Colorful Party Pasta Salad

Megan Todd


This recipe is a family favorite that is requested for EVERY bonfire, birthday party, holiday get together or any family occasion! Recently we went to our niece's birthday party empty handed (meaning no pasta salad, but lots of gifts), and was asked over and over again where the pasta salad was. My defense, I offered to make something and was told not to.

Anyhow, I more than made up for it this past weekend for my kids' birthday celebration & our season opening bonfire. Feel free to add your family's favorite vegetables. It brings lots of color to any summer get together!

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45 Min


10 Min


Stove Top

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Wow, this a pasta salad recipe! There is a lot of fresh veggies, herbs, cheese and pepperoni. If that isn't enough, the homemade dressing is amazing and the star of this pasta salad recipe. After pouring the dressing on the salad this chills in the fridge for a few hours and that's where the flavor magic happens. This makes a ton and would be great for a cookout, large gathering or potluck.



2 c
olive oil, extra virgin
1 c
red wine vinegar
whole bay leaf
1 sprig(s)
fresh rosemary
2 clove
garlic, peeled, whole
2 clove
garlic, peeled, & minced
3/4 tsp
parsley, Italian
1/2 tsp
celery salt
1/2 tsp
onion powder
1/2 tsp
basil, dried
1/2 tsp
thyme, dried
1/2 tsp
coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp
fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp
oregano, dried


1 lb
pasta, tri-colored fusilli (cooked according to package directions, drained & cooled)
1 large
cucumber, peeled and diced
1 large
red onion, peeled & diced
1 medium
green pepper, diced
1 medium
red pepper, diced
1 medium
yellow pepper, diced
4 medium
roma tomatoes, dices
1 medium
stick of pepperoni, paper removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick, then diced
1 can(s)
medium black olives, drained & sliced
1-8 oz
brick, mozzarella cheese
1-8 oz
brick, sharp cheddar cheese
fresh grated romano cheese (add when serving)
1 bunch
broccoli florets, chopped
1 sprig(s)
rosemary, chopped
fresh oregano to taste, chopped

Directions Step-By-Step

To make dressing:
In a large glass jar or bottle with a lid, add whole garlic, bay leaf, & rosemary sprig. Add extra virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar. Add all remaining seasonings. Place lid on jar and shake gently to mix well. (Taste dressing & add adjust seasonings to your taste.) Refrigerate any unused dressing.

NOTE: Dressing is best if left to sit 24 hours before use. This allows the garlic & rosemary to infuse into the oil & vinegar. Homemade is best, but you can use your favorite Italian dressing as well.
Prepare pasta according to directions, drain, cool, & drizzle with a small amount of EVOO & set aside.

NOTE: Pasta salad is very versatile, & if it's a last minute request, I make with what I have on hand. I always have fresh vegetables in my fridge, & ingredients for Italian dressing. If I don't have red or yellow peppers, I use extra green peppers. Sometimes I add celery too. It really just depends on what I have on hand. But the recipe herein is by far my favorite way to prepare this wonderful salad!
Chop all vegetables & add to pasta, mix in well.
Dice pepperoni & cheeses; add to pasta and vegetables. Fold in. Add fresh seasonings to taste.
Add Italian dressing & stir well. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving. Best if made the day beforehand.
Stir well and add fresh grated Romano cheese just before serving.