The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe, hands down. Your new go-to pasta salad for spring!
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.
I know many families have a 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.
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.
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.
The Best Italian 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.
The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- 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.
NOTE: The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe tastes best, when it's had time to sit, so the flavors mingle together. If you can, make it several hours (or even a day) ahead.