Italian pasta salad is an essential summer dish that is delicious, wholesome, and easy to make. Made with pasta, vibrant vegetables, salami, mozzarella balls, olives, and fresh herbs, this pasta salad is nutritious, flavorful, and provides the energy you need to get through the day. It's what your summer picnics and cookouts need this year. The best part? It's ridiculously easy to make ahead (and actually tastes better the next day!).
Why You’ll Love Italian Pasta Salad
- It’s quick and easy to make. When you make Italian pasta salad, most of the work comes down to prepping and chopping ingredients. Boil the pasta, chop up those veggies, and toss everything together. Easy peasy.
- It's perfect for meal prep. If you love to meal prep, you’ll adore this Italian pasta salad! Italian pasta salad is a one-and-done meal. Prepare it at the beginning of the week for a few days of easy and enjoyable meals with no effort.
- Mediterranean ingredients. If you enjoy a good Italian or Greek salad and healthy carbs, then you’ll love this Italian pasta salad which features salami, fresh mozzarella, and kalamata olives. With fresh and light ingredients, it's the perfect summer dish to bring to your next potluck,
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make delicious Italian pasta salad, you will need the following ingredients:
- pasta - use your favorite shape of pasta. I like to rotini or fusili because of how it holds on to the delicious Italian dressing in every crevice, bringing all the flavors in each bite.
- salami - or you can substitute with pepperoni.
- grape tomatoes
- bell peppers - you can use any combination of bell peppers that you want. I like including red peppers because of the pop of color it adds.
- red onion
- kalamata black olives - you can also substitute with regular black olives, if you prefer.
- bocconcini mozzarella balls
- fresh parsley
- Italian dressing - feel free to use store-bought dressing or make your own Homemade Italian Salad Dressing in minutes.
- Parmesan cheese
You will also need measuring cups and spoons and a mixing bowl or serving bowl.
How to Make the Best Italian Pasta Salad
- Make the pasta. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool the pasta down.
- Toss ingredients. Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl or serving bowl. If not assembling the salad immediately, add some olive oil and toss together to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Otherwise, add remaining ingredients. Pour Italian salad dressing on top, and toss to combine.
- Serve or chill. You can serve immediately with Parmesan on top, or cover the bowl tightly with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This will allow all the flavours to infuse into each other. When ready to serve, give the salad a good toss and add a little more dressing, if desired.
- How to store: Store Italian pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you need meals on the go, divide Italian pasta salad into smaller portions in meal prep containers that you can easily take with you. Otherwise, store it in a large container.
- A low-carb option: If you want to cut out carbs, but still craving delicious pasta salad, try substituting quinoa, chickpeas, iceberg lettuce, or all of the above for a faux Italian "pasta" salad.
More Salad Recipes
- Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Chickpea Greek Salad
- Creamy Broccoli Slaw Salad
- Shrimp Taco Salad
- Lemon Kale Salad
- Chinese Garlic Cucumber Salad
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Italian Pasta Salad
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings
Italian pasta salad is delicious, wholesome, and easy to make. Make it up to three days ahead for your summer picnics and cookouts.
- ½ lb. pasta, uncooked
- 3 oz. salami (about 80 grams)
- 1 + ½ cup grape tomatoes (1 pint), halved
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, chopped
- ½ cup kalamata black olives, halved
- 4 oz. bocconcini mozzarella balls, halved
- 1 + ½ tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup Italian dressing, homemade or store-bought
- Parmesan cheese, grated (optional, for serving)
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool the pasta down.
- Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl or serving bowl. If not assembling the salad immediately, add some olive oil and toss together to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Otherwise, add remaining ingredients. Pour Italian salad dressing on top, and toss to combine.
- You can serve immediately with Parmesan on top, or cover the bowl tightly with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This will allow all the flavours to infuse into each other. When ready to serve, give the salad a good toss and add a little more dressing, if desired.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: italian pasta salad, pasta salad, pasta salad recipe, how to make pasta salad, best pasta salad
Yum!! I substituted the red bell pepper with cucumber, kalamata olives with black olives, mozzarella with feta cheese. I used your homemade Italian dressing recipe, but I didn’t have wine vinegar either so I used plain rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar. I just used what I had on hand and it still turned out amazing! 😄
Yum! We all enjoyed this as a light lunch, I will be making this often as the weather warms up!
Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme says
Nellie Tracy says
I love pasta salads, especially for summer! Can't wait to make it all the time this summer
Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme says
Thanks Nellie! It's such a summer classic!