Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are absolutely perfect for summer! They are fresh, vibrant, colorful, and honestly above all … super easy to make. This Italian Pasta Salad is just that! It is loaded with fresh vegetables, Italian inspired ingredients, and packs a serious flavor punch. Plus it barely requires any effort at all. Now that is my type of dish!

This light and simple dish will be you new go-to for all the summer events. I’m talking barbecues, cookouts, potlucks … you name it and you’re going to want to bring this easy pasta salad! It is a total crowd pleaser!

large bowl of pasta salad with a wooden spoon

Ingredients needed for Easy Italian Pasta Salad…

You only need a few simple ingredients for this Easy Italian Pasta Salad! It’s loaded with Italian inspired ingredients that really pack in a delicious flavor punch. And this recipe is overall a light, healthy, and fresh dish!

  • Pasta: Can’t have pasta salad without pasta! You can use any shape, but I recommend rotini to really catch all the flavor. You’ll need 1 lb.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Pearls: I love the addition of fresh mozzarella to any Italian inspired salad or pasta salad. It’s the best & the pearls are the perfect size. Add 1 cup!
  • Tomatoes: You will need 10 oz of cherry tomatoes for this Italian Pasta Salad. Just halve them and toss them in.
  • Cucumber: Cucumber adds the absolute perfect crunch & texture to this easy summer salad. Add 1 cucumber!
  • Pepperoni: I love love love pepperoni in this recipe! It adds a rich & delicious flavor. You will need 1/2 cup!
  • Italian Dressing: Italian dressing really brings together this Italian pasta salad! Add 1 cup.
  • Seasonings: For some extra flavor & deliciousness add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to this light pasta salad.
close up shot of Italian pasta salad

How to make Italian Pasta Salad from scratch…

This pasta salad is one of the simplest dishes you can make for your next summer barbecue! It is so easy … you just boil the pasta, chop the ingredients, and then toss together. Minimal cooking & extra delicious!

  1. Start by boiling the water for you pasta & then cooking the pasta according to the package instructions.  
  2. While the pasta is boiling chop your cucumbers, tomatoes, and pepperoni.  Cut the cucumbers into slices and then quarter the slices, slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and slice the pepperoni.
  3. Drain your pasta, toss with the olive oil, and let cool.
  4. Once the pasta has cooled transfer to a large bowl.  Add the cucumber, pepperoni, tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, Italian dressing, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.  Combine evenly and add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
  6. Enjoy!
large bowl of pasta salad on a white background

Perfect Pasta Salad Tips…

Be sure to follow the tips below for the perfect Easy Italian Pasta Salad every time!

  • Let your pasta cool completely! This is an important step to get the perfect pasta salad. Make sure to let you pasta cool completely, before mixing in the other ingredients! As this is a cold salad, the last thing you want is your tomatoes cooking or your cheese melting. You could also make the pasta beforehand, mix with a little oil, and then set in the fridge until your ready to assemble this pasta salad!
  • Use rotini pasta! I think rotini pasta is the best shape for any sort of pasta salad. Hands down! It just catches all the flavors perfectly. Rainbow rotini would be even better, so colorful!
  • Do not overcook the pasta! Al dente pasta is what you want for this Easy Italian Pasta Salad. Since this pasta salad sits for a little and will soak up the dressing, you don’t want to start with already soggy and mushy pasta! A nice & firm pasta is best.
  • Let sit before serving! As most of the finer things in life do, this pasta salad gets better with age! Well at least a little bit of age. I recommend letting this summer salad sit in the fridge for a least 1-2 hours before serving, but you could really go as a far as overnight! This way the flavors really get to marinate. But if you do store overnight, make sure to let this salad sit out on the counter for a few minutes before serving.
  • Add some extra ingredients! I think a few extra ingredients would be delicious in this pasta salad. I kept it pretty simple & basic, but I do have some other ideas for delicious mix-ins. Like olives, onion, parmesan cheese, salami, or pretty much any other veggie you like!

You will 100% have all your friends and family hooked on this dish with these steps!

easy italian pasta salad with the dressing being poured on

Easy Italian Pasta Salad FAQs…

How long will Italian Pasta Salad last in the fridge?

This easy pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Although, it will be freshest 2-3 days after making!

Is it better to make pasta salad the day before?

Making pasta salad the day before does let all the flavors marinate deliciously, but this can also be done in a few hours! As long as you let this Italian Pasta Salad sit for 1-2 hours before serving you should be good!

If you do make the day before, make sure to let the pasta salad sit outside of the fridge for a few minutes before serving. This sort of lets the dressing loosen up a bit!

Can I cook the pasta ahead of time for pasta salad?

Yes, you definitely can cook the pasta ahead of time for pasta salad! This is a great option because you do want your pasta to be completely cooled by the time you mix in the other ingredients. If you cook the pasta beforehand just toss with some olive oil to prevent sticking and place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the salad!

pasta salad in a large bowl with a wooden spoon

Looking for more delicious summer recipes? Try out these…

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If you make Easy Italian Pasta Salad or any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on instagram so I can see and share your recreations!

easy Italian pasta salad

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Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Easy Italian Pasta Salad is the perfect summer cookout, barbecue, or potluck dish!  Made with rotini pasta, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, and colorful vegetables … this light summer salad will be a total crowd pleaser.  Easy, delicious, & bound to be your new go-to cold pasta salad!

  • Author: Kayla Berman
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb rotini pasta
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, sliced
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Start by boiling the water for you pasta & then cooking the pasta according to the package instructions.  
  2. While the pasta is boiling chop your cucumbers, tomatoes, and pepperoni.  Cut the cucumbers into slices and then quarter the slices, slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and slice the pepperoni.
  3. Drain your pasta, toss with the olive oil, and let cool.
  4. Once the pasta has cooled transfer to a large bowl.  Add the cucumber, pepperoni, tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, Italian dressing, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.  Combine evenly and add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
  6. Enjoy!

Keywords: pasta salad, Italian pasta salad, easy pasta salad, easy Italian pasta salad, fresh pasta salad, summer salad, summer recipe

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