Italian Pasta Salad

4.60 from 5 votes

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Italian Pasta Salad is like a magic mix of pasta, veggies, and tasty dressings that come together to make a super yummy dish. It’s a bit like a regular salad, but with pasta as the star!

This Italian pasta salad is loved because it’s like a tasty adventure in a bowl! You get to eat different shapes of pasta, lots of colorful veggies, and the dressing makes everything taste exciting.

Italian pasta salad in a wooden bowl
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Italian Pasta Salad

This salad is a superstar at picnics and parties. It’s easy to make in big batches, and everyone can grab a scoop. It’s like a party in your mouth!

Italian Pasta Salad is actually great to enjoy during all seasons of the year. Because it’s a cold pasta dish, you can eat it when it’s warm outside, like in the summer, or when it’s cold, like in the winter. It’s really versatile!

During the warm months, it’s awesome for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties. The cool and refreshing flavors make it perfect for hot days. In the colder months, you can still enjoy Italian Pasta Salad as a side dish at indoor gatherings or even as a light meal when you want something different from the usual warm foods.

ingredients for Italian pasta salad in a clear mixing bowl


  • Tri-Color Rotini pasta
  • Grape tomatoes halved
  • Salami 
  • Red onions 
  • Mozzarella
  • Kalamata Olives or black olives

Italian Vinaigrette/Dressing

  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey Dijon mustard
  • Parsley
  • Italian seasonings
  • Garlic powder
  • Honey

Keep scrolling to find a full, printable recipe with a detailed ingredient list.

Recipe Instructions

  1. Cook and cool the pasta. Mix in tomatoes, salami, onion, mozzarella, and olives.
  2. Make dressing with oil, lemon juice, mustard, spices, and honey.
  3. Pour dressing on pasta and mix.
  4. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Add salt and pepper later.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
ingredients for Italian pasta salad

Frequently Asked Question

Can I use any type of pasta for Italian Pasta Salad?

You can use different shapes of pasta like spirals, shells, or bows. Choose the one you like best or have on hand.

Is it okay to use a pre-made salad dressing?

Sure thing! While making your own dressing is great, using a pre-made dressing can save time and still taste delicious.

How long should I chill the pasta salad before serving?

Chill the pasta salad for at least 1 hour, but longer is even better. This allows the flavors to blend nicely with the pasta.

Can I make Italian Pasta Salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! Italian Pasta Salad actually gets tastier as it sits in the fridge. You can prepare it a few hours or even a day in advance.

close up of Italian pasta salad

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Italian pasta salad in a wooden bowl
4.60 from 5 votes

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian pasta salad is a delightful dish that combines cooked pasta, colorful vegetables, savory meats, and a flavorful dressing for a tasty side dish.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 12 oz Tri-Color Rotini pasta, 1 box
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup hard salami, diced (Cut the salami into ¼ inch thick and each slice into cubes)
  • ½ cup red onions, thinly sliced and cut into bite-size
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed (or Mozzarella pearls)
  • ½ cup sliced Kalamata Olives, or black olives

Italian Vinaigrette/Dressing

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dry Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Rinsing with cold water will help the pasta not stick together. Some prefer not to rinse the pasta once they are cooked, I would suggest adding a little bit of olive oil to avoid the pasta sticking together.
  • Once the pasta is cooked and drained, place them in a large mixing bowl. Let them cool completely.
  • Once the pasta is cooled, add the grape tomatoes, hard salami, onion, mozzarella, and olives. Mix so all ingredients are well blended. Set aside.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Parsley, Italian seasonings, garlic powder, and honey. Whisk so all ingredients are combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture. Using 2 serving spoons, toss to coat all ingredients of the pasta with the dressing.
  • Cool for at least 1 hour (we cooled it off for 2 hours in the fridge) to allow the dressing flavors to bind with the pasta.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste. Keep in mind the flavors will keep developing as the salad rests in the fridge. I would strongly suggest waiting at least 1 hour before adding any salt or pepper.
  • Serve and Enjoy!


  • We add the Kalamata olives for their stronger fruity flavor. Black olives can be used instead.
  • You can use any short pasta, I would suggest a Rigatoni, Penne, or Ziti. These kinds of pasta have more of a texture, and therefore the vinaigrette will stick to it easier.
  • Side dish: Serve this pasta alongside a sandwich, grilled chicken, steaks, baked BBQ chicken thighs, pizza, burgers,…
  • Keep in mind this salad is excellent to serve within 24 hours of making it, but be an excellent dish for lunch, at the park, or the beach.
  • Storage: Store in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
  • Warning: DON’T overcook the pasta. It will be mushy and the texture would not be right. Remember the pasta will keep cooking a little after you drain the water and rinse it.
  • Make it spicy: Use spicy salami, chopped Jalapeno, or add some banana peppers.
  • Make it Deluxe: Add fresh chopped herbs (basil, parsley, thyme). Add some chopped fennel. use different types of salami. Sprinkle some Gorgonzola or Feta when serving.


Serving: 1 of 10 servings, Calories: 404kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 407mg, Potassium: 186mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 192IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Italian pasta salad is a delicious and versatile dish that brings together the goodness of pasta, veggies, meats, and dressing, making it a perfect choice for any meal or occasion.

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Recipe Rating


    1. More of anything you do like! I like pickled peppers or something that is salty like an olive.