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Easy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Easy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

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Fr this Italian side try substituting the mozzarella with a fresh goat cheese or ricotta. You can also serve this hearty pasta salad warm.


  • 14 ounces dried fusilli pasta
  • 1 red pepper, seeded
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 12 black olives, halved
  • 7 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • One bunch fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook the fusilli until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water.

Roast the red pepper for 20 minutes.

Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave for 10 minutes as this allows the steam to loosen the skin of the pepper.

Remove from the bowl, peel off the skin, and dice the flesh.

Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and mix in the roasted pepper, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and basil.

Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

I’m blessed to have grown up in a pretty diverse Southern city. My neighborhood consisted of a melting pot of different ethnic & religious groups, gays & lesbians.

The church I attended was no different. Although it had a particular denomination, I think anybody could join no matter your lifestyle, beliefs, etc. The people were lovely. But all that diversity made for some very entertaining moments.

I could seriously write a comedy series on all the different “characters” in that place. Today, we’re going to talk about Miss Mary for a second.

Miss Mary was a fiery, Catholic Italian grandmother with a thick New York accent. You never knew if she was gonna cuss you out (yes in church) or say “Come here dawlin give me a hug. You’re so thin are you eating?”. You also never knew if she was really angry or just talking loud and passionately.

She had this younger guy named Paul that helped her out a lot.

She would cuss poor Paul out as if cussing had points. Like seriously yall, I never knew you could string all the cuss words into one sentence until I met Miss Mary. She is the real MVP in my book!

For the most part, Paul would bare her brutal insults out of respect, but once in a blue moon, he would snap and let her have it in his own heavy New York accent.

I’m seriously laughing while writing this thinking about the time she blasted Paul to hell and back, for not getting her wheelchair up the ramp correctly and then in that same breath said: “Oh and happy birthday by the way.”

Every day after church we had lunch. Miss Mary would always bring the most delicious looking authentic Italian pasta salad. The bold fragrance of garlic, basil and onions would fill the room and people would rave about how fresh it tasted.

I never got the try Miss Mary’s Italian Pasta Salad.

Well, one day I loaded that Italian pasta salad on my plate, I was so happy and ready to give my taste buds a party! That’s when my sister said, “You’re gonna eat Miss Mary’s pasta salad? You know she eats out the bowl right?”

Oh well, from that point on I was left to admire the beauty of that Italian pasta salad. Man, was it torture to my greedy, foodie-kid soul seeing all that fresh basil, pearl mozzarella, pepperoni, peppers, and olives and not being able to touch it. Cause your girl, don’t do that shared eating business. At. All.

Nowadays, I make my version of that gorgeous Italian pasta salad that looks just like Miss Mary’s. I’m not sure if it tastes the same, but my oh my is it GUUUUUUUUD!

It has a sense of elegance about it and would be great for a bridal shower or wedding. One guy said, “This is pasta salad for adults!” Ha! I’d have to agree, although my little Ethan loves it!!

What I adore about this Italian pasta salad is that you can taste ALL of the ingredients. The homemade Italian dressing is bold, yet it doesn’t overtake everything like the store-bought versions tend to do.

You can seriously taste the sweetness of the tomatoes, the tartness of the olives and banana peppers, the coolness the pearl mozzarella, the spiciness of the pepperoni, the savoriness of the fresh basil..mercy.

To have so many bold players, it’s a surprisingly light-tasting pasta salad! Everything gets along so well.

For a truly unbeatable pasta salad, you want to offer a combination of both textures and flavors. It's important to have creamy, crunchy, and chewy textures, as well as sweet, salty, and tart flavors. We've found that a combination of crunchy sweet pepper, fresh grape tomatoes, mild artichoke hearts, spicy red onion, creamy mozzarella, salty olives and yummy salami offers the perfect assortment of flavors and textures. But know that this is just a starting point! You should be free to add or remove anything you want to this recipe. Other ingredients you may want to consider include zucchini, chives, cucumber, or even broccoli. The sky is the limit!

The classic dressing for pasta salad is a basic oil-and-vinegar combo&mdashalso known as Italian dressing. While you can use any store-bought brand you like, we find that freshly made dressing tastes better, is easier to adjust to your taste, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. We tried to zero in on a combo of ingredients that gives you the classic flavor without being overly sour or overly oily. A mild Dijon mustard adds flavor but also helps keep the dressing from separating, and a touch of sugar tempers the vinegar, and makes it extra yummy!

Pro tip: Taste the dressing after making it and before using it in the salad. That way you can add a little more sugar, or more vinegar or oil to get it just the way you like!

What About A Pasta Salad Dressing?

Thank you for asking. This is important.

We need a tangy Italian dressing.

Homemade, in a blender or food processor, so it takes approximately 60 seconds. You made that Italian dressing, you pasta salad boss, you. ♡

Toss together, taste and adjust, and exercise every self-control muscle in your body so as not to eat the whole thing before everyone comes over.

May I offer one last tidbit of advice? You do not need to wait to be invited to a picnic or potluck to get some pasta salad magic in your life.

This is a weeknight’s dream meal.

Stop at the store on the way home and pick up some good salami and cheese, some olives, and a few fresh herbs. Cook up some pasta, toss it all together, and voila. Cold pasta salad + a glass of rose for dinner, and colder pasta salad as leftovers for lunch all week.

I will be over in a flash.

How to make Italian Pasta Salad

Here are the five easy steps to make Italian pasta salad from scratch.

Boil the pasta

I usually have cooked pasta in the freezer. I cook in batch and freeze for later use in soups and salads. If you have ready cooked pasta, thaw it and if not then boil the pasta to a firm not too soft texture. The easiest way to cook pasta is in the instant pot (Check out my instant pot pasta recipe) but you can also cook it on the stove.

Here's how to boil pasta on the stove - Add water in a pot and leave to boil then add in pasta, a tablespoon of oil and salt and leave to cook for 8 minutes or till al dente. Take off the stove, drain in a colander, and run under cold water to shock the pasta. Leave to cool while you move on to the next step.

Make the salad dressing

If you haven't already, quickly make pasta salad dressing. This takes just 5 minutes to make. Here's the recipe for my homemade Italian dressing.

Cut up the veggies

Cut the tomatoes, chop the onions and parsley, and any other vegetables you want in your homemade salad.

Build the salad

Add pasta into a bowl and add some of the salad dressing then mix.
Next add in the tomatoes, onions, olives, and all other ingredients. Add more Italian salad dressing and mix to combine with the salad.

Want creamy Italian pasta salad? Add a tablespoon of mayonnaise.

Chill in the fridge for cold pasta salad

Put the salad in the fridge to chill for at least an hour before serving as it tastes better when cold.

Pasta Salad Recipes With Italian Dressing Review

Pasta Salad Recipes With Italian Dressing. It takes minutes to make and is perfect for any get together including bbqs and holidays. Seasoned with a quick homemade italian dressing.

pasta salad recipes with italian dressing, Image source from

Feel free to prepare it in advance, evelyn advises. Firstly, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.

Italian Pasta Salad Pasta Salad Italian Easy Pasta

For the italian dressing, add all ingredients listed for it above and mix thoroughly. To make this recipe quick and easy, i use a bottled italian dressing but of course, homemade italian dressing is amazing if you have the ingredients on hand.

Italian pasta salad make ahead recipe home plate in 2020. It takes minutes to make and is perfect for any get together including bbqs and holidays.

Italian pasta salad recipe italian pasta salad recipe. Seasoned with a quick homemade italian dressing.

Pasta salad with homemade italian dressing recipe. Feel free to prepare it in advance, evelyn advises.

Italian pasta salad in 2020 pasta salad italian easy. Firstly, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.

Italian pasta salad is an easy flavorful side dish with. For the italian dressing, add all ingredients listed for it above and mix thoroughly.

Pasta salad with italian dressing is a must make for any. To make this recipe quick and easy, i use a bottled italian dressing but of course, homemade italian dressing is amazing.

This recipe like many calls for diced onions. Another time saving tip is to use a small food chopper or food processor to quickly and easily chop the onions.

If you do not have one of these, I highly recommend them. They are such a time saver and you can get the veggies really fine if you have children that are picky.

I usually just chop the entire vegetable and freeze what I don’t need. It’s so nice to be able to just take the diced onion out of the freezer for recipes.

This is how I meal prep. It’s so quick and easy and helps get dinner on the table fast.

Sometimes, I also toss in a handful of bell peppers in the pasta salad. Yum!

Learn and how to freeze onions and also how to freeze peppers to save so much time in the kitchen!

How to Make Easy Italian Pasta Salad

You can make this super easy by buying a quality bottle of Italian salad dressing. Seriously, there&rsquos so many awesome organic brands out on the market. Life can be easier if you want to buy the dressing first. Or, if you have a favorite Italian vinaigrette recipe you can use that. We also provide a recipe for a homemade dressing you can use and it&rsquos delicious! The success of this dish is to make sure you season it with enough salt and use a delicious dressing. That will bring this dish to life. More Italian pasta salad recipe details and step-by-step photos are in the recipe box below.

While I can not speak for other pasta salads, this pasta salad, in the right proportions, can be a great healthy choice. It not only has a good amount of vegetables, it has a great amount of healthy fats, it is packed with protein, and only has one teaspoon of sugar.

Yes, you do need to rinse your pasta with cold water for a cold pasta salad. This is for a few reasons. The first reason to rinse your pasta with cold water is that it will stop the pasta from cooking any further. Second, rinsing it will get rid of a lot of the starch that causes your noodles to stick together. Third, you need cold pasta for a cold pasta salad.

Italian Pasta Salad is an in-demand potluck, picnic and party side. This cold Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing is made 1000X better with cheesy, pillowy tortellini! It’s a quick chop and throw together recipe. It can be made 100% percent ahead of time for the perfect stress-free side!

How to make Italian pasta salad

This pasta salad is one of the easiest pasta salads you can make. First cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water according to package instructions. Next make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Chop the rest of the ingredients, pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss everything together well.

That’s all there really is to it. This salad will last in the fridge for 2 to 3 days and it’s even better the next day! I would recommend refrigerating it for at least an hour before serving.