This easy Italian Pasta Salad is a perfect summer salad. Tender pasta, juicy tomatoes, cucumber, savory olives, fresh mozzarella cheese, and bits of salami are tossed in a delicious Italian dressing.
Best of all in just about 20 minutes, you have a delicious salad that can be a wholesome lunch, simple side dish, or an addition to a summer cookout or BBQ.
Salad Ingredients You'll Need
16 ounces PASTA - Most of the time I use fusilli pasta. But other pasta styles such as farfalle, penne, or rotini pasta work well, too. If you want to introduce some extra color look for tri-colored pasta.
- 1 small BELL PEPPER
- 1½ cups CHERRY TOMATOES - quartered
- 1 cup CUCUMBER - chopped (about ½ of a medium cucumber)
- ½ cup OLIVES - I used pimento-stuffed olives, but traditional green or black olives work well, too (or even a combination of both!)
Meat and Dairy
- 1 cup ITALIAN DRESSING
Do you want to make your salad taste extra delicious? I recommend our 5-minute homemade Italian Dressing. It's easy and will bring out the very best in your salad.
But if you're pressed for time this pre-made dressing will be great, too.
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How To Make This Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Cook the pasta al dente which simply means tender but firm.
While the pasta is underway, chop, slice, and dice the olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella cheese, and salami.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing over the ingredients and combine well.
Recipe Success Tips
- This salad can be made a day in advance. In fact, I prefer to either prepare the salad in the morning or make it the night before serving. This way the flavors have time to marinate. But you can also serve the salad straight away.
- Fresh Mozzarella Balls are a nice touch, but you can use a log of fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Adding a handful of fresh basil before serving adds extra flavor.
- This is a very forgiving salad. Don't have pimento green olives? No problem. Use black olives instead. You can also experiment with other things you might have in your fridge. I've used red onion, piquillo peppers, and even canned artichokes to this salad.
- Need to chill pasta fast? Prepare a large bowl of ice water. After draining dump the steaming hot pasta into the ice water for 30 seconds. Drain again.
More Amazing Salads
- Classic Pea Salad
- Cold German Potato Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Green Bean and Potato Salad
- Chopped Greek Salad
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound pasta
Meat and Dairy
- 8 ounces Mozzarella Balls halved or quartered
- 4 ounces Salami cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Add a bit of oil into the pasta water to prevent the pasta from sticking. Drain and allow to cool.
- Use a large bowl to combine cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumbers, and olives. Add fresh mozzarella and salami.
- Pour Italian dressing over everything and toss well.