Bursting With Flavor Italian Pasta Salad

I remember the first time I made this Simple Italian Pasta Salad. It was for a picnic, and I was so excited to try something new. The flavors were absolutely delicious – the tangy dressing, the crunchy vegetables, and the perfectly cooked pasta – it was all so perfect. I’m sure this recipe will become a summertime favorite for your family, just like it has for mine.

Simple Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Prep Time

20 mins

Cook Time

15 mins

Additional Time

480 mins

Total Time

515 mins


12 servings

Simple Italian Pasta Salad


  • 1 (16 ounce) package rotelle pasta
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce) package pepperoni
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian-style salad dressing (such as Olive Garden®), divided


  • Begin by bringing a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the rotelle pasta and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the broccoli florets, carrots, tomatoes, black olives, pepperoni, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Add the cooled pasta to the bowl and mix together.
  • Drizzle ½ cup of the Italian-style salad dressing over the salad and mix together.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • When ready to serve, remove the salad from the refrigerator and stir in the remaining ½ cup of salad dressing.
  • Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

  • (per serving)
  • Calories: 350
  • Fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrates: 47g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Sodium: 550mg
  • Cholesterol: 25mg

What makes italian pasta salad unique

Italian pasta salad is unique for its combination of classic Italian ingredients and flavors. It typically features a mix of pasta varieties like fusilli and rigatoni, fresh vegetables like cherry tomatoes, olives, and bell peppers, and herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley. The dressing is usually a simple blend of olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. These ingredients combine to create a flavorful, classic Italian dish that is easy to make and sure to please.

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The key to making Italian pasta salad stand out is in how the ingredients are combined. For instance, the tomatoes, olives, and bell peppers should be cut into small pieces and tossed with the pasta, so that each bite contains a bit of each flavor. The herbs should also be chopped finely, to evenly distribute their flavor throughout the dish. All of these ingredients should also be lightly dressed with the garlic-olive oil-balsamic vinegar blend, so that all of the flavors can mingle and blend together.

Finally, Italian pasta salad is unique because of the cheese it typically contains. Popular options include feta cheese, Parmesan, and mozzarella, all of which pair well with the other ingredients to create a flavorful, creamy dish. The cheese should be added at the end, so it doesn’t lose its flavor in the cooking process.

Italian pasta salad is a classic dish that is easy to customize to your own tastes. By carefully selecting and combining the ingredients, you can create a unique flavor that will make your pasta salad stand out from other dishes.

Benefits of eating italian pasta salad

Eating Italian pasta salad is a great way to enjoy a tasty and healthy meal.

  • It is packed with nutrients and vitamins, making it a great option for a balanced diet.
  • Italian pasta salad contains a variety of ingredients from pasta and vegetables to cheese, nuts and herbs, all of which contribute to its nutritional content.
  • Italian pasta salad can also be a great low-calorie option as it is low in fat and calories, but still high in flavour and texture.
  • Additionally, Italian pasta salad is rich in fibre, which helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and can aid digestion.
  • This dish is also a great source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A and C.
  • Finally, Italian pasta salad is a great way to get your daily dose of protein, as it contains beans, meat, and/or cheese.
  • All of these benefits make Italian pasta salad a great option for anyone looking for a tasty and healthy meal.
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Tips for making italian pasta salad

Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t get too mushy when mixed with the other ingredients.

  • Make sure to use enough dressing for the pasta salad. Usually about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dressing is sufficient for 8 cups of cooked pasta.
  • Consider adding vegetables to the dish for added nutrition. Fresh vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers are great options.
  • Consider adding protein to the pasta salad to make it a complete meal. Examples include cooked chicken, shrimp, or tuna.
  • Season the pasta salad with salt, pepper, and other herbs and spices to taste.
  • Let the pasta salad cool before serving. This will help the flavors blend together.
  • Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese before serving. This adds a nice flavor to the dish.

Ideas for serving italian pasta salad

Italian pasta salad is a classic dish that can become a family favorite. It’s a simple dish that can be served as a side dish or even a light meal. To make your Italian pasta salad stand out, consider these creative serving and presentation ideas.

For a traditional presentation, serve the pasta salad in a large bowl surrounded by freshly-sliced vegetables, such as cucumbers and tomatoes. You can also serve it in individual bowls, which is a great option for outdoor events.

For a unique presentation, try using a muffin tin to serve individual servings of the pasta salad. This is a great option for parties where guests can grab their own serving without having to worry about utensils.

You can also get creative with the toppings. For example, top your pasta salad with crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, or freshly chopped herbs. These additions will give your pasta salad added flavor and texture.

Finally, you can also serve your Italian pasta salad as a wrap. Simply fill a wrap with the pasta salad and top with your favorite toppings, such as olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese. This makes a great lunch or light dinner option.

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By getting creative with your presentation and toppings, your Italian pasta salad will be the star of any meal. Try these ideas and you’ll be sure to please your family and friends.

Variations on italian pasta salad

When it comes to Italian pasta salad, the possibilities are endless! There are so many different variations you can try to customize this classic dish. From adding a variety of vegetables to experimenting with different types of pasta, here are a few ideas to get you started.


Vegetables are an essential component of Italian pasta salad. Consider adding a mix of both raw and cooked veggies. Fresh options like tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers add a bright and colorful contrast to the dish. Cooked vegetables like zucchini, squash, and mushrooms can also provide a delicious flavor and texture.

Types of Pasta:

Italian pasta salad is traditionally made with spiral-shaped pasta, but there are other types of pasta that can be used to create a unique dish. Rotini and farfalle are two shapes that can be used to add a fun twist. Even gluten-free pasta can be used to make a delicious Italian pasta salad.


Cheese is a great way to add flavor and richness to Italian pasta salad. Consider adding crumbled feta, grated Parmesan, or cubes of mozzarella to the dish. For a unique flavor, try adding a tangy goat cheese or a smoked cheese.

Herbs and Spices:

Herbs and spices can take an Italian pasta salad to the next level. Fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley provide a bright flavor that complements the dish. For a unique flavor, try adding a few pinches of dried spices like garlic powder, onion powder, and chili flakes.

These are just a few ways to customize Italian pasta salad. By adding a variety of vegetables, experimenting with different types of pasta, and adding cheese, herbs, and spices, you can create a delicious and unique dish that your family and friends will love.

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