make your own. Refrigerate any unused dressing. 

See the full recipe below.

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

This tangy pasta salad should last five days in the refrigerator.

Personally, I think a classic Italian pasta salad always taste better the next day because it’s soaks up the homemade 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, or just right.

Next, 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.

Simple ingredients you’ll need for this side dish 

  • Pasta. The traditional style of noodle is rotini or corkscrew shaped pasta. But any kind will do, such as macaroni noodles, penne pasta and 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 mini pepperoni.
  • Black olives. I love the briny taste of black kalamata olives yet green olives would work just as well. Sliced or whole pitted are fine for this recipe.
  • Sweet bell pepper. Any kind of sweet bell pepper can certainly be added to this pasta salad, just stick with yellow, orange or red peppers 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 yet for this recipe you want the stronger flavor. But 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, ideally an English cucumber.
  • Sweet tomatoes. Stick to the cherry tomatoes or the grape variety because 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 fresh herbs maximum flavor.
  • Homemade Italian dressing. Make your own or instead grab a bottle of your favorite from the grocery store. Add additional dressing if needed. No one likes pasta salad swimming in dressing. This Italian dressing recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for over a week.
Close up of pasta noodles, tomatoes, salami and black olives.

The best pasta salad recipes for your get togethers

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Overhead view of pasta salad.

The Best Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing (Easy Recipe)

Ali Randall
This pasta salad with peppers and Italian Dressing combines summer’s favorite fresh vegetables including cucumbers and tomatoes with chopped salami, black olives, and rotini noodles. 
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian


  • 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  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4  cup  white or red 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 black pepper
  • teaspoon  lemon juice


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

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