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Published June 26, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Be the star of the party with this very easy to make pasta salad recipe jam-packed with veggies, meat, and an amazing homemade balsamic vinaigrette
I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten the same two pasta salads in my life. They are usually each loaded up with different noodles, veggies, and dressing, but that’s what makes them so good. In my experience, most pasta salads can seem a little boring and bland, but that’s where an Italian pasta salad is that much better.
It has more ingredients and is usually fuller flavored. Here are some typical ingredients in this recipe:
- Cured Meats
Obviously, all of these things can be omitted or swapped out to customize it to your liking, and I highly encourage you to do so. By simply changing out the cheese or herbs you can have a Greek pasta salad or a chicken pasta salad. I can’t say it enough, make it work for you.
What’s the Best Noodle to Use?
The noodles that can be used is a bit subjective, however, I strongly recommend you use a shorter noodle and avoid long spaghetti or linguine type of noodles. Here are some great noodles to use:
- Farfalle (bow tie)
- Cheese Tortellini
Pasta Salad Dressing
There are a number of different dressings you can use on this recipe and so much will depend on what you like. While I believe a simple balsamic vinaigrette is a perfect complement to this salad, you can absolutely select one that you’d like. Whether it’s store-bought or homemade, here are some great recommendations:
- White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Italian Dressing
- Vinegar and Oil
- Poppy Seeds
How to Make It
Follow these easy instructions for making this delicious recipe:
Start by boiling your noodles in salted water and drain and chill them in the refrigerator while you prepare all of the vegetables, dressing, and meats.
Make the vinaigrette and set it aside until ready to dress. Often times there will be some vinaigrette leftover.
Slice up all of the meats and vegetables and set them aside until the salad is ready to be made.
Add all of the pasta salad ingredients into a very large bowl.
Dress the outside of the bowl with vinaigrette to ensure that when it’s mixed, each ingredient becomes coated in the dressing.
Serve it in a large bowl and garnish with fresh herbs.
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
Make-Ahead: You can make this salad up to 2 days ahead of time. It is advised to keep all of the ingredients separate before serving.
How to Store: Keep in a covered container for up to 4 days. This will not freeze well.
If you want to assemble it later the best way to store the pasta is chilled and coated in a little bit of oil so that the noodles do not stick together.
I can’t stress enough, you can absolutely add more ingredients to this pasta salad such as zucchini, squash, different types of olives, etc.
More Awesome Side Dishes
Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1- pound fusilli noodles
- 4 ounces sliced mortadella
- 4 ounces sliced ham
- 2 ounces sliced salami
- ½ seeded and sliced cucumber
- 1 cup assorted cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- ¼ cup sliced pepperoncini’s
- ½ cup sliced green olives
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- ½ peeled and small diced red onion
- 1 cup cilliegine mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons chiffonade basil
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ½ balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipe
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot of boiling salted water add in the noodles and cook them until slightly crunchy or al dente, according to its package. Immediately chill the noodles under cold water and toss with some oil so that they do not stick and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- To Assemble: Add the cooked noodles, meats, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepperoncini’s, olives, onions, cilliegine, basil, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to a large bowl.
- Add the dressing 1 large spoonful at a time to the outside of the bowl and mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula so that the ingredients don’t break up.
- Serve cold.
- Make-Ahead: You can make this salad up to 2 days ahead of time. It is advised to keep all of the ingredients separate before serving.
- How to Store: Keep in a covered container for up to 4 days. This will not freeze well.
- If you want to assemble it later the best way to store the pasta is chilled and coated in a little bit of oil so that the noodles do not stick together.
- I can’t stress enough, you can absolutely add more ingredients to this pasta salad such as zucchini, squash, different types of olives, etc.