• Main Dishes | Salads
  • Italian Pasta Salad

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    Fresh and tangy, this Italian pasta salad is the perfect accompaniment to all of your summer meals. Made with freshly cooked pasta, lots of veggies, mozzarella, and salami before being tossed in a homemade Italian dressing, it’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, and cookouts.

    Italian pasta salad with Italian dressing

    Summer is well and truly here, and that for me means lots of picnics and cookouts! This easy Italian pasta salad recipe is a must for any outdoor feast during the warmer months.

    Simple to make and full of fresh and vibrant flavors, it’s the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats and fish. Loaded with lots of fresh veggies, the dressing is tangy and herby and blends all of the ingredients together.

    Be sure to try my Tuna Pasta Salad and Wedge Salad too!

    homemade pasta salad with tomatoes cucumbers salami and mozzarella

    Why you will love this recipe!

    • Quick and easy: Just cook up the pasta, shake together the dressing and toss everything together.
    • Make ahead: Because this pasta salad contains no mayo it has a good shelf life and can be made several days ahead of time.
    • Easy to adapt: You can easily add in other salad ingredients to this recipe to suit your tastes.
    close up shot of a bowl with healthy Italian pasta salad and vegetables

    Ingredients for the best Italian pasta salad

    • Pasta: I used rotini pasta for this easy pasta salad, but it will work well with fusilli, bow tie, macaroni, or any other short kinds of pasta.
    • Vegetables: Red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, black olives.
    • Mozzarella: I used the small mozzarella balls (bocconcini) and cut them in half. They add a great creamy texture to each bite.
    • Salami: Salami slices ad a nice sweet and spicy flavor to the salad. You can leave this out if you are a vegetarian.
    • Italian dressing: This homemade Italian dressing is perfect for pasta salad, and it is zingy and herby and takes a matter of minutes to make.
    Italian pasta salad ingredients
    ingredients for Italian dressing

    How to make Italian pasta salad

    • Add all ingredients to a large serving bowl.
    • Drizzle with Italian dressing.
    • Toss salad until evenly coated.
    process shots of making Italian pasta salad

    How long does it keep?

    Because this zesty Italian pasta salad contains no mayo, it will keep well, covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. Because there is no mayo, it can also sit safely at room temperature so it’s perfect for picnics and pot lucks. It’s best not to freeze it as the texture can change quite considerably. I like to make this at least 30 minutes ahead of time and let it sit so that the flavors have a chance to develop.

    Should you rinse the pasta?

    Don’t rinse the pasta after cooking it, as this will remove the starch that will help the dressing stick and absorb into it. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it is al dente and then drain it. You don’t have to let the pasta cool completely before tossing it with the other ingredients.

    close up shot of Italian salad with pasta

    What do you serve it with?

    This no mayo pasta salad is great to serve with grilled meats and seafood, you can even add some shredded chicken to it and enjoy it for easy meals throughout the week. Try it with:

    TIPS FROM NELI’S KITCHEN

    Recipe Notes and Tips for the best Italian pasta salad

    • Don’t overcook or undercook the pasta. It should be taken out of the pot when it is al dente as it will continue to cook after it is drained.
    • Cook the pasta in salted water so that you start to season the dish right from the start.
    • Cut the vegetables into small pieces so that they mix well with the other ingredients and are easy to eat.
    • Allow the Italian pasta salad to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors develop.
    Pasta salad with mozzarella salami tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl

    More Salad Recipes

    If you love this cold pasta salad with Italian dressing, I am sure you will also love these salads:

    Italian pasta salad with Italian dressing
    5 from 2 votes
    Print Review Pin It!

    Italian Pasta Salad

    Fresh and tangy, this Italian pasta salad is the perfect accompaniment to all of your summer meals. Made with freshly cooked pasta, lots of veggies, mozzarella and salami before being tossed in a homemade Italian dressing, it's perfect for picnics, potlucks and cookouts.
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 10 minutes
    Servings 8 servings
    Calories 391kcal

    INGREDIENTS

    INSTRUCTIONS

    • Add all ingredients to a large serving bowl.
    • Drizzle with Italian dressing and toss salad until evenly coated.

    TIPS & NOTES

    • Don’t overcook or undercook the pasta. It should be taken out of the pot when it is al dente as it will continue to cook after it is drained.
    • Cook the pasta in salted water so that you start to season the dish right from the start.
    • Cut the vegetables into small pieces so that they mix well with the other ingredients and are easy to eat.
    • Allow the Italian pasta salad to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors develop.

    NUTRITION

    Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 1090mg | Potassium: 358mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 861IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 1mg
    Course Salad
    Cuisine American, Italian
    Keyword no mayo pasta salad, pasta salad dressing, rotini pasta salad
    Did you make this recipe?

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    Comments

    Donna

    I need a pasta salad tonight and forgot to pick up trim colored can I use elbow mac instead

    Rob K

    5 stars
    Another home run from Neli! I followed the recipe almost exactly – only substituting smoked, kippered salmon for the salami and adding 4 chopped hardboiled eggs.

    The dish was a big hit and repeater for the family!

    Robyn Pooldaily

    5 stars
    This was EXTREMELY GOOD!!!!!!!!

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