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

Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients

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

How To: The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Perfect! 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.

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.

Love It! The 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! 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
5 from 19 votes

The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
23 mins
The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe - Hands down the most perfect Italian style pasta salad we've ever tried!
Servings: 12 Servings
Nutrition Facts
The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 363 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 478mg 20%
Potassium 254mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 33g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 4g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 7.5%
Vitamin C 22.9%
Calcium 13.2%
Iron 7.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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


  1. 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.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, whisk all the ingredients of the vinaigrette in a small bowl. Set aside. Then chop all the salad ingredients.
  3. 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.

Recipe Video

Recipe 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.

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35 comments on “The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

  1. Brandyposted April 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm Reply

    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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  3. Jocelynposted April 1, 2019 at 12:07 pm Reply

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

  4. geometry dashposted March 31, 2019 at 11:27 pm Reply

    Delicious pasta recipe!

  5. Samposted March 30, 2019 at 3:55 pm Reply

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

  6. Suzyposted March 29, 2019 at 11:20 pm Reply

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

  7. Michelle Mallettposted March 29, 2019 at 1:54 pm Reply

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

  8. Lisaposted March 29, 2019 at 12:41 pm Reply

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

  9. Lizposted March 29, 2019 at 12:37 pm Reply

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

  10. Becky Harsinposted March 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm Reply

    The best pasta salad ever! Great dish for a picnic 

  11. Kristynposted March 29, 2019 at 11:00 am Reply

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

  12. Julieposted March 29, 2019 at 9:59 am Reply

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

  13. Toniposted March 29, 2019 at 9:52 am Reply

    Such a perfect salad! Easy and delish!!

  14. Kellie Hposted March 29, 2019 at 9:11 am Reply

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

  15. Zomato Couponsposted March 29, 2019 at 6:08 am Reply

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

  16. Derrickposted March 27, 2019 at 11:50 am Reply

    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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  19. Chadposted August 11, 2018 at 11:58 pm Reply

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

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  21. Stella Pylesposted June 27, 2018 at 10:53 am Reply

    This was the best ever

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  27. Courtneyposted July 18, 2017 at 3:51 pm Reply

    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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  30. Amy Dongposted March 31, 2017 at 5:42 pm Reply

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

  31. Lindsay | With Salt and Pepperposted March 31, 2017 at 2:01 pm Reply

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

  32. Heather Christoposted March 31, 2017 at 1:39 pm Reply

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

  33. Kevin @ Closet Cookingposted March 31, 2017 at 10:17 am Reply

    Love this pizza like pasta salad!

  34. Peggieposted March 31, 2017 at 8:04 am Reply

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