This Italian Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish. It’s fully loaded with tender pasta, fresh veggies, chopped salami, olives, and cheese, then tossed in a tangy homemade dressing. It’s always a big hit!

For more delicious side dish recipes, be sure to check out my Strawberry Spinach Salad, Instant Pot Carrots, and Fried Cabbage with Bacon.

a glass bowl full of pasta salad

 

With summer days just around the corner, I knew it was time to share one of my favorite recipes of the season; Italian Pasta Salad.

When the temperatures soar, especially as they tend to do here in Texas, there is really nothing better than digging into a big cold bowl of Italian Pasta Salad to beat the heat. 

a glass bowl full of pasta salad

Whether you’re making it for the 4th of July, a summer barbecue, or to serve alongside grilled burgers or chicken, this recipe is always a winner and makes enough to serve a crowd, or to save for leftovers the next day.

two bowls of pasta salad next to a fork

Ingredients for Italian Pasta Salad (See measurements in recipe card below!)

  • tricolor pasta
  • salami
  • grape tomatoes
  • mozzarella
  • green bell pepper
  • red onion 
  • olives
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • parmesan cheese
  • dijon mustard
  • garlic
  • sugar
  • salt + pepper
  • celery seed

ingredients on a counter top

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad – Step by Step

Step 1: Cook pasta

Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Place in a large bowl.

Step 2: Add ingredients 

Cut the salami into small pieces then add to the bowl with the pasta. Stir in the tomatoes, mozzarella, bell pepper, red onion, black olives, and green olives. 

a bowl full of pasta and veggies

Step 3: Make dressing

In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, parmesan cheese, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seed until combined. 

a bowl of dressing with a whisk

Step 4: Chill and serve

Pour the dressing over the Italian pasta salad and toss, making sure all ingredients are coated in the dressing. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving, but ideally for 3-4 hours or more. The longer it sits, the better it will taste!

a glass bowl full of pasta salad

Italian Pasta Salad – Tips and Notes

  • Don’t overcook your pasta. Only cook your pasta until it’s al dente so that it still has a bit of bite. Otherwise it can get too soft and mushy when mixed with the veggies and the dressing.
  • Allow the pasta salad to marinate for a few hours in the fridge. I like to make mine at least 3-4 hours in advance if I have the time. The longer your Italian pasta salad can sit and absorb the flavors of the dressing and veggies, the better it will taste! 1 hour will suffice in a pinch, but give it more time if you can!
  • Other pasta options: feel free to use another kind of pasta like bowtie, macaroni, or cavatappi. I like to use tricolor rotini because it adds even more color to the salad.
  • Meat and veggie additions: in place of the salami, you could try ham or pepperoni, or leave it out completely for a vegetarian Italian pasta salad. Artichokes, broccoli, red bell pepper, or peperoncini peppers would also make great fresh veggie additions to this salad.
  • Not a fan of olives? Just leave them out! To be honest, I am not an olive lover. My husband is, though, so I like to make this with olives for him a lot of the time. But it tastes delicious without them, too, so just know that is an option!

a fork in a bowl of pasta and veggies

Making in Advance

This Italian Pasta Salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. It may need to be stirred a bit before serving as some of the dressing may pool at the bottom of the bowl.

a glass bowl full of pasta salad

Storing Leftover Italian Pasta Salad

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

a glass bowl full of pasta salad

More Fresh Salad Recipes You Should Try!

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a glass bowl full of pasta salad
5 from 2 ratings

Italian Pasta Salad

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 20 mins
Chill time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
This Italian Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish. It's fully loaded with tender pasta, fresh veggies, chopped salami, olives, and cheese, then tossed in a tangy homemade dressing. It's always a big hit!

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 12 ounces tricolor pasta, I used rotini
  • 4 ounces Genoa salami, chopped
  • 1 pound grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 ounce block of mozzarella cheese, diced into small cubes
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced, canned black olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced, canned green olives with pimento, drained

For the dressing

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Place in a large bowl.
  • Cut the salami into small pieces then add to the bowl with the pasta. Stir in the tomatoes, mozzarella, bell pepper, red onion, black olives, and green olives. 
  • In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, parmesan cheese, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seed until combined. 
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss, making sure all ingredients are coated in the dressing. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving, but ideally for 3-4 hours or more. The longer it sits, the better it will taste!

Notes

  • Don't overcook your pasta. Only cook your pasta until al dente so that it still has a bit of bite. Otherwise it can get too soft and mushy when mixed with the veggies and the dressing.
  • Allow the pasta salad to marinate for a few hours in the fridge. I like to make mine at least 3-4 hours in advance if I have the time. The longer your Italian pasta salad can sit and absorb the flavors of the dressing and veggies, the better it will taste! 1 hour will suffice in a pinch, but give it more time if you can!
  • Other pasta options: feel free to use another kind of pasta like bowtie, macaroni, or cavatappi. I like to use tricolor rotini because it adds even more color to the salad.
  • Meat and veggie additions: in place of the salami, you could try ham or pepperoni, or leave it out completely for a vegetarian Italian pasta salad. Artichokes, broccoli, red bell pepper, or peperoncini peppers would also make great fresh veggie additions to this salad.
  • Not a fan of olives? Just leave them out! To be honest, I am not an olive lover. My husband is, though, so I like to make this with olives for him a lot of the time. But it tastes delicious without them, too, so just know that is an option!
  • Storing Leftovers: any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Calories: 417kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 776mg, Potassium: 289mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 623IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 147mg, Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know! Mention @TheBelleoftheKitchen on Instagram or tag #BelleoftheKitchen.