This easy Italian Pasta Salad recipe is fresh, flavorful and colorful! The perfect addition to your summer menu! The homemade Italian dressing really takes this pasta salad to the next level and you’ll love that it can all be made in advance which makes it so perfect for entertaining.
Italian Pasta Salad
Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing is the perfect dish for summertime picnics and get togethers. Light, refreshing, savory and oh-so delicious, this recipe will be sure to impress everyone. Quick and easy to prepare both the homemade dressing as well as the pasta salad itself, this will easily become a new party staple.
Bring this Italian Pasta Salad to your next picnic in the park for a unique take on a classic dish. Full of flavor with juicy tomatoes, savory garlic, dill pickles, spicy pepperoncinis, smoky salami, provolone cheese, tender pasta, and tossed together in a tangy homemade dressing! Fresh, flavorful, and colorful this dish has it all!
Best Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing
This recipe is a favorite of ours to serve at potlucks, BBQs and parties. Here’s why:
- The flavors. The Italian flavors in this version of pasta salad really set it apart. The fresh herbs mixed with creamy cheese, flavorful salami, fresh veggies and that homemade Italian dressing makes this dish utterly delicious.
- It’s colorful! Between the tomatoes, pepperoncinis, pickles, salami and cheese, this salad is colorful and makes for a great presentation at parties.
- Everyone loves it! Pasta salads are so great for parties because they appeal to both kids and adults.
- Can be made in advance. This easy Italian pasta salad is one of the best salads that you can make in advance. The dressing can be made days in advance and the rest of salad can be prepped the day before, refrigerated, and then tossed together the morning you plan on serving.
I think this salad tastes even better the second and third days because the pasta really starts to absorb the flavors.
More Pasta Recipes
- Chicken Alfredo Bake
- Chili Mac and Cheese
- Stuffed Shells
- Mac and Cheese
- Chicken and Noodles Recipe
- Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
What You’ll Need
This Italian Pasta Salad Recipe is packed with unique flavors and fresh ingredients! As always, you can find the full printable recipe with complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need…
For the Italian Dressing:
- extra virgin olive oil: For a smooth base.
- apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar: For a deliciously tangy flavor.
- garlic: finely minced.
- seasonings: dried oregano, dried minced onion, celery salt, dried parsley, dried thyme, and fresh cracked black pepper.
- fennel seeds: For a slightly sweet and unique flavor.
- red pepper flakes: For a hint of heat.
For the Pasta Salad:
- elbow pasta: You could substitute fusilli or rotini noodles.
- dill pickles: These add a wonderful crunch and flavor to the salad.
- tomatoes: Grape or cherry tomatoes work well in this dish. You can use what you have on hand as long as they are diced into small pieces.
- white onion: A white onion has the best mild taste that won’t overpower the other flavors. You could substitute for a red onion if you wanted a stronger taste.
- pepperoncinis: This gives a hint of spice to the pasta salad and really sells that quintessential Italian flavor.
- fresh herbs: Basil, oregano, parsley
- salami: Diced into bite sized pieces.
- provolone: A fresh block, diced as well.
- parmesan cheese: Freshly grated for a garnish.
How To Make Italian Pasta Salad
For the Dressing:
- Prepare the dressing first. Combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, minced garlic, celery salt, dried parsley and thyme, salt and pepper, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes in a mason jar with a tight lid.
- Shake vigorously. Refrigerate the dressing for an hour before serving, or overnight to allow the flavors to blend together.
For the Pasta Salad:
- Boil 4 cups of salted water. Then add the pasta noodles and cook according to the package for an al dente texture.
- Drain the cooked noodles and rinse under cold water for about 2 minutes. Next, toss with olive oil and refrigerate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Dice the dill pickles, tomatoes, onion, pepperoncinis, salami, and the provolone cheese into bite sized pieces. Chop basil, fresh parsley and oregano.
- Combine the diced vegetables, herb, meat, cheese, and pasta in a large bowl.
- Add the dressing and toss to thoroughly mix. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
- Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese just before serving and enjoy!
Leftover pasta salad with Italian dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stir thoroughly to blend the flavors before serving leftovers.
The Italian dressing can be stored in a mason jar (or other airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Can I Double The Recipe?
Absolutely! This Italian pasta salad recipe is easily doubled to feed a large crowd. Since you’re already chopping and dicing anyway it doesn’t take much more time to cut up a few extras of everything to toss together. Be sure to double the dressing recipe as well and you’re good to go! The only challenge will be finding a big enough serving bowl!
Can I Make The Dressing Ahead of Time?
The homemade dressing can be made up to a week in advance. Be sure to give it a good shake to reblend the flavors before pouring over the pasta salad if it’s been sitting a few days.
Trish’s Tips and Tricks
We are obsessed with this pasta salad with Italian dressing because of it’s amazing flavors and homemade dressing. Here are some tips as well as recipe variations to consider:
- Instead of dill pickles try green or black olives.
- Fresh mozzarella pearls can be substituted for the provolone and lend some added texture to the pasta salad.
- You can use pepperoni over salami if you prefer a little more spice.
- If you want to add in even more veggies try bell peppers, cucumbers, or shredded carrots.
- For the noodles, any medium or small sized pasta will work. Tri color rotini adds even more color. Bow tie pasta, cavatappi, or even shells can be used.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. If you overcook the noodles and they start off mushy, once they sit in the dressing they’re only going to get worse. Start with al dente noodles so they hold up in the sauce.
- Grape or cherry tomatoes are beautiful in this dish.
More Salad Recipes:
How To Make Italian Pasta Salad
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound elbow pasta
- 3 whole dill pickles diced
- 3 tomatoes diced
- 1 white onion or red onion, diced
- ¼ cup pepperoncinis
- 2 sprigs basil fresh, chopped
- 1 sprig oregano fresh, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley fresh, chopped
- ½ pound salami diced
- 4 ounces provolone block if you can find it, diced
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese block preferred
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic or more depending on your liking
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon black pepper fresh ground
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Prepare Italian Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving, preferably overnight to allow the flavors to combine.
- Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook to al dente according to the package. Drain and rinse under cold water for 2 minutes. Toss with olive oil and refrigerate as you prepare remaining ingredients.
- Dice the pickles, tomatoes, onion, pepperoncinis, salami, and provolone cheese.
- Cut the basil into ribbons and chop the fresh parsley and oregano leaves.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Before serving, top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!