Italian Pasta Salad is a bright and colorful combination of sweet peppers, onions, salami, tomatoes, and tri-color rotini tossed in a zesty Italian dressing. No summer potluck is complete without a great pasta salad- and this one fits the bill!
Why you'll love this recipe
This classic Italian Pasta Salad is by far one of the best summer salads. It's light, flavorful, and pairs with almost any dish. And it's just so simple to make! Toss cooked pasta and your choice of fresh ingredients with a bottle of Italian dressing for a crowd-pleasing favorite.
I love bringing this bright and bold pasta salad to potlucks, picnics, and family gatherings. This is one recipe that you'll be making over and over again!
Every Italian Pasta recipe I've come across seems to have a wide variety of ingredients. Sometimes I like to switch up the colors and textures, but here are the ingredients I usually use for mine:
- Rotini noodles- regular or tri-color
- Italian dressing, store-bought or homemade
- Grape tomatoes
- Red pepper
- Yellow pepper
- Red onion
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
There are so many variations so be sure to check out the list of additional add-ins below!
Make it gluten-free
To make this zesty pasta salad gluten-free and just as delicious, try using gluten-free elbow rotini such as this! You will also want to double-check the ingredient labels for the Italian dressing and salami.
Begin this recipe by cooking the rotini noodles (regular or tri-color) according to the package directions. This should be around 9 to 11 minutes.
When the noodles are cooked al dente, drain and rinse them with cold water and set them aside. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate this pasta salad for at least two hours before serving it for the best flavor!
This recipe is so versatile and has so many different add-in options!
Give some of these ingredients a try:
- 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese pearls
- ¾ cup pepperoncini
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ sliced black olives
- ½ of a cucumber, sliced and quartered
- ½ cup of pepperoni
Make this pasta salad your own!
Make it ahead of time
Yes, absolutely, YES! In fact, it tastes much better that way. Making this dish ahead of time allows all of the flavors to come together beautifully. However, the noodles may soak up quite a bit of the Italian dressing. To fix this, pour on a little more Italian dressing right before serving.
Tips & tricks
Use store-bought or homemade Italian dressing. This recipe takes only a few minutes to throw together and I like to keep it that way by using a store-bought dressing. Cheap, easy, and just what I need when I'm in a hurry! If you're looking for homemade Italian dressing, give this one a try!
Chill for a couple of hours before serving. For the best flavor, refrigerate this salad for at least two hours (overnight is even better!).
- Large Mixing Bowl. This set is perfect for all sorts of desserts!
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon. I like using a wooden spoon to gently stir the mixture together.
Refrigerator: Store this pasta salad in the refrigerator for up to five days in an airtight container.
Freezer: Freezing this pasta salad is not recommended- it will make the fresh veggies soggy.
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Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- 16 oz gluten free rotini or garden rotini
- 1 ¼ c zesty Italian dressing*
- ½ pint grape tomatoes sliced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 yellow pepper diced
- ½ red onion diced
- 4 oz salami* quartered
- ¼ c parmesan cheese
- ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to coat.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
The nutritional information provided is only an estimate. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
Double or even triple this recipe for graduation parties, baby showers, BBQs, potlucks, family gatherings, Super Bowl parties, camping get togethers, and Labor Day or Memorial Day weekend parties.
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