Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
Zesty Italian Pasta Salad is an easy classic pasta salad made with lots of vegetables and a bottled Italian dressing. This is a great salad to take to picnics and potluck gatherings.
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Things to Love About this Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe –
- It’s super fast and easy to make.
- It’s beautiful – love all the colors!
- This is a great salad to take to summer gathering since it’s made with an oil-based dressing instead of a mayonnaise-based dressing, making it more food-safe during hot weather.
What Ingredients Do You Need to Make Italian Pasta Salad?
- Rotini pasta
- Wishbone Italian Salad Dressing (or your favorite brand of Italian salad dressing)
- red onion
- black olives
- bell peppers
- grape tomatoes
- hard salami
- mini pepperoni
- mini fresh mozzarella balls
- pepperoncini peppers
- grated Parmesan
How to Make Zesty Italian Pasta Salad in 3 Easy Steps
- Cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions.
- Toss all the salad ingredients with the dressing in a large serving bowl.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Easy Recipe Tips for Making Pasta Salad
- What do I need to know about cooking rotini pasta?
- What does al dente mean?
- How do I know if my pasta is overcooked?
- If I think I’ve overcooked my pasta is there anything I can do?
- Is it okay to cook pasta in water or should I use broth?
- Can I substitute other pasta shapes for the rotini pasta?
- Rotini pasta is a more fragile pasta because of its shape and the many edges it has. Overcooked rotini pasta will fall apart when you toss it with the vegetables and dressing.
- Cook the pasta just until al dente in texture. The only way to know this is to do a taste test – the pasta should be firm to the bite, but not chewy or crunchy at the center.
- Overcooked pasta will tend to be very gummy in texture, tending to stick to the sides of the pot. To keep pasta from becoming overcooked, do a taste test half way through the cooking time, then again three-quarters of the way through the cooking time.
- If you feel you’ve overcooked the pasta, immediately drain the hot cooking liquids, then plunge cooked pasta into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Most pasta package directions advise to cook the pasta in water. I typically use chicken or vegetable broth to cook my pasta (as well as potatoes) since it adds more flavor, yet not more calories.
- I prefer using rotini pasta when making this classic Italian pasta salad, but any pasta can be substitute. I like the rotini shape the best because the ridges seem to hold in the dressing better. 🙂
Other Summer Salad Recipes to Enjoy –
- Creamy Chipotle Pasta Salad with Shredded Chicken and Smoked Gouda
- Potato Salad with Broccoli and and Tangy Mustard Dressing
- Summer Corn Salad
- Tortellini Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Basil
- Crunchy Corn Salad
- Sweet Corn and Baby Pea Salad with Jicama
- Delta Cornbread Salad
- Grandma Lucille’s German Potato Salad
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and Walnuts
- Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Steak
- Grandma Lucille’s Ham Salad
- Broccoli Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
- BLT Pasta Salad (Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Pasta Salad)
- Instant Pot Potato Salad
Printable Directions for Making Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. rotini pasta
- 1 1/2 cups Wishbone Italian Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 - 1 cup medium black olives as desired
- 1 green bell pepper seeds and membranes removed, diced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
- 4 oz. hard salami sliced into strips
- 2 oz. mini pepperoni
- 8 oz. mini mozzarella balls
- 2 Tbs. sliced pepperoncini peppers optional
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Cook the rotini pasta according to package directions; drain well and reserve.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the sliced red onion, olives, bell pepper, tomatoes, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella balls, and pepperoncini; drizzle with the salad dressing then gently toss once more. Top with the Parmesan, then cover and store in the fridge. Salad is best served at room temperature.Reserve the remaining 1/2 cup salad dressing to toss with the salad just prior to serving.
For a quick peek at ALL my salad recipes (because I do love me some summer salads!), Click Here.
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