This classic tri-colored spiral Pasta Salad is full of veggies, cheese, meat, and tons of flavor. The tangy vinaigrette coats every piece to perfection!

Pasta Salad on a plate, close up

There’s something positively perfect about Pasta Salad. It’s got tons of flavor, lots of fresh veggies, and leaves you feeling satisfied without putting you into a food coma! I serve it as both a meal and a side- just depending on the occasion. It is one of my go-to make ahead meals when I know I’ve got a crazy day coming up and want something I can grab and go the next day. …Another great salad that eats like a meal is my Tortellini Salad it’s packed with veggies, salami, and cheese.

This Salad has an oil and vinegar dressing, and I know that’s not everybody’s cup of tea. If you want a creamy Pasta Salad recipe, try my Classic Macaroni Salad. Classic and creamy with just the right hint of sweetness, it’s always a crowd pleaser! Want a creamy salad with a twist? Hawaiian Macaroni Salad and BBQ Pasta Salad are both creamy and delicious but definitely not the way grandma used to make it!

Pasta Salad on a spoon

How to Make Pasta Salad

You have to look hard to find a dish that’s simpler to make than Pasta Salad! To begin, you’ll combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake like crazy until it’s all mixed up. Next, cook your pasta to al-dente and drain. In a large bowl, coat the warm pasta in dressing and allow to cool completely. Once it’s cooled, add in all of the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is evenly distributed. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

 

Salad Dressing in a mason jar

1. Add all the dressing ingredients in a jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake well.


Pasta in a strainer

2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain well in your colander

 

Pouring the salad dressing on pasta in a bowl

3. Add pasta to a large bowl while it’s still warm. Pour the dressing and toss well. Cool at room temperature.

 

Adding Chopped Ingredients for Pasta Salad to the pasta

4. Add the rest of the ingredients to cooled pasta and toss. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Toss before serving.

 

Can You Make This Cold Pasta Salad Ahead Of Time?

Like most cold pasta salad, this salad only gets better with time. It needs to be made a minimum of 8 hours ahead, but the day before is really best. The flavors in this classic need time to come together, so don’t shortcut the ‘resting’ period!

Chopped Ingredients for Pasta Salad

What I Love About Pasta Salad Recipes

  1. Pasta Salad recipes feed a crowd
  2. They’re best if you make ahead of time
  3. They add beautiful color to the table
  4. There’s no wrong way to make pasta salad

Pasta Salad on an oval serving platter, close up

More Delicious Pasta Salad Ideas:

Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna salad + Pasta Salad= YUM! Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad is one of my all time favorites. I love how the tuna coats the veggies and pasta, so you get some in every bite.

Chicken Pasta Salad

Full of shredded chicken, bow-tie pasta, and veggies, Chicken Pasta Salad has a decadent creamy dressing and is hearty enough to stand alone as a meal.

Greek Pasta Salad

With a tangy vinaigrette dressing, Greek Pasta Salad brings all of my favorite Mediterranean flavors together in one dish! Feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, veggies, and of course, olives all bring big tastes to this salad.

Pasta Salad on a plate, close up

Italian Pasta Salad

Similar to Greek Pasta Salad, Italian Pasta Salad usually uses a milder cheese like mozzarella but has the same great harmony of tomatoes, onion, olives, and tangy dressing. If you’re looking for a Pasta Salad with Pepperoni- this is a great option!

Shrimp Pasta Salad

Definitely not your typical salad, Shrimp Pasta Salad is a creamy seafood pasta salad that harnesses the taste of the sea. A pasta salad with shrimp will is sure to be a star at any potluck or picnic!

Pesto Pasta Salad

I can’t rave enough about this salad. If you’re a pesto fan, then Pesto Pasta Salad is for you! Every bite is coated in delicious pesto, and by using a premade pesto sauce, it couldn’t be easier!

Pasta Salad on a spoon

Caesar Pasta Salad

Calling all Caesar salad lovers! Caesar Pasta Salad coats veggies and pasta in the iconic Caesar flavors.

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Want to give traditional pasta salad a facelift? Try pickle juice! Dill Pickle Pasta Salad is a fun twist with its dilly dressing and crunchy pickles.

Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing

Simple and quick, Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing uses the convenience of prepared salad dressing to make a salad that’s full of classic Italian flavors.

Pasta Salad on a plate, close up

BLT Pasta Salad

You had me at bacon! BLT Pasta Salad packs each bite with the flavors of the time-honored sandwich.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Enjoy the tastes of Italy, Greece, and Morocco all in one salad. Mediterranean Pasta Salad brings the region to life in a quick and easy salad.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

I think this is one of the best Pasta Salad ideas yet! Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is my favorite ranch pasta salad. I love the way bacon and ranch go together, and this salad is bursting with both!

Pasta Salad on an oval serving platter

Recipe Notes for The Best Pasta Salad

Vegetarian Option- You can change this to vegetarian Salad in a snap. Simply leave out the salami. You can add in extra veggies if you like or try flavored tofu cubes or meat alternatives if you feel like the salad needs a bit more body than only veggies.

Pasta selection- There’s nothing written in stone in regards to what pasta makes the best Pasta Salad. I use tri-color spiral pasta here because it adds visual appeal and tastes great. However, you can use whatever type of pasta you like. I suggest a large noodle with lots of nooks and crannies to soak up the delicious dressing, but something like spaghetti pasta salad is a fun twist as well!

Cooking Pasta- Cooking pasta is kinda like boiling eggs- one of those things that is so simple a child can do it, yet lots of people still don’t do it correctly! Some general tips for cooking pasta are to use a big pot and good amount of salty water. To cook it al-dente take about 3 minutes off the package directions and make sure to fish a noodle out to test. It should be slightly hard in the middle. The noodles get mushy in the dressing if they get over-cooked.

Pasta Salad on a spoon

Pasta Salad Recipe

This is just one of my many versions of a Pasta Salad! Remember, it’s really hard to do Pasta Salad Recipe wrong. That’s what makes it one of my all time favorite dishes. Set your water to boiling- it’s time for some Pasta Salad!

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Pasta Salad

This classic tri-colored spiral Pasta Salad is full of veggies, cheese, meat, and tons of flavor. The tangy vinaigrette coats every piece to perfection!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 353 kcal
Author Kathleen

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1/2--3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Pepperoncini Peppers Juice, (From The Jar)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Salad:

  • 12 Ounces Tricolor Spiral Pasta
  • 6 Ounces Thinly Sliced Hard Salami, Julienned
  • 6 Ounces Provolone, Cubed
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Italian Olives, Drained
  • 1/4 Cup Pepperoncini Peppers, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, Thinly Sliced And Quartered
  • 1 Small Zucchini, Thinly Sliced And Quartered
  • 1/2 Small Red Bell Pepper, Julienned
  • 1/2 Small Yellow Bell Pepper, Julienned
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
  • 11 Ounces Grape Tomatoes, Quartered

Instructions

  1. In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine all the dressing ingredients; shake well. Set aside.

  2. Prepare pasta according to package instructions, cooking just until al dente. Drain well. Add pasta to a large bowl, and while it's still warm toss well with the dressing. Allow to cool to room temperature.

  3. Add the rest of the salad ingredients to cooled pasta and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Toss before serving and adjust seasoning as needed.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 /12 of the recipe)
Calories 353 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 762mg 32%
Potassium 535mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 5g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 31.2%
Vitamin C 41.9%
Calcium 19.5%
Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More Pasta Salad:

Best To Serve With:

Pasta Salad on a plate, close up