Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

italian pasta salad

a recipe by
Teresa G.
Here, KY

This is one terrific pasta salad! It consists of rotini, cherry tomatoes, pepperoni, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, a little sweet bell pepper, cheese and basil, tossed in either my super flavorful, tangy, homemade asiago Italian dressing or your favorite bottled brand. It's a party in your mouth! This recipe converts, easily, to vegetarian by omitting the pepperoni. You may double or triple the salad ingredients for family/party size. The dressing recipe won't need to be doubled as it makes enough for a triple recipe. Perfect for a picnic - no mayo!

serves 2-3 generously as main course
prep time 30 Min
cook time 10 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For italian pasta salad

  • SALAD:
  • 12 - 15
    cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 12
    kalamata olives. pitted and sliced
  • 1/8 c
    pepperoncini pepper rings, rough chopped
  • 3 - 4 slice
    sweet bell pepper, chopped small (orange, red or yellow)
  • 12 - 15 slice
    pepperoni, quartered or cut in 1/6
  • 3
    mozzarella string cheese sticks, sliced into coins
  • 3 lg
    fresh basil leaves, chiffonade or chopped
  • 6 oz
    tri-colored rotini (or your favorite salad pasta)
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp
    prepared italian dressing (bottled or homemade, *see recipe below)
  • 1/2 Tbsp
    fresh chives
  • 1/2 c
    olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1/4 c
    white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp
    granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp
    lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp
    coarse ground mustard
  • 2 Tbsp
    asiago cheese, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp
    parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3/4 tsp
    garlic salt
  • 3/4 tsp
    dry parsley flakes
  • 3/4 tsp
    dry basil flakes
  • 1/8 tsp
    dry oregano
  • 1 pinch
    red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch
    freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sm
  • 1 sm
    onion powder
  • 1 pinch
    fine pink himalayan salt or sea salt

How To Make italian pasta salad

  • Bowl with homemade dressing and whisk.
    (* Important: If using homemade dressing, it's best to make dressing at least one day ahead of time and store in refrigerator.) Add all dressing ingredients to a pint jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well, or whisk together in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator, at least 1/2 hour before using, to allow solidified olive oil to liquify. Shake, or mix well, right before using.
  • 2
    To a large bowl, add tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, bell peppers, pepperoni, string cheese coins and half of the fresh basil. Set aside, temporarily.
  • 3
    Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and rinse with cold water to cool the pasta.
  • 4
    Add 3 tablespoons Italian dressing to the tomato bowl; mix together well.
  • 5
    Add well drained pasta to tomato mixture; fold gently to combine and coat with dressing (add extra dressing, if desired.)
  • Plated Italian pasta salad.
    Plate the salad, or transfer to serving dish; scatter extra basil and chives over all. Serve, or cover and refrigerate until served.
  • Leftover Italian pasta salad in covered containers, ready for refrigeration.
    Refrigerate leftovers in covered containers.