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    Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

    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

    Whenever I go to a get together I am all about the side dishes.  I want to be able to try as many things as possible and some of my absolute favorites are vinegar coleslaw and Polenta.

    large bowl of italian pasta salad with fresh herbs

    Pasta Salad

    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:

    • Noodles
    • Tomatoes
    • Onions
    • Cucumbers
    • Cured Meats
    • Dressing
    • Herbs
    • Cheese

    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:

    • Orzo
    • Farfalle (bow tie)
    • Fusilli
    • Rotini
    • Penne
    • 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
    • Ranch
    • Vinegar and Oil
    • Poppy Seeds
    • Creamy

    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.

    draining boiled noodle from a hot pot of water

    Make the vinaigrette and set it aside until ready to dress.  Often times there will be some vinaigrette leftover.

    making a homemade balsamic vinaigrette by pouring oil into a bowl of vinegar

    Slice up all of the meats and vegetables and set them aside until the salad is ready to be made.

    thinly slicing fresh cucumbers on a cutting board

    Add all of the pasta salad ingredients into a very large bowl.

    Adding prepared vegetables to a large bowl of cooked pasta

    Dress the outside of the bowl with vinaigrette to ensure that when it’s mixed, each ingredient becomes coated in the dressing.

    adding balsamic vinaigrette to the outside of a bowl of pasta salad

    Serve it in a large bowl and garnish with fresh herbs.

    adding italian pasta salad to a large serving bowl

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    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.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • 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.
    homemade pasta salad with tomatoes, herbs, cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette

    More Awesome Side Dishes

    Be sure to follow me on FacebookYoutube, Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

    5 from 4 votes
    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
    Servings: 16
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 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

    Instructions

    • 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.

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    • 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.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 9gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 417mgPotassium: 151mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 117IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 1mg
    Course: lunch, Side Dish
    Cuisine: American, Italian
    Author: Chef Billy Parisi