When it comes to satisfying recipes that are versatile and simple, none have the ability to please crowds quite like the pasta salad. The diverse grab bag of ingredients welcomes just about anyone to enjoy this simple but effective meal. Perhaps one of the best things about a pasta salad recipe is that you can tweak it however you like to accommodate not only your own tastes but those of your guests. So, whether you have some leftover pasta in the fridge or you need something to bring to the summer party, a pasta salad is your one-way ticket to bringing everyone together with this medley of ingredients.

Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

a bowl full of pasta salad topped with halved cherry tomatoes

What You'll Need

  • 16 oz of rotini or penne
  • 8 oz fresh bocconcini balls, halved
  • 1/2 pound of Italian salami, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red onion
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon of parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing


  • Cook your noodles based on the ingredients of the box (usually 6-8 minutes).
  • Once the noodles are cooked, drain them in a colander and run the noodles under cold water.
  • Shake the excess water from the pasta and place the noodles into a large salad bowl.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl over the noodles and toss to mix ingredients.
  • Sprinkle fresh Parmesan cheese and a 1/2 cup of salad dressing over the salad.

Additional Ingredients

If you're a vegetarian or you have vegetarian guests coming over, you can completely omit the chopped salami and leave the salad as it. The remaining flavors will stand well enough alone together to still be flavorful.

Omitting the meat from your pasta salad recipe doesn't mean that you can't add a few more ingredients. Grab a can of pitted black olives and toss them in with the ingredients after the noodles have cooked. You can also add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of raw spinach or replace Parmesan cheese with crumbled feta for a different flavor. Of course, we can't leave out people who prefer their salads with a bit of a kick; add 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes for a spicy twist.

a closeup of a pasta salad on a white plate

No one can deny that there is a wide selection of pasta salad recipes out there to try out, and you may find one that works better for you and your particular tastes. But if you're hoping to whip up something that pleases guests and won't take an hour of preparation time, the pasta salad is your best bet.

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