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
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
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.