One of my favorite cold pasta salad meals is Italian pasta salad! Your favorite pasta is combined with fresh, vibrant veggies, cheese, salami, and Italian vinaigrette to make a memorable dish for pretty much any summer event.
Italian Pasta Salad is one of my go-to foods for potlucks, from my famous Dill Pickle Pasta Salad to a simple and flavorful Greek Pasta Salad.
Pasta salads are not only incredibly popular, but they also taste much better when prepared ahead of time.
Perfect Pasta Salad for a Potluck
We always seem to be going to patio parties, potlucks, and barbecues when summer comes around.
The cocktail I’m known for, the Classic Mojito, is of course always requested, but I also virtually always bring a recipe for a cold pasta salad.
Due to its abundance of delicious ingredients, this Italian pasta salad recipe is a particularly fun take on traditional pasta salad. It is portable and complements almost anything.
Bold Big Flavors
You can add your favorite Italian-inspired ingredients to this simple pasta salad dish to give it even more flavor, including diced artichokes and sundried tomatoes.
the components of pasta salad
Bold Flavors: Italian seasonings, cheese, salami, and olives add a powerful taste punch.
Bell pepper gives excellent color, crunch, and flavor as well as texture.
Vegetables: Add any other vegetables you have on hand, or just some juicy, tangy tomatoes if you choose.
Noodles for Pasta Salad Tri-color rotini are fantastic in encasing the cheese and Italian dressing for maximum taste, but you can also use shells or any other medium-sized noodles you may have on hand!
Al dente pasta stands up well to the dressing and doesn’t go mushy when cooked.
Making the Best Italian Pasta Salad: Tips and Tricks
Vegetables should be cut into pieces that are just slightly smaller than bite-sized to ensure that you get a taste of each vegetable in each bite.
Avoid overcooking your noodles because doing so will cause the starches in the dressing to break down, even more, resulting in mushy pasta salad. For optimal results, shock your noodles after they are cooked al dente in cold water!
You don’t want the vegetables to start cooking while you mix everything, so let your pasta cool before adding the toppings!
Let the pasta salad sit before serving it so that the flavor of the dressing can fully meld with the pasta and vegetables, making for a more flavorful and delectable Italian pasta salad!
Keep it colorful: Make your pasta salad lively and vibrant by including any extra veggies you may have on hand. I enjoy including extras like sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, sun-dried artichokes, and shredded carrots.
Italian dressing for pasta salad
I use bottled Italian dressing in this recipe since it’s quick and convenient, but if you have the ingredients on hand, homemade Italian dressing is fantastic.
Plan ahead… The nicest part of this pasta salad recipe is that the flavors meld and it gets better with time! It’s the ideal side dish to prepare ahead of time because it only needs around 20 minutes. What is superior to that?
The acids in the dressing work to break down the starches in the pasta and the proteins in the vegetables as this Italian pasta salad rests in the fridge, making the salad more delicious and soft (so be careful not to overcook your noodles)!
Combine the ingredients to create homemade Italian dressing:
- 50 ml of vegetable oil (or use half olive oil, half vegetable oil)
- 3 tablespoons vinegar made from red wine (or your favorite)
- Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon
- Italian seasoning, half a teaspoon
- 1/8 cup sugar
- pepper and salt as desired
- 16 ounces tricolor rotini
- 8 ounces salami chopped
- 1 cup Italian vinaigrette dressing store-bought or homemade
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese cubed
- grape tomatoes halved
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- ½ green bell pepper diced
- ½ orange bell pepper diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- ⅓ cup red onion diced
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper to taste
- Follow the directions on the package to prepare pasta al dente. Rinse with icy water.
- In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients. Combine by tossing.
- At least two hours before serving, refrigerate.
For up to three days, keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Give the leftovers a good mix and, if necessary, add additional dressing to revive the flavors.