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pasta salad recipe with italian dressing

pasta salad recipe with italian dressing

pasta salad recipe with italian dressing

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pasta salad recipe with italian dressing

Pasta salad with Italian dressing is a cold veggie pasta salad made with crunchy vegetables, cheese, and fresh herbs. It’s effortless, healthy, and easy dish to make!


  • 8 oz. small-shaped pasta, such as penne, fusilli, or farfalle
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


pasta salad recipe with italian dressing
pasta salad recipe with italian dressing


  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Immediately drain and rinse under cold water to remove excess starch. Set over a colander to drain and cool slightly.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the Italian dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Assemble the pasta salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the pasta, chickpeas, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella, feta, parsley, and dill. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to overnight. Before serving, mix the salad to incorporate all of the juices from the bottom and taste again for salt.


This pasta salad with Italian dressing is easy to make and has the most incredible flavors. Crispy prosciutto, tender bocconcini balls, tangy banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, basil, and parmesan cheese get tossed with your favorite pasta and delicious Italian dressing. It’s irresistible!


  • 16 ouncesdry pastawe like bow-tie
  • 1 cupItalian salad dressingwe like our homemade Italian salad dressing best but store-bought works, too
  • 4 ouncesprosciutto
  • 8 ouncesmini bocconcinior regular bocconcini cut in half
  • 1green bell pepperdiced
  • 1 cupcherry tomatoessliced in half
  • ¾ cupolives
  • ¼ cupthinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cupthinly sliced basil leaves
  • ½ cupItalian parsleychopped
  •  Optional: 1 cup banana peppers
  • ½ cupgrated parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the water then add the pasta to a large bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the Italian salad dressing.

16 ounces dry pasta,1 cup Italian salad dressing

While the pasta is boiling, crispy the prosciutto. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat then add the prosciutto in a single(ish) layer. Let it cook until it shrinks and becomes crisp then turn it over and cook it for another minute on the other side. Remove it from the pan and crumble it a little into a bowl.

4 ounces prosciutto

Add the bocconcini, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, basil, parsley, banana peppers, crispy prosciutto, and parmesan cheese to the bowl with the pasta. Pour the remaining dressing over the top then toss to coat.

8 ounces mini bocconcini,1 green bell pepper,1 cup cherry tomatoes,¾ cup olives,¼ cup thinly sliced red onion,½ cup thinly sliced basil leaves,½ cup Italian parsley,Optional: 1 cup banana peppers,½ cup grated parmesan cheese

pasta salad recipe with italian dressing
pasta salad recipe with italian dressing

pasta salad recipe with italian dressing and parmesan cheese

Italian Dressing Pasta Salad is the perfect recipe when you need a quick and easy summer side. Rotini pasta, bell peppers, onion, spinach, and parmesan cheese are deliciously tossed with zesty Italian dressing to create the best cold pasta salad.


  • 10-12 oz. rotini pasta gluten-free
  • 1 cup Italian dressing bottled or homemade
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch slices
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • ¼-½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse under cool running water.
Once pasta is cooled to room temperature, combine it with ¾ cup of Italian dressing in a large bowl. Toss until well coated.
Add bell peppers, onion, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Toss until all ingredients are well combined.*
Refrigerate pasta salad for 1-2 hours, or until chilled.
Just before serving pour in additional ¼ cup of Italian dressing and mix in spinach leaves.
Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

What Ingredients Should I Add to Pasta Salad?

The Best Pasta To Use: Pasta is essential, but the type of pasta you use does matter. I like the pasta to bite back a bit and hate it when it turns mushy.

That’s why you should choose hearty pasta shapes like penne, fusilli, rotini, and farfalle (bow tie). They also have the advantage of lots of nooks and crannies, which trap the dressing and bits of cheese. Other shapes can work, too. Orzo pasta is an excellent option, but make sure not to overcook it.

Add Some Vegetables: An assortment of veggies add color and crunch to the salad. We love adding bell pepper, cucumber or zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced green onion (or scallions). You can add other vegetables, too.

Try sliced fennel, grated carrots, radish, and even cauliflower or broccoli. Roasted winter squash and beets are an excellent alternative in fall and winter.

Adding a handful of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand is an excellent idea, too. The more color and flavor, the better!

Add Some Cheese: We love the saltiness of shredded parmesan in pasta salad. Since it’s shredded, it almost melts into the dressing. Mozzarella cheese is another favorite. We cut small balls of fresh mozzarella in half and toss them with the pasta.

Other cheeses will work, too. Try feta cheese for more of a Greek pasta salad or swap the parmesan cheese for shredded sharp cheddar. For a vegan pasta salad, leave the cheese out.

Flavorful Extras: My favorite part about pasta salad is adding extra secret ingredients that make it shine. Olives add tanginess and a lot of flavor. Pickled vegetables are fun (try pickled onions), and sliced pepperoncini peppers add a little extra kick.

If you aren’t going for a vegetarian pasta salad, you can add a handful of chopped salami, pepperoni, turkey, or ham. You could even shred a rotisserie or roasted chicken and toss it in. So many options!

pasta salad recipe with italian dressing
pasta salad recipe with italian dressing

pasta salad recipes with italian dressing and cucumbers

This Italian Pasta Salad is so easy to make in just a few minutes with rotini pasta, cucumber, red peppers, tomatoes, olives. Seasoned with a perfect homemade light Italian dressing. It’s a must have cold side dish for any BBQ or potluck!


  • 1 lb rotini pasta
  • 1 whole english cucumber seeded, halved and sliced
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1 whole orange bell pepper cored and diced
  • 1 whole red bell pepper cored and diced
  • ½ cup black olives sliced
  • ¼ cup scallions sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • Parmesan Cheese optional
  • Pepperoni sliced, optional



  • Juice of 2 lemons about ⅓ cup
  •  cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for vegan option
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Cook pasta per package directions
  • Drain pasta and add to a large serving bowl.
  • Dice and slice all vegetables and add to the pasta.
  • Mix dressing ingredients in a carafe or mason jar and shake well.
  • Pour all dressing over top of vegetables
  • Toss well to coat.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Top with parmesan cheese if desired.
pasta salad recipe with italian dressing
pasta salad recipe with italian dressing


  • Be sure and salt the pasta water before adding the dry pasta
  • Use an Italian dressing that you LOVE. I really like the Olive Garden Italian dressing so that is the one that I buy. There are so many options. Zesty Italian dressing, creamy Italian dressing, parmesan Italian dressing. Pick one you love or one that sounds yummy!
  • It’s best to seed the cucumbers for this pasta salad. Peel the cucumber and then cut it in half vertically (so you end up with two thinner, longer pieces). Take a metal dinner spoon and scoop out the seeds and flesh. Then cut and dice the cucumber.
  • Use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. Either one will work great.
  • Eat this pasta salad right away or let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. It’s best not to make pasta salad the day before, because pasta salad tends to dry out as it sits in the fridge for a long time. When you are ready to serve, or are eating leftovers, give the salad a good stir and add a tablespoon or two of the dressing to moisten it all back up again.
  • Cut your veggies small: Cutting your vegetables into pieces slightly smaller than bite-sized will ensure that you get a taste of everything in each bite!
  • Don’t overcook your noodles: Overcooking will make a mushy pasta salad as the acids from the dressing will break down the starches farther. Shock your noodles once they are cooked al dente in cold water for best results!
  • Cool your pasta before adding the toppings: You don’t want to begin to cook your vegetables while you toss everything together!
  • Let your pasta salad sit before you serve it: This gives the dressing a chance to really permeate your veggies and pasta, resulting in a more flavorful and delicious Italian pasta salad!
  • Keep it colorful: If you are adding some extra veggies you have on hand, keep your pasta salad fun and colorful! I love adding things like artichokes, shredded carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, etc.

Can You Freeze Pasta Salad?

We don’t always recommend freezing cooked pasta because too-soft pasta will not hold up well in the freezer. However, if you make sure your pasta is al dente, it should be fine.

To freeze pasta salad with dressing, simply transfer it to a freezer-safe container (or multiple zip-top bags wrapped in storage wrap and foil, if you don’t plan to thaw the whole batch at once). Label with the date and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.



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