Italian pasta salad is packing a punch of flavor with a homemade Italian dressing. This pasta salad is bursting with goodness – salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach, and pepperoncini!
I have been a long time lover of the cold pasta or vegetable salad.
I think my husband was a little shocked and dismayed the first time he came to a family dinner at my parent’s house. Everyone brings sides and the majority of those sides are cold salads.
He is not much for these types of salads. They usually have onion and he’s not a fan of that. He’s also weird about cold pasta and potatoes, so you can imagine his struggle. 😉
Luckily for him, I love this type of side dish and am happy to eat his portion for him. 😉
This pasta salad with Italian dressing is basically a big ol’ bowl full of heaven. There is SO much good stuff packed into one pasta salad. I bet you won’t want to share!
Pasta Salad Ingredients:
Tri-Colored Rotini – Any small shape of pasta will work here, but we love the color and texture of this rotini.
Mozzarella Balls – Shredded mozzarella will also work, if that’s what you prefer.
Pepperoncini – Adds a little heat and zing to the dish!
What Readers are Saying!
“My husband made this salad, it was so good, it made so much we were able to have it for several meals. Thank you so much for sharing.”
Lemon Juice – Use a fresh squeezed lemon, it really brings out the flavor!
How to Make Pasta Salad:
Boil: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your pasta. You’ll want to cook this until just al dente – no one likes mushy pasta in their pasta salad.
You’ll want to let your pasta cool before adding in all the goodies, so drain and rinse under cold water.
Chop: Next, you’ll dice up all the goodies going inside.
For this Italian pasta salad recipe, we’re using a big mix of things – fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, salami, cherry tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, red onion, and pepperoncini. You can adjust these ingredients to fit your tastes with no problem.
Stir all that goodness into a large mixing bowl with the pasta and move on to the dressing.
Alternatives: Skip the pepperoni for extra salami, or swap the pepperoncini for mild banana peppers! Use grated mozzarella instead of fresh mozzarella. Add some olives! It’s hard to mess this one up, though in my opinion, the recipe is perfect as written. 😉
Italian Dressing: If you love Italian dressing (I do!!), you’re going to love my homemade dressing! It’s perfect for coating the pasta salad.
You’re going to need some olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, sugar, oregano, basil, and rosemary.
The sugar does not make this sweet – it’s just a bit to balance out the acidity. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, sweet Italian dressing is from the devil. I feel the same way about sweet pickles. 😉
Everything just gets whisked together really well. Easy as pie.
Mix and Chill: Pour the dressing right over your pasta salad, stir to coat, and taste for seasoning! I usually add a bit more salt, but taste it and see what you think.
Once the pasta is coated in the dressing, you’ll want to pop this in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors meld together.
More summer salad recipes:
Italian Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad
- 1 pound tri-colored rotini
- 8 ounces mozzarella balls
- 8 ounces salami
- 8 ounces pepperoni
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup pepperoncini
For the dressing
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 clove garlic minced
- To make the pasta salad, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rotini and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water until pasta is cool.
- While the pasta is cooking, cut the mozzarella balls in half. Cut the salami and pepperoni into small pieces. Halve the cherry tomatoes and roughly chop the spinach. Dice the peperoncini into small pieces.
- Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl with the prepared mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, tomatoes, spinach, onion, and pepperoncini.
- To make the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients until well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and stir well to coat.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
- Taste and add additional seasoning as desired.