This Italian Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to a party since it serves a lot of people. Pasta salads are always such a draw, and this recipe is a delicious one!
If you are asked to contribute food to a party, bring this Italian Pasta Salad! It’s super easy to make, you can customize it to your taste (leave things out or change things up), and it’s one of those things that everyone likes to see on a buffet table. I plan on making this all summer long when we have people hanging out in our backyard for pool parties!
This recipe comes from a cookbook I have recently purchased: Betty Crocker’s The Big Book of Pasta. This is the kind of book I like to have around since we love pasta of every kind in my house! There are 175 recipes- everything from pasta dinners to pasta salads. There are lots of quick-and-easy kinds of recipes and many photographs.
There are instructions in the book for how to make your own homemade, fresh pasta and several sauces. But the bulk of the book calls for using various kinds of dried pasta.
Here are a few recipes in the book I’m excited to try:
- Four Cheese Homemade Ravioli
- Short Rib Sausage Ragu
- Lemon Shrimp Fettuccine
- Italian Parsley Pesto Ravioli
- Chicken Thyme Pasta Salad
- Layered Pasta Caprese Salad
- Slow Cooker Beef and Tortellini Soup
- Bacon- Pepper Mac and Cheese
- Cheesy Rigatoni with Eggplant Sauce
- marinated artichokes
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- fresh basil and fresh parsley
- rainbow rotini pasta
- mozzarella cheese
- English cucumber
- cherry tomatoes
- red onion
- green onion
- green olives
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to make Italian Pasta Salad:
The complete, printable recipe is at the end of this post.
I absolutely love how pretty this pasta salad is. There is plenty of color and plenty of crunch. The homemade Italian dressing is delicious too.
- Fresh Herbs: Use them! Don’t use dried. Using fresh herbs makes a big difference.
- Pasta: This recipe calls for using rainbow rotini. You can certainly use regular rotini pasta or something similar. Try fusilli or penne too.
- Mozzarella Cheese: You can use regular mozzarella cheese and cut it into chunks. Or you can use fresh mozzarella balls.
- Veggies: This pasta salad calls for using cucumber, tomato, red onion, radish, celery and green onion. All of those are great in a pasta salad, but if there is something you don’t like then it’s okay to leave it out. Also try adding diced zucchini or diced bell pepper.
- Green Olives: Use the olives with pimento inside, or look for plain green olives in a can next to the black olives. Also, black olives may be substituted!
You can make this ahead of time, but wait to toss it with the dressing until about an hour before serving. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more it will soak up the dressing. I like to keep an extra bottle of red wine vinegar-based Italian dressing on hand in case I need to drizzle in a little bit if things seem too dry. Set it out, and let people help themselves. Enjoy!
The Best Pasta Salad Recipes:
- Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Summer Vegetables
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta Salad
- Pizza Pasta Salad
- Chicken Pasta Salad
Italian Pasta Salad
- ¼ cup marinade from artichoke hearts (you'll be using them in the salad)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces rainbow rotini pasta
- One 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained (marinade reserved)
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 cups chopped seedless English cucumber
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 cup sliced radishes
- ⅓ cup chopped celery
- ⅓ cup sliced green olives
- ⅓ cup sliced green onions
- In a small jar with a tight fitting lid, shake the dressing ingredients together.
- Cook pasta as directed on the package; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain.
- In a large bowl, stir together the remaining salad ingredients with the pasta. Pour the dressing over the top; toss gently to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
- This salad is meant to serve a large crowd at a party. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if serving a smaller bunch.