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We love pasta salad and this recipe is one of our favorites. It’s loaded with yummy veggies, pasta, Italian dressing and more. Italian Pasta Salad Recipe is easy to fix and budget friendly.

Italian Pasta Salad in a bowl with black olives, pasta, shredded parmesan cheese, pepperoni, sliced cherry tomatoes, and cheese
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This pasta salad with Italian dressing is a delicious combination of pasta, pepperoni, vegetables and then tossed in an Italian Dressing. It is the perfect side dish for any occasion and even great leftover. We always make this side dish at 4th of July.

We love making Easy Cold Pasta Salad Recipes for a quick and easy sides. This Italian Pasta Salad is a fun twist on our Easy Pasta Salad and Salad Supreme Pasta Salad.

Why We Love This Recipe

Zesty Italian pasta salad can be made with a variety of ingredients. The ingredients blend well together and the perfect side dish to make ahead of time for all the summer BBQ’s.

This recipe starts with cooked Rotini pasta, then raw vegetables are added for the perfect amount of crunch. Then mixed with cheese, black olives, pepperoni and a Italian Dressing for a delicious easy recipe.

Ingredients

Italian Pasta Ingredients - Slice Pepperoni, black olives, cherry tomatoes, dressing, pasta, shredded parmesan cheese, chopped bell peppers, and cheese cubes
  • Rotini Pasta – Change pasta to Fusilli or farfalle
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Use Roma Tomatoes instead
  • Mozzarella Cheese – Shredded works great or substitute with fresh Mozzarella Pearls
  • Sliced Pepperoni – Salami or Canadian Bacon works great too

Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe in the recipe card.

Variation Ideas

The options are endless when making this classic pasta salad.

  • Use Different Dressing – You can make a pasta salad using a mayonnaise based as your dressing. You can even make Homemade Italian Dressing.
  • Make a Southwest Pasta Salad – Add in some corn and avocado with some sliced tomatoes. This would be a good side dish for Taco Tuesday.
  • Add in Fruit – Toss in some strawberries with spinach and balsamic to make a great Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad. We like using bow ties pasta with this pasta salad.

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

Cooked pasta in a large pot

Step 1 – Bring a large of of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions  and cook until al dente. You want your pasta firm. Once your pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse with cold water. Set pasta aside.

Chopped green onions, black olives, cherry tomatoes, slice pepperonis, pasta, cheese in a bowl

Step 2 – In a large bowl, combine the pasta with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, green pepper, and black olives.

Pouring salad dressing over the pasta salad mixture

Step 3 – Pour the Italian dressing over the top.

Italian Pasta Salad in a bowl with a cutting board with bell peppers, pepperoni, and vegetables

Step 4 – Add in the Grated Parmesan cheese and stir to coat.

  • Step 5 – Place in the Refrigerator – You can add a dash of olive oil if you want. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour for the flavors to come together.
  • Step 6 – Serve and Enjoy
Italian Pasta Salad in a bowl with serving on a wooden spoon

What to Serve with Rotini Pasta Salad?

Rotini Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish when we are grilling out. Here are some of our favorite meals to serve when we make pasta salad.

What Do You Put in your Pasta Salad?

Feel free to mix up the ingredients for what your family prefers. Add some of their favorites or omit the ones they don’t care for.

  • Change the Pasta – We love the tricolor pasta but you can use any kind of pasta you like. Penne or elbow pasta are good in this too.
  • Add in Chicken – Cooked shredded chicken added to this pasta salad is so good. We have even made Shrimp Macaroni Salad for a delicious variation.
  • Toss in other vegetables – Toss in some chopped broccoli, chopped red onion, or even red bell pepper. Celery is also a good option to toss in.
  • Change the Cheese – Feta Cheese is also a good option when making this classic pasta salad.
Italian Pasta Salad in a bowl with a bowl of shredded parmesan cheese

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you Make Pasta Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes. This quick and easy Pasta Salad is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time. We like to prepare the night before so all the ingredients marinate together and to soak into the pasta.

How to Store Leftover Pasta Salad

Store pasta in the refrigerator covered with saran wrap. This prevents the pasta from drying out. We also will put the pasta salad in individual containers for an easy lunch idea.

How Long Will Rotini Pasta Salad Last?

Make sure to eat the leftovers in about 3-4 days as the dressing will change the texture of the ingredients if set to long.

More Easy Pasta Salad Recipes

We love to hear from you. If you make this pasta salad recipe with Italian dressing, please leave us a comment or star review.

Italian Pasta Salad

4.97 from 155 votes
Italian pasta salad recipe! Easy Italian pasta salad has the best flavor. Pasta salad with Italian dressing is the perfect side dish recipe.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigerate 1 hour
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12
Cuisine Italian
Course Salad, Side Dish
Calories 398

Ingredients

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Instructions

  • Bring a large of of water to a boil.
  • Add pasta and cook until al dente. You want your pasta firm.
  • Drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pasta with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, green pepper, and black olives.
  • Pour the Italian dressing over the top. Add in the Parmesan cheese and stir to coat.
  • Let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour for the flavors to come together.

Recipe Notes

Add red onion to give this pasta dish even more flavor. Other ideas…how about adding fresh mozzarella or some fresh herbs?! You will not be disappointed.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 398kcal, Carbohydrates 34g, Protein 17g, Fat 22g, Saturated Fat 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat 3g, Monounsaturated Fat 9g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 34mg, Sodium 1211mg, Potassium 239mg, Fiber 3g, Sugar 4g, Vitamin A 531IU, Vitamin C 14mg, Calcium 296mg, Iron 1mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

4.97 from 155 votes (150 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Kaylea says:

    5 stars
    Recipe is not only simple but delicious! My new go-to side for parties, dinner, or whatever occasion comes up!

  2. Dianne Hutton says:

    Delicious!! I ended up using the whole bottle of Itailian dressing. I used cheddar cheese…

  3. Fran says:

    I can’t wait to make this for Memorial Day!

  4. Dayna says:

    5 stars
    I made this and I’m so glad I did. Very delicious!

  5. Carrie says:

    Woohoo! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it!

  6. Erin says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I quadrupled the recipe for my daughter’s open house and it was a hit!

  7. Carrie says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you!

  8. Patti Huber says:

    Excellent!!! Hubby had 4ths. So good.

  9. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely perfect…exactly how I remember classic Italian pasta salad

  10. Carrie says:

    Oh good to know! Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. Kristi R says:

    I use the small salad pepperoni and it doesn’t stick as bad.

  12. Carrie says:

    The diced salami and tortellini sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  13. Karen says:

    I too use diced salami, so yummy! And use cheese tortellini, comes out SO good! I definitely want to try Olive Garden dressing now, thank you!

  14. Carrie says:

    The salami is a great idea. Sometimes the Peppperoni does stick together. Thanks.

  15. Christine says:

    Anyone else have trouble keeping the pepperoni from sticking together?
    I’m guessing using cubed salami instead (as someone else above stated they had) would solve that problem and have pretty much the same taste. I think I’ll try that next time.
    Yummy!!! Used to make this all the time then sort of forgot about it. It’s “an oldie but a goodie.”

  16. Kate says:

    Try it with Wish Bone House Italian for a more mellow Italian dressing taste.

  17. Stacia Deering says:

    5 stars
    However, not gluten free unless you use gluten free noodles!

  18. Gary Porter says:

    Sounds great,will try it.

  19. Carrie says:

    Sounds delicious Sheryl! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Sheryl says:

    I make this all the time…it is a big hit! I do it a little different from this recipe. I don’t use a green bell pepper, instead I use a small yellow pepper, a small red pepper and a small orange pepper (such yummy tastes to each color individually and amazing when mixed together). I also add a jar (drained) of peppercini peppers. Instead of using regular Italian dressing, I use spicy Italian dressing (Kraft). I also do not use cheese in mine. Definitely make it the day or so before…..the flavors meld together the longer it sits!

  21. Patricia Johnson says:

    Try this recipe with hard salami cut in cubes instead of pepperoni.

  22. Carrie says:

    Yum – The raviolis in it sound awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Dawn Rebeterano says:

    I make this all the time except I add cheese raviolis in it as well. I also switch between pepperoni and Genoa salami.

  24. Carrie says:

    Great idea!

  25. Cecilia says:

    Try it with Olive Gardens dressing. So yummy!