Italian Pasta Salad

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Try our vibrant and delicious Italian Pasta Salad recipe with colorful veggies, creamy mozzarella cheese, and zesty dressing. Perfect for picnics, BBQs, or any meal of the day.

A large bowl of pasta mixed with colorful veggies, black olives, mozzarella cheese balls, and a zesty dressing, perfect for a summer picnic or bbq.

My Italian pasta salad recipe is one of our absolute favorites.

This easy pasta salad recipe is a true crowd-pleaser, combining fresh, colorful veggies with creamy cheese and a zesty dressing.

It’s perfect for any occasion, whether you’re planning a picnic, BBQ, or just need a quick and delicious meal.

John and I love whipping up this fresh pasta salad, especially on warm Florida afternoons when we want something light and refreshing.

If you love this Italian pasta salad, be sure to check out some of our other delicious salads, like our BLT pasta salad or our chicken caesar pasta salad.

These easy pasta salad recipes are sure to please and add variety to your meal planning.

A vibrant bowl of rotini pasta mixed with colorful vegetables, mozzarella cheese balls, and black olives, served on a marble countertop.

Tips for Making the Best Italian Pasta Salad


Marinate the Vegetables: For a extra flavor, marinate your chopped vegetables in a bit of the dressing for 20-30 minutes before mixing them with the pasta.

Chill the Dressing: Make the dressing a few hours in advance and let it chill in the fridge. This allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a more cohesive and flavorful dressing.

Add a Crunch: For extra crunch, consider adding toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or even crispy chickpeas.

Add Protein: Turn this pasta salad into a main dish by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or even canned tuna. This makes it more filling and adds a protein punch.

An overhead shot of a bowl featuring rotini pasta, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives, cucumber, red onion, and mozzarella cheese balls, served with a black and white checkered napkin.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerator: Store any leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. We recommend making extra dressing to freshen it if desired.

A close-up showcasing rotini pasta, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, red onion, black olives, and mozzarella cheese balls, garnished with fresh herbs.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

While you can use any pasta you like, shapes with nooks and crannies like rotini, penne, fusilli, or farfalle are ideal. They hold onto the dressing and other ingredients better than long noodles.

Absolutely! While red wine vinegar is traditional, you can experiment with balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar for a different twist. Each type will give the dressing a unique flavor profile.

Sure! In a pinch, we love to use store bought Italian dressing instead of homemade dressing. Use your favorite.

A bowl of vibrant pasta dish with rotini pasta, colorful veggies, creamy cheese, and a zesty dressing, garnished with fresh herbs.

Italian Pasta Salad

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Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 23 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings


For the Pasta:

  • 1 pound rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed or pearl mozzarella balls
  • 4 ounces mini pepperoni
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced
  • ½ cup green olives, sliced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


To Make the Pasta Salad:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rotini pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool the pasta quickly. Set aside.
    1 pound rotini pasta
  • In a large bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, red and yellow bell peppers, black olives, green olives, red onion, Parmesan cheese, basil, and parsley.
    1 cup cherry tomatoes
    1 cup cucumber
    1 cup mozzarella cheese
    4 ounces mini pepperoni
    ½ cup red bell pepper
    ½ cup yellow bell pepper
    ½ cup black olives
    ½ cup green olives
    ¼ cup red onion
    ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
    ¼ cup fresh basil
    ¼ cup fresh parsley

To Make the Dressing:

  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, dried oregano, dried basil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined.
    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 clove garlic
    Salt and pepper
  • Add the cooked pasta to the bowl with the vegetables and cheese. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss until everything is evenly coated.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld. Before serving, give the pasta salad a good stir and adjust the seasoning if necessary.


  • The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of pasta salad. Actual calories will vary.
  • If you plan on storing the pasta salad, we recommend that you make extra dressing to “freshen it up” later.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 436mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 535IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 1mg
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