How to Make Italian Pasta Salad Recipe | Refreshing and Flavorful
Ingredients for Italian pasta salad
- 8 ounces (about 225g) pasta (such as fusilli, rotini, or penne)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup pepperoncini peppers, sliced (optional, for a hint of spice)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
For the Dressing italian pasta salad
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions for Italian pasta salad
1/ Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool.
2/ In a large mixing bowl, combine the halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, sliced black olives, diced red bell pepper, thinly sliced red onion, and sliced pepperoncini peppers (if using).
3/ Add the cooled pasta to the bowl with the vegetables.
4/ In a separate small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
5/ Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables, and toss everything together until well coated.
6/ Gently fold in the cubed mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh basil, and chopped fresh parsley.
7/ Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more salt and pepper if desired.
8/ Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate the Italian Pasta Salad for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
Serving Italian Pasta Salad
Serving, give Italian Pasta Salad a final toss and garnish with extra fresh basil leaves if desired.
Enjoy your refreshing and flavorful Italian Pasta Salad as a delightful side dish or a light and satisfying main course. It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or any summer gathering!
Tips and Tricks to Make your Italian Pasta Salad More Delicious
Al Dente Pasta: Cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means it should be cooked just until it’s tender with a slight bite. Overcooking the pasta can result in a mushy salad.
Rinse Pasta: After cooking the pasta rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly. This prevents the pasta from becoming too soft and sticking together.
Choose the Right Pasta Shape: Opt for pasta shapes with nooks and crannies such as fusilli, rotini, or penne. They hold the dressing and other ingredients better ensuring every bite is full of flavor.
Balanced Dressing: When making the dressing, balance the acidity of the vinegar or lemon juice with the richness of the olive oil. Taste the dressing and adjust the flavors to your liking before tossing it with the Italian pasta salad.
Chill Before Serving: Refrigerate the pasta salad for at least an hour before serving. Chilling allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the taste of the salad.
Customize Vegetables: Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or use what you have on hand. Bell peppers cherry tomatoes cucumbers red onions artichoke hearts or roasted red peppers are excellent additions.
Cheese Choices: Besides mozzarella, you can use other cheese varieties like feta goat cheese or cubed provolone for a different flavor profile.
Fresh Herbs: Fresh basil and parsley add brightness and freshness to the pasta salad. You can also try other herbs like dill chives or oregano depending on your preference.
Make it Ahead: Italian Pasta Salad tastes even better the next day making it perfect for meal prep or as a make ahead dish for parties and gatherings.
Seasoning and Salt: Be sure to taste the pasta salad before serving and adjust the seasoning and salt as needed. Pasta tends to absorb flavor so you may need a touch more seasoning just before serving.
With these tips and tricks you’ll create a perfect Italian Pasta Salad that’s bursting with flavors textures and colors.
Here’s a rough estimate of the nutrition facts for a serving of Italian Pasta Salad. Keep in mind that these values can vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used in your recipe
Nutrition Facts for One Serving (approximately 1 cup)
- Calories:Approximately 250-300 calories
- Total Fat:About 10-15 grams
- Saturated Fat:Approximately 2-3 grams
- Cholesterol:About 0-5 milligrams (depending on ingredients)
- Sodium:Approximately 300-400 milligrams (can vary based on ingredients)
- Total Carbohydrates:Around 30-35 grams
- Dietary Fiber:About 2-4 grams
- Sugars:Approximately 3-5 grams
- Protein:About 6-8 grams
Based on the ingredients you use in your Italian Pasta Salad such as the type of pasta dressing vegetables and any added proteins like chicken or cheese. For precise nutritional information it’s best to calculate based on your specific recipe and ingredient choices.