This Italian Pasta Salad Recipe with salami, cucumbers, tomatoes, mozzarella balls and zesty Italian dressing is easy to make and perfect for potlucks or picnics. Enjoy this simple salad as a cold main dish or side dish all summer long! It's easy to customize to suit your own tastes!
I just love a good salad when it's hot out. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is serve a variety of salads for dinner -- sort of like a mini potluck. We love Ramen Chicken Salad, Summer Fruit Salad, Instant Pot Potato Salad and Watermelon, Feta and Blueberry Salad.
My kids never wanted pasta salad until I figured out that they didn't want the soggy, dressing-drenched pasta salads you get at the store. Yuck! Whenever I make this Italian Pasta Salad from scratch and Greek Pasta Salad from scratch, there are zero complaints!
This Italian Pasta Salad is super simple and comes together quickly. To make it even easier and budget friendly, I use our favorite Zesty Italian Dressing! Here are the ingredient you need:
- Dried rotini pasta -- we love tricolored rotini
- Cucumber slices
- Grape tomatoes
- Mozzarella balls
- Pepperoncini peppers -- leave out for less heat
- Red onion
- Sliced salami -- use pepperoni or omit if desired
- Italian seasoning
- Parsley -- optional but adds extra color and flavor
- Zesty Italian dressing -- or use your favorite
How to Make Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Start out by cooking your pasta. While it cooks, cut up the fresh ingredients. I always cook pasta in the Instant Pot. It's super easy this way, and no standing over a hot stove in the summer! You can follow the directions for stove top pasta, though.
Next, drain the pasta in a colander, and rinse it under cold running water. Don't skip this step. It cools the pasta down faster and stops the cooking, which prevents it from getting too mushy as it sits.
Now, add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, and mix it until well combined. Store it in the fridge until you're ready to eat.
I like to add just a half cup of dressing at first. If you're eating the pasta salad right away, this may be enough. If you're preparing the pasta salad ahead of time, add more right before serving.
Best Store Bought Dressing
What's the best store bought dressing for Italian pasta salad? It's purely a personal preference. I like Zesty Italian by Kraft or Wishbone. Olive Garden Italian dressing is amazing, as well. You can always use homemade if you want!
How Long to Store Italian Pasta Salad
This recipe makes a lot of pasta salad. If you're wondering how long Italian pasta salad lasts in the fridge, the answer is about a week. Just keep it stored in a tightly covered container. Ours is always gone before that, though. You can add a little bit more dressing before eating if you need to.
Italian Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces rotini pasta tri colored
- 1 English cucumber sliced half moons, or seed a regular cucumber
- 1 pint grape tomatoes cut in half
- ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup pepperoncini peppers sliced
- 4 ounces dry salami sliced into strips
- 1 cup small mozzarella balls
- 1 cup Italian Dressing
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning optional
- chopped parsley optional
- Cook pasta according to directions on box or cook in Instant Pot. Drain in colander, and rinse under cold water
- Add pasta and remaining ingredients to a large mixing bowl
- Pour in Italian Dressing, mix well, and top with chopped parsley, if desired
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add more dressing before serving if needed