This pasta salad with Italian dressing is just one of those things that makes you go Mmmm! Your eyes inadvertently roll back while your tastes buds perk up to see what all the fuss is about and everything around you melts away as you savor the intense flavor.
I get it, pasta recipes are a dime a dozen, but this is one of those pasta salad recipes that doesn’t blend into the background. This pasta salad with an Italian dressing recipe has a profound flavor profile with plenty of textures and fresh veggies to boot.
Let me show you!
I absolutely love all the enticing colors and textures in this pasta salad. It basically hosts a party on your plate and it’s the star of the show!
The best part is that you can make it the day before so the flavors just mingle and develop until serving time.
- Vibrant jovial colors
- Crisp summer veggies
- Fresh tangy flavor
- Versatile recipe
- Enticing fragrant aroma
This pasta salad is famous on the potluck circuit because it’s just so full-flavored and easy to make. It often makes appearances at back yard BBQs, baby showers and many other types of friendly get-togethers.
It’s always best to cook your pasta al dente, which is still a little firm in the middle. This typically takes around 7-9 minutes, but you’ll have to follow the instructions on the package.
It’s also important to rinse pasta to stop cooking but keep slightly warm to toss the pasta in the Italian dressing immediately after cooking because behind every great pasta dish is a tasty sauce. The warm starchy pasta will soak up some of the Italian dressing and take on life.
Once your pasta salad recipe has come together, it can be really tempting to eat it right away. However, letting it sit for several hours in the fridge brings all those yummy flavors to the forefront and introduces them to each other for a perfectly balanced flavor profile. This way every single bite is like little flavor bombs going off inside your mouth.
Overnight is best but if you don’t have that much time at least give it a few hours. The longer the better.
I like tricolor rotini pasta for this recipe because I think it makes a prettier salad. Of course, if natural rotini is what you have on hand it will do the trick!
All those crisp summer veggies in this salad mean you’re gonna’ have to do some chopping. It’s inevitable. The thing is that if you can manage to chop everything roughly the same size, you’ll get a tantalizing myriad of flavors and textures in every single bite.
You’ll also want to wait to incorporate the fresh herbs until serving time. The basil and parsley really add to the refreshing aromatic qualities of this pasta salad, but fresh herbs can be precarious. They don’t stand up well long term so its best to enjoy them freshly chopped.
This must be stored in the fridge. An airtight container with a secure lid will do the trick but sometimes you just don’t have that much room in the fridge. You can also put your tangy salad in a large gallon-Ziploc to save space.
Sometimes I’ll divide mine up into two different Ziplocs, so I have some for serving at a function and some for home.
Can You Freeze This?
Nu-hu. Unfortunately, you can’t freeze this tangy pasta salad. All those crisp summer veggies are lost to the freezing temperatures and turn into a mushy mess upon thawing.
Make Ahead Tips
All the crisp veggies and cheeses for your pasta salad recipe can be chopped ahead of time for convenience but they should be stored separately in airtight containers or sealed baggies.
Since the zesty flavors develop and intensify over the first 24 hours, I like to whip this up the day before I know I’m going to need it. Whether I’m taking it to a get-together or serving it at home, this is one of those pasta salad recipes that are just so much better after it sits in the fridge for a day!
Don’t forget to adjust the seasonings and add the fresh herbs just before serving…
How Long Can You Keep This?
This tangy full-bodied salad will stay good in the fridge up to 5 days if stored properly but good luck trying to keep it that long. People just love this pasta salad because it’s tasty and satisfying enough to be eaten alone but it also makes a fantastic side dish!
For best results keep it at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and reserve the FDA recommended 2-hour serving rule.
Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing
- 1 (12-ounce) package tri-color rotini pasta
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- 8 ounces Genoa salami sliced into 1/4 inch strips
- 2 (8-ounce) Mozzarella ball in water drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 (7-ounce) Pack dry Italian style salad dressing mix
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 1 (10.5-ounce) container grape tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes sliced
- 1 cup sliced Pepperoncinis, rinse and drained
- 1 (3.8-ounce) can sliced black olives rinse and drained
- 1 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Taste for salt and pepper, Italian Seasoning, and sugar after mixed and cooled and in fridge 24 hours.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, just until al dente, and drain well.
- While pasta is still warm, toss it in a mixing bowl with Italian dressing and Italian style dressing salad mix. Allow pasta to cool.
- In a large serving bowl, mix the cooled pasta, salami, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, sundried tomatoes, grape tomatoes, pepperoncini, and olives.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, fold in fresh basil and parsley. Adjust seasoning, and add olive oil, if needed. Serve and enjoy!
Pasta salads are at the heart of summertime dishes. They’re great on the potluck circuit, at backyard BBQs and even family dinners. Many of them can be eaten as a meal and they typically pair well with other foods.
It’s always great to have several recipes to choose from depending on the occasion, so here are some of my favorite pasta salad recipes for you to try!
- Pasta Salad – Nutrient-dense tangy deliciousness.
- Antipasto Salad – An elegant and beautiful standout!
- Caesar Pasta Salad – An awesome prelude to any great meal.
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad – Some secret ingredients and a little mmm, mmm good in every bite!
- Tuna Pasta Salad – An update version every bit as good as grandma’s!
This pasta salad with Italian dressing recipe welcomes warm weather months and hungry tummies everywhere. It wakes up taste buds and complements meals with a smile. It’s a hearty salad with a lot of tangy flavors, there’s just no denying it. All the different textures and flavors become zesty yumminess that is absolutely irresistible.
Eat it by itself or on the side of just about any meal – just eat it! This is one of my easy go-to pasta salads in a pinch and it has become a popular favorite, too!