A Spicy Perspective

The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe, hands down. Your new go-to pasta salad for spring!

The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
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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.

Making The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

How to Make The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Honey
  • 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

How To: The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

Perfect! The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

Love It! The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

LOVE! Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

See The Recipe Card Below For How To Make The Best Italian Pasta Salad. Enjoy!

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The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
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The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe - Hands down the most perfect Italian style pasta salad we've ever tried!
Servings: 12 Servings

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 363kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 478mg, Potassium: 254mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 7.5%, Vitamin C: 22.9%, Calcium: 13.2%, Iron: 7.1%
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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38 comments on “The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe”

  1. Made it yesterday and serving it with open face steak sandwiches and it is perfect. It is THE best pasta salad I’ve ever tasted. The homemade vinaigrette is delicious. Thank you for sharing. One note, quality black olives really makes a difference. I typically don’t care for black olives, but shopped for a more “expensive”/quality black olive and was pleased with the brand I chose (Lindsay Naturals Sliced Olives @ WalMart).

  2. This is very good, it will be on my saved recipes list.

  3. This really is the best italian pasta salad I’ve ever had. I love italian pasta salad and these flavors are the perfect combination. I added 2 cups of mixed greens to mine. YUM!!!

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  5. This is one of our go to recipes for picnics! Everyone loves it!

  6. Such a delicious pasta salad with great flavors. Will definitely make again.

  7. This is a must make for every cookout! I always get requests to make this salad.

  8. Do you have more Grandma Mo recipes? Is there a cookbook?

  9. This stole the show at our potluck. Everyone loves it!

  10. All my favorite pasta salad ingredients in every bite! A winner!

  11. The best pasta salad ever! Great dish for a picnic 

  12. This is one of the tastiest pasta salads! It’s super easy & my favorite go-to for BBQ’s & parties!

  13. I love all the color in this salad! My family loves this salad, and it’s super easy to make!

  14. Such a perfect salad! Easy and delish!!

  15. One of our favorite pasta salad recipes. We make this a few times a month now!

  16. wow, the pasta looks delicious. can’t wait to make this Italian pasta

  17. My family absolutely loves this dish. That is tough to pull off with a picky-eater wife and 4 children! Discovered the recipe 7 weeks ago and am going to make batch number 6 today – wow! Have even had 2 of my daughters take it to school for lunch a few times. The only thing I do differently was a request from my son – I do not change anything, but do add 3/4 cup of pepperoni. Amazing. Thanks Sommer!

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  20. Absolutely delicious!!! I’ve made this 2x this week! Can’t get enough!

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  22. This was the best ever

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  28. I made this for a party over the weekend and it really was the best pasta salad recipe. It was soooo good. I wouldn’t (and didn’t) change a thing.

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  31. This is summer perfection…we’re almost there! YAY!

  32. I love Italian salad and I love everything about this homemade vinaigrette!  Such a flavor packed salad for spring :-)

  33. I love a good classic pasta salad! It gives me hope summer is coming!

  34. Love this pizza like pasta salad!

  35. This looks great. Can’t wait to make it.