Italian Pasta Salad is one of our favorite pasta salad recipes. This is an easy, make-ahead salad that is perfect for meal prep. Every bite is loaded with rotini, salami, mozzarella, olives, healthy veggies, and a homemade creamy Italian Dressing.

Italian pasta salad in serving bowl with Italian dressing

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Pasta Salad Ingredients:

Italian Pasta Salad is a meal in itself with protein, grains and plenty of vegetables. It has vibrant Italian flavors with kalamata olives, fresh mozzarella cheese, salami, and parsley.

We love that you can change up the ingredients based on what you have on hand. Try substituting with diced bell pepper, or crunchy broccoli, or use Feta instead of Mozarella cheese to add some Greek flavors. P.S. If you’re feeling adventurous, roasting your own bell peppers will take this salad to the next level.

Ingredients for Italian pasta salad with rotini pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, mozzarella, red onion, salami, parsley, roasted red pepper and homemade Italian Dressing

What is the Best Italian Dressing?

We love homemade Italian dressing for the best flavor and because you can use high-quality oil and seasonings. In a pinch, store-bought Italian dressings will work. We like Newman’s Own brand Italian dressing and Ken’s brand Italian dressing.

Italian Dressing in mason jar with tomatoes and parsley on the side

How to Make Pasta Salad Video Tutorial:

I hope this Pasta Salad Recipe becomes a new favorite for you. It makes meal prep so easy! If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe to our Youtube Channel and click the bell icon so you get a notification when we post a new video.

What is the Best Pasta for Salad?

We love rotini noodles for pasta salad. Rotini is the spiral-shaped pasta you will see in the photos here. You can buy them in the traditional pasta color or in a multicolor blend which can be really fun for a pasta salad. You can also experiment with different kinds of pasta such as shell pasta or macaroni.

The best pasta salad with rotini pasta and other pasta salad ingredients arranged in mixing bowl

How to Cook Pasta for Pasta Salad:

Cook your pasta in salted water according to package instructions until it is aldenté. Aldente means firm to the bite. Pasta that is overcooked can seem mushy in pasta salad and will absorb more dressing so make sure you don’t overcook. As soon as the pasta is aldenté, drain in a colander then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process, chill the pasta, and rinse off excess starch to keep the pasta from sticking.

Cook’s Tip: Buttered pasta doesn’t work well for pasta salad so do not add butter or oil after your pasta is cooked. Rinsing in cold water is enough to prevent noodles from sticking together and there is plenty of oil in the salad dressing.

Pasta Cooked until aldente for pasta salad in bowl combined with other pasta salad ingredients

More Pasta Salad Recipes:

Italian Pasta Salad

5 from 161 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Italian pasta salad in serving bowl with Italian dressing
Italian Pasta Salad is an easy, make-ahead recipe that is perfect for meal prep. Every bite is loaded with rotini, salami, fresh mozzarella, olives, and healthy vegetables, and it all comes together with a homemade creamy Italian Dressing.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 people
  • 8 oz rotini pasta
  • 6 oz salami, sliced into strips
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved (3 cups)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, pearls or halved mozzarella balls
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers* drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Italian dressing, or added to taste

Instructions

  • Cook rotini pasta according to package instructions in salted water just until pasta is aldente (firm to the bite).
  • While pasta cooks, prep remaining ingredients and make Italian Dressing.
  • Add dressing just to the portion fo salad you plan to eat. Enjoy right away or cover and let the salad marinate for 1-3 hours before serving.

Notes

*Or you can make your own roasted peppers

Nutrition Per Serving

386kcal Calories30g Carbs16g Protein23g Fat8g Saturated Fat39mg Cholesterol1340mg Sodium331mg Potassium2g Fiber6g Sugar718IU Vitamin A17mg Vitamin C180mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Italian Pasta Salad
Amount per Serving
Calories
386
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
23
g
35
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Cholesterol
 
39
mg
13
%
Sodium
 
1340
mg
58
%
Potassium
 
331
mg
9
%
Carbohydrates
 
30
g
10
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
16
g
32
%
Vitamin A
 
718
IU
14
%
Vitamin C
 
17
mg
21
%
Calcium
 
180
mg
18
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: italian pasta salad, pasta salad
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 386
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Lilly
    June 2, 2024

    Is it a deal breaker to skip the cheese and meat? I am making this for a party. I have a couple guests with specific diets.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 3, 2024

      Hi Lilly, those are tough ones to replace for flavor and you’ll be missing that saltiness. You could try sub with chickpeas and also add some avocado then season with more salt to taste.

      Reply

  • Stephanie
    June 2, 2024

    This is my go to pasta salad! Delicious! My family loves it! I’ve been following you for years. I’ve made so much many of your recipes! Thank you! ♥️

    Reply

  • Brenda
    May 21, 2024

    Which kind of salami do you recommend? There are so many to choose from, I can never decide which is best.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 21, 2024

      Hi Brenda! We used pre-sliced Italian salami purchased from the deli. Any will work. I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

    • Shannon
      May 27, 2024

      I like hard salami. Genoa has peppercorns in them which I do not care for.

      Reply

  • Joy Larsen
    April 30, 2024

    Italian Pasta salad is one of our favorite in your recipes. Family loves it. So tasty and yummy 😋❤️❤️❤️

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 30, 2024

      Yes it is! Good to know that your family loves it!

      Reply

  • Paige
    April 27, 2024

    Haven’t tried it yet but it is gorgeous! Can’t wait to try it and based on all other recipes from Natasha, I’m confident it will taste as good as it looks!

    Reply

  • Reba Lybolt
    April 10, 2024

    Hi my sonin-law calls it spaghetti salad, he uses spaghetti broken up instead other wise same as yours yum.

    Reply

  • Dee
    March 30, 2024

    Can I prepare this with the dressing in it and refrigerated overnight?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 30, 2024

      Hi Dee, The homemade dressing will last up to 2 weeks refrigerated but the salad itself, once assembled and mixed is best within the first couple of days because of the tomatoes and other ingredients that start to get watery and mushy.

      Reply

  • Nancy Sale
    March 16, 2024

    This is so delicious that I could eat it for breakfast. All of your receipts are wonderful! I am also loving your new cook book.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 16, 2024

      Thank you for your nice comment, Nancy! It makes my day reading comments like this, I’m so glad you love my cook book.

      Reply

  • Julie Winslade-Danielson
    March 6, 2024

    You’re awesome! Perfect recipe for my family. I’ve been watching your YouTube videos for YEARS. I especially love your NY Style cheesecake recipe, I make it every Christmas.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 6, 2024

      Thank you for your lovely comment and compliment Julie! I’m smiling big readying your review.

      Reply

  • Susan Reise
    February 28, 2024

    Natasha great salad! I love your videos because you always taste what you make. I bought two of your cookbooks. One for me and one for my sister In Law.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 28, 2024

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Susan! I’m so happy to hear you loved this salad.

      Reply

  • Adrienne Wright
    September 4, 2023

    I just made this tonight and it turned out delicious!! I will definitely be making it again. Had a nice helping and that was before it got cold. Keep those delicious recipes coming!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 4, 2023

      So glad you loved it, Adrienne!

      Reply

  • Joanie
    July 29, 2023

    The bowl hasn’t been available for at least a year on Amazon. I think it could be discontinued. The only sur la table bowl like it is 16″
    How long will this keep in the fridge with the dressing on it?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 29, 2023

      Hi Joanie! The homemade dressing will last up to 2 weeks refrigerated but the salad itself, once assembled and mixed is best within the first couple of days because of the tomatoes and other ingredients that start to get watery and mushy.

      Reply

  • Sylvie
    July 29, 2023

    This salad is outstanding, it’s always a hit. I used feta cheese instead of the mozzarella.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 29, 2023

      Hi Sylvie! I’m glad you loved it!

      Reply

  • Britt Emanuel Sørensen
    July 22, 2023

    OMG my mouth is already watering for this recipe it looks absolutely delicious 🙂 Would love to serve this to a fully gathered family dinner but one question what type of salami do you use ??

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 22, 2023

      Hi Britt! We used pre-sliced Italian salami purchased from the deli. Any will work. I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

  • Brittany
    July 4, 2023

    Thank you for this recipe. I doubled it, omitted the olives, rinsed and halved marinated fresh mozzarella balls that happened to be on sale, and used store bought Olive Garden dressing, since I had to make a large portion for a potluck at work. It was still a hit, and there was barley a small portion left to take home to mom.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 4, 2023

      That’s great, Brittany!

      Reply

  • Katherine
    July 1, 2023

    There’s no way I could slice, chop, dice, and half the ingredients, plus make the dressing in the amount of time it took to cook the rotini el dente and cool it. I need a sous chef. 😁

    Reply

  • michael Macanka
    June 5, 2023

    JUST IN TIME SUMMER IS NEAR,JUST THE RECIPIE I WAS LOOKING FOR,YOU NEED TO MAKE MORE EASY RECIPIES.ALWAYS LOOKING TO SAVE TIME IN THE KITCHEN THANK YOU

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 5, 2023

      Hi Michael! So glad you found this recipe! Thank you for the suggestion. I hope you love this one!

      Reply

      • Patty
        June 9, 2023

        Oh my! I wanted a cool dinner to serve on a hot summer day and this filled the bill perfectly. I’ll be making this again very soon. It’s delicious!!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          June 9, 2023

          I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Patty! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

          Reply

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