colorful party pasta salad

★★★★★ 2
a recipe by
Megan Todd
Warren, OH

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. In 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!

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Wow, this a pasta salad recipe! There are 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.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
★★★★★ 2
serves 12-20
prep time 45 Min
cook time 10 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For colorful party pasta salad

  • 2 c
    olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 c
    red wine vinegar
  • 1
    whole bay leaf
  • 1 sprig
    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 lg
    cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 lg
    red onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 md
    green pepper, diced
  • 1 md
    red pepper, diced
  • 1 md
    yellow pepper, diced
  • 4 md
    roma tomatoes, dices
  • 1 md
    stick of pepperoni, paper removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick, then diced
  • 1 can
    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
    rosemary, chopped
  • fresh oregano to taste, chopped

How To Make colorful party pasta salad

  • 1
    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.
  • 2
    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!
  • 3
    Chop all vegetables & add to pasta, mix in well.
  • 4
    Dice pepperoni & cheeses; add to pasta and vegetables. Fold in. Add fresh seasonings to taste.
  • 5
    Add Italian dressing & stir well. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving. Best if made the day beforehand.
  • 6
    Stir well and add fresh grated Romano cheese just before serving.