How to Make Italian Pasta Salad Recipe | Refreshing and Flavorful

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About 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

  • 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


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, 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.

Nutrition Facts


Here’s a rough estimate of the nutrition facts for a serving of 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.

(FAQs) About Italian Pasta Salad


What is a Italian pasta salad?

  • Pasta salad is a dish that typically consists of cooked pasta combined with a variety of ingredients like vegetables meats and dressings.

What types of pasta work best for pasta salad?

  • Short pasta shapes like fusilli, penne, or rotini are commonly used in pasta salad as they hold the dressing and other ingredients well.

How do I cook pasta for pasta salad?

  • Boil pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down for the salad.

Can I make pasta salad in advance?

  • Yes, pasta salad is great for making in advance. Store it in the refrigerator, and the flavors often improve as it sits.

How long does pasta salad last in the fridge?

  • Typically, pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Keep it covered to prevent it from drying out.

Can I freeze pasta salad?

  • Freezing pasta salad is not recommended, as the texture of the pasta and other ingredients may change upon thawing.

What are some popular pasta salad additions?

  • Common additions include cherry tomatoes cucumbers olives feta cheese mozzarella grilled chicken, and various herbs.

What dressings work well with pasta salad?

  • Vinaigrettes, Italian dressing, pesto, and mayonnaise-based dressings are popular choices. Choose based on your tastes and preferences.

How do I prevent pasta salad from drying out?

  • Adding a bit more dressing just before serving can help refresh the salad. Also, storing it in an airtight container prevents it from drying.

Can pasta salad be served warm?

  • While it’s traditionally served cold, some variations can be enjoyed warm. However, allowing it to cool first lets the flavors meld.

Is pasta salad a complete meal?

  • It can be a complete meal if it includes a variety of ingredients like vegetables proteins and carbs. Consider adding proteins like grilled chicken or shrimp.

How can I make a vegan pasta salad?

  • Use a vegan-friendly pasta, and opt for plant-based proteins like tofu or chickpeas. Choose a vegan dressing or make one with olive oil and vinegar.

Feel free to adapt these answers to suit your specific needs or preferences!

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