The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
Italian Pasta Salad
One of my favorite family recipes, is a classic Italian pasta salad Lt. Dan’s grandma, Mo, used to make.
Every time she served it she would change the recipe just a little bit. Yet her pasta salad always included fusilli pasta, little slivers of hard salami, black olives, tomatoes, and cheese.
Over the years, I’ve made her recipe, tweaking it as I go, just as Mo always did.
Grandma’s Best Pasta Salad
I know many families have an Italian style pasta salad recipe that gets pulled out for picnics and large events.
I’m partial to Mo’s because it’s heavily loaded with fresh veggies and pops of rich flavor from the salami, olives, and soft mozzarella.
Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Dried Italian Seasoning
- Fusilli pasta
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Hard salami
- Roasted Red Peppers (or grilled piquillo peppers)
- Red onion
- Italian parsley
- Mini mozzarella balls
- Black olives
Best Pasta Salad
Therefore, this is what I consider The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe.
It’s bold, textually diverse, and holds up well for several days in the refrigerator.
I’ve never tasted another version I like better.
Italian Pasta Recipe
The homemade Italian vinaigrette is made with a generous amount of fresh garlic, giving the entire bowl a zesty punch.
My personal adaptation is to add jarred “Grilled Piquillo Peppers” to offer a bit of tangy sweetness. If you can’t find them, jarred roasted red peppers provide a similar appeal.
Make Ahead to Save Time
This Pasta Salad Recipe is a great make-ahead for parties, family events, or as an easy lunchbox item to enjoy all week.
Lt. Dan says my version of Mo’s pasta salad is “Legit” and that’s really saying something. To him, Mo was the queen of all things. She certainly left her mark on both of us.
Italian Pasta Salad FAQ
- Absolutely! Actually, most pasta salads taste better after sitting for a day or two. Just make sure to cover it well and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Does Pasta Salad Need To Be Refrigerated?
- Oh yes. With all the meats, cheeses, and fresh produce in the mix, you do need to keep it chilled until you are ready to serve it.
What Goes With Pasta Salad?
- Just about everything! Serve pasta salad with grilled proteins, picnic foods, and barbecue favorites.
Can I Make Gluten Free Pasta Salad?
- Yes! However, most gluten-free pastas break down within a few hours. So if you want to go gluten-free, you will need to serve it immediately after mixing.
See The Recipe Card Below For How To Make The Best Italian Pasta Salad. Enjoy!
other recipes you might like:
- One Pot Spaghetti Carbonara
- Hawaiian Style Potato Macaroni Salad
- Brazilian Chopped Salad
- Cool Chicken Taco Pasta Salad
- Spinach Pasta Salad from Bare Feet in the Kitchen
The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
For the Vinaigrette:
For the Italian Pasta Salad:
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup chopped hard salami slices
- 3/4 cup chopped grilled piquillo peppers or jarred roasted red peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 12 ounces mini mozzarella balls, drained and halved (22-24 balls)
- 3.8 ounces sliced black olives (1 can), drained
- Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add a large spoonful of salt to the water. Then stir in the dried pasta. Cook according to package instructions, usually 6-8 minutes to al dente. Drain the pasta, and rinse with cold water in a colander. Shake off the excess water and place the pasta in a large salad bowl.
- While the pasta is boiling, whisk all the ingredients of the vinaigrette in a small bowl. Set aside. Then chop all the salad ingredients.
- Pour the tomatoes, sliced hard salami, chopped piquillo peppers, red onion, parsley, mozzarella ball and olives over the pasta. Pour the vinaigrette over the top and toss well to coat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed.
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