Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

This Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe is the cold pasta salad you need to be serving this summer!  Made with tri-colored rotini pasta, this easy dish comes together in less than twenty minutes. It’s the perfect dish to serve at cookouts and summer parties.

Top shot of Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe in a bowl

Is it even summer without a delicious pasta salad? I always love serving up a big bowl at our summer parties, or taking it along to cookouts at friends’. Loaded with fresh Italian ingredients, this dish is always a hit!

How to make this Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

  • Cook the pasta to al-dente, per package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking; shake off excess liquid. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Pour the cooked pasta onto the paper towels to let the pasta dry 10-15 minutes.

  • In a large mixing bowl, add pasta, salami, tomatoes, onions, Mozzarella, peperoncini, olives and basil; stir to combine.

  • Pour ¾ cup dressing over the pasta salad and toss well (all pasta ingredients should be coated with the dressing).

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container until time to serve and add the remaining ¼ cup dressing. Toss together until well incorporated and serve.

Mixed pasta served in a large white bowl

Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe served in a bowl with a spoon

Cold Pasta Recipe

A cold pasta salad is always a great option for a side dish during the summer months. You can make it ahead of time and it comes together so easily. Italian meats add a real depth of flavor to this pasta and fresh basil leaves give it an amazing lift. Tri-colored pasta makes it extra pretty and perfect to serve to guests.

What goes with Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Generally I serve this up as a side dish, along with some grilled meats, a Potato Salad and a big leafy green salad.  Just pop the big bowl into the middle of the table and everyone can help themselves for easy entertaining.

This Italian Pasta Salad also keeps well, covered in the fridge for 3-4 days, so it’s also a great option for make ahead cold lunches and dinners.

What to pair with Classic Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad goes with everything, lets face it! Here are some of our favorite ways to pair this perfect Italian pasta salad recipe for Summer!

Close up of pasta salad

cold pasta salad in a large serving bowl

What makes this pasta salad Italian?

I love the classic Italian flavors in this salad – it quite simply tastes like summer!  The Italian ingredients that make up this dish are;

  • Rotini Pasta
  • Italian Salami
  • Glory Tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Mozzarella Pearls
  • Peperoncini
  • Olives
  • Basil Leaves
  • Italian Dressing

Be sure to use the freshest and best quality ingredients that you can for a real hit of flavor!

Top tips for making Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

  • I love using tri-colored pasta for this dish, but you can use plain if that’s all you have.
  • If you are making this pasta ahead of time, you will have to add a bit more dressing before you serve it (see instructions).
  • Cook the pasta al-dente.
  • Use your favorite store-bought Italian dressing for this recipe.

Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe in a bowl on a work surface

Be sure to check out these other summer salad recipes!

Green Goddess Pasta Salad Recipe

Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

Caesar Salad Recipe (Classic Caesar Salad)

Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad by Natasha’s Kitchen

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad by Easy Chicken Recipes

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