This Italian Pasta Salad Recipe with pepperoni, salami, rotini pasta and fresh vegetables with Italian dressing is a delicious main dish perfect for potlucks or picnics. Enjoy this easy pasta 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, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta 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.
Whenever I make this Italian Pasta Salad from scratch and Greek Pasta Salad from scratch, there are zero complaints!
If you're looking for Italian pasta salad recipes with pepperoni, I think you'll love this one!
This Italian Pasta Salad is super simple and comes together quickly with pantry staples you can find in the grocery store. To make this meaty pasta salad even easier and budget friendly, I use our favorite Zesty Italian Dressing!
- Dried rotini pasta -- we love tricolored rotini
- Cucumber slices
- Grape tomatoes -- you can use cherry tomatoes as well
- Mozzarella balls -- holds up better than shredded
- Black olives -- sliced
- Pepperoncini peppers -- leave out for less heat
- Red onion
- Sliced salami
- Sliced pepperoni
- Italian seasoning
- Parsley -- optional but adds extra color and flavor
- Zesty Italian dressing -- or use your favorite homemade Italian dressing
How to Make Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni
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 package directions on the box for stove top pasta, though.
Next, drain the pasta in a colander, and rinse it under cold 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 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 to this pepperoni pizza pasta salad 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 salad dressing by Kraft or Wishbone.
Olive Garden Italian dressing is amazing, as well. You can always use homemade Italian dressing if you want!
How Long to Store
This pepperoni pasta salad 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.
This crowd pleaser is always gone before that, though. You can add a little bit more dressing before eating if you need to.
Variations and Substitutions
The perfect pasta salad is what you make it-- feel free to stick with the classic pasta salad flavor, or add your own favorite cold pasta salad ingredients!
Tri-color pasta is a favorite for any cold pasta salad recipe -- it just looks so amazing with all the other colorful veggies! Of course, you can still use regular pasta, and whatever shape of pasta you prefer.
The best thing about pasta salad is that you can throw in whatever you want. Add your favorite veggies, such as broccoli florets, artichoke hearts, or green peppers. Mini pepperoni slices and Parmesan cheese are also great additions.
Green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and banana peppers work also in any good pasta salad.
Season with black pepper, garlic powder, or onion powder. Drizzle on a little red wine vinegar or a zesty homemade dressing instead of regular Italian dressing.
This is a great recipe to make meatless or vegan. Just leave out the salami and fresh mozzarella pearls!
Italian Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces rotini pasta tri colored
- 1 English cucumber sliced half moons, or seed a regular cucumber
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup pepperoncini peppers sliced
- ¼ cup black olives sliced
- 4 ounces pepperoni sliced into strips
- 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
Recipe published in 2021 and updated in 2022.
This delicious, easy Italian pasta salad is one of my family's favorite pasta salad recipes, perfect for picky eaters and fans of classic Italian flavors alike!
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