Classic Italian Pasta Salad

April 24, 2020 (Last Updated: May 4, 2021)

Classic Italian Pasta Salad is made with organic tri-color rotini, packed with tons of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and coated in a homemade vinaigrette. It’s The perfect recipe to feed a crowd for picnics, potlucks, office parties, and family gatherings.

Growing up in an American-Italian family, my mom used to make one of my favorite side dishes pretty frequently, A classic Italian Pasta Salad that was out of this world delicious and filled with flavorful Italian ingredients that added layers upon layers of amazing textures and flavors.

 

Classic Italian Pasta Salad is made with organic tri-color rotini, packed with tons of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and coated in a homemade vinaigrette. It's The perfect recipe to feed a crowd for picnics, potlucks, office parties, and family gatherings.One of the great things about this Classic Italian Pasta Salad is the staying power. It seems to get better tasting after sitting a little bit. Be sure to cook the pasta noodles al dente to hold up in the refrigerator without becoming squishy. There is nothing worse than a squishy Italian Pasta Salad in my book.

To cook the noodles to a proper al dente state, follow the package instructions to a T and remove the noodles immediately. You will want to rinse the noodles in cold water to stop the cooking process and remove excess starches. This is the only time I recommend rinsing pasta is for a cold pasta salad.

 

 

 

Classic Italian Pasta Salad is made with organic tri-color rotini, packed with tons of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and coated in a homemade vinaigrette. It's The perfect recipe to feed a crowd for picnics, potlucks, office parties, and family gatherings.I made a smaller version of Classic Pasta Salad this time, as it’s just our family that will be eating the salad. However, I usually double this recipe for a crowd. You can easily double the recipe if needed by configuring the numbers to equal the amount you need at the time.

 

 

 

Ingredients needed for Classic Italian Pasta Salad

  • One-12-ounce box organic tri-color Pasta
  • Four ounces of capicola ham, diced
  • Three ounces of thin-sliced deli pepperoni, sliced
  • Six ounces of organic grape tomatoes halved (1/2 of a pint)
  • 2/3 cup of black olives, drained
  • 2/3 cup diced zucchini or cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced finely
  • Three mini sweet bell peppers, red or yellow, sliced thinly
  • Four ounces fresh Mozzarella Pearls or four ounces cubed
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated

 

 

 

Ingredients needed for dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • One tablespoon honey or sugar, optional
  • One tablespoon minced garlic
  • One tablespoon dried minced onion
  • One tablespoon Italian herbs
  • One Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

 

 

Classic Italian Pasta Salad is made with organic tri-color rotini, packed with tons of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and coated in a homemade vinaigrette. It's The perfect recipe to feed a crowd for picnics, potlucks, office parties, and family gatherings.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Classic Italian Pasta Salad

  1. What is the best type of noodles to use in a pasta salad? The best pasta shapes to use are ones with plenty of nooks and crannies such as fusilli, farfalle, rotini, or penne pasta. They seem to hold up well in Pasta Salad. Be sure to cook them al dente.
  2. How far in advance can I make the Classic Italian Pasta Sauce? I would not make it more than a day in advance. I usually like to make my pasta salad the night before. It’s the perfect amount of time to soak up some of the dressing and flavor everything. Making it more than a day before will usually result in a soggy pasta salad.
  3. I do not have time to make homemade dressing. What can I use in place of it in my pasta salad? If in a pinch of the time, I would recommend using a quality Italian, Mediterranean, or Greek dressing in place of the homemade dressing recipe.
  4. Can I make this Italian Pasta Salad and serve it immediately? I recommend you chill the pasta salad about 1-3 hours before serving so that it has had a chance to soak up the flavor of the dressing.
  5. Can I use vegetable oil in place of the olive oil in the dressing? I do not recommend using anything but a quality brand of extra-virgin olive oil in the dressing.
  6. How can I make this into a vegetarian pasta salad? This is very simple do not add the cheeses or meats recommended in the recipe and substitute them with vegan-friendly ingredients.

 

 

 

Suggestions for substitutions for listed ingredients of Classic Italian Pasta Salad

  • Meats that can be used: Salami, Prosciutto, Salsiccia, Finocchiona, Pancetta. Capocollo, Lardo, Soppressata.
  • Cheese that can be used: Provolone, Gorgonzola, Asiago, Fontina, Pecorino, and Parmesan cheese
  • Vegetables can be used: Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, mild pepper rings, hot pepper rings, green olives, greek olives, cucumbers, Garbanzo beans, and cannellini beans.
 

 

 

 

Classic Italian Pasta Salad is made with organic tri-color rotini, packed with tons of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and coated in a homemade vinaigrette. It's The perfect recipe to feed a crowd for picnics, potlucks, office parties, and family gatherings.

 

 

 

Classic Pasta Salad

Classic Italian Pasta Salad

hmccallum
Classic Italian Pasta Salad is made with organic tri-color rotini, packed with tons of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and coated in a homemade vinaigrette.
4.91 from 20 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Chill 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 33 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 329 kcal

Ingredients
  

Pasta Salad

  • 1-12- ounce Tri-colored pasta cooked al dente
  • 4 ounces Capicola Ham diced
  • 3 ounces Pepperoni sliced thin
  • 6 ounces Grape tomatoes halved
  • cup Black olives drained
  • cup Zucchini diced
  • ½ cup Red onion diced
  • 3 mini Sweet peppers sliced into rings
  • 4 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Pearls or diced fresh mozzarella
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese freshly grated

For Dressing

  • ½ cup Extra-virgin olive oil organic
  • ½ cup White wine vinegar do not use plain white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Honey or sugar optional
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic about 2 cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • `1 tablespoon Italian herb blend
  • 1 pinch Crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • teaspoon White pepper or black

Instructions
 

Dressing

  • Combine all the ingredients listed for the Vinaigrette dressing and blend or shake in a jar to combine the ingredients.

Pasta Salad

  • Place a salted pot of water on the stove burner set to high to boil. Use the package instructions for al dente pasta, Drain pasta, and rinse with cold water. Coat lightly with a little extra-virgin olive oil and then lightly toss to prevent sticking.
  • Prepare the veggies and meats by slicing, chopping, dicing, and mincing. Combine pasta, veggies, and meats in a large bowl. Add ¾ of the Vinaigrette Dressing and lightly toss the pasta salad again. Reserve ¼ of the Vinaigrette Dressing.
  • Chill for about 1 hour to 24 hours before serving. Remove from refrigerator and add the remaining ¼ of Vinaigrette Dressing before serving.

Notes

Although themccallumsshamrockpatch.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and how ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will themccallumsshamrockpatch.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from your reliance on nutritional information.
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 12gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 703mgPotassium: 215mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 386IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 166mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Classic Pasta Salad, Italian Pasta Salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

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  • Broccoli Apple Salad is one of those salads that’s so deliciously good. It’s hard to remember it’s the main ingredient is broccoli. Broccoli has long been a  love-hate relationship with many adults and children alike over the years. However, the Broccoli Apple salad recipe has always been a massive hit with my children and family, thankfully.
  • Lemony Italian Pasta Salad is a quintessential salad recipe to have this spring/summer combining Rigatoni pasta noodles, pepperoni, ham, grape tomatoes, red onions, quality black olives, green olives, sliced sweet peppers, Romano cheese, and a delicious homemade lemony Italian Salad Dressing.

 

 

 

Classic Italian Pasta Salad is made with organic tri-color rotini, packed with tons of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and coated in a homemade vinaigrette. It's The perfect recipe to feed a crowd for picnics, potlucks, office parties, and family gatherings.

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Julia
    May 5, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    I’m obsessed with this salad. It’s so filling, and having all these colors and textures from the different add-ons makes this so fun to eat! Saving your recipe to make again.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      May 6, 2021 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you, so much Julia! Glad you liked the pasta salad

  • Reply
    Allyssa
    May 5, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Thanks a lot for sharing this Italian pasta salad! It was tasty and easy to make! I Loved it!

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      May 6, 2021 at 6:07 pm

      That’s so awesome to hear, Alyssa! Thank you.

  • Reply
    veena
    May 5, 2021 at 6:20 am

    This Classic Italian Pasta Salad was so colorful. Presentation picture perfect. I Loved the combination of healthy and yummy ingredients. Perfect dressing to make it appetizing too. Saving to make again!

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      May 6, 2021 at 6:08 pm

      Thank you, Venna. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the salad!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    May 4, 2020 at 2:39 am

    I truly am a sucker for pasta salad but I just can’t stand the mayo-based salads! Your dressing is incredible and I’ll be saving this recipe.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    May 3, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    This Pasta salad is one of my favorites, and I’m so glad I came across it a while back. Now that the weather is starting to get warm. It’s super delicious and couldn’t be easier to make!

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      May 6, 2021 at 6:08 pm

      Thank you, Amanda! I appreciate the warm feedback~Heidy

  • Reply
    Chandice Probst
    May 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    I Loved that it had all the best flavors of true Italian pasta such a great recipe thank you!

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      May 14, 2020 at 9:18 am

      Thank you, Chandice! I appreciate the feedback!

  • Reply
    Veronika
    May 2, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    I love this pasta salad! It was perfect for lunch, summer party, or any other day! Perfect flavor combination and so much flavor!

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      May 14, 2020 at 9:17 am

      Thank you, Veronica! So glad you enjoyed the pasta salad

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