Easy Pasta Salad

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

This Easy Pasta Salad is one of our favorite summer recipes. Serve at BBQ’s, picnics, and pool parties. It is also great to have in the fridge for easy summer lunches and dinners. You can’t go wrong with this pasta salad recipe!

Easy Pasta Salad in white serving bowl.

During the hot summer months, we like to eat salads for lunch and dinner. Sometimes Josh gets tired of green salads, so I mix things up with pasta salads. Cold pasta salads are a summer lifesaver!

This Easy Pasta Salad is one of our favorites. I actually grew up on this pasta salad. This was a staple at our house every single summer. We would come in from playing outside or from swimming and eat this pasta salad. It is SO easy and that is why I love it…well, and the fact that it is delicious too!

This is also an easy salad to customize, you can mix up the veggies, change up the cheese, or add protein! The leftovers are great too, making it a great salad to meal prep for the week!

Pasta Salad with tomatoes, peppers, olives, basil, and Parmesan cheese in bowl.

Ingredients

  • Pasta– I like to use fusilli, penne, rotini, orecchiette, or farfalle, but any noodle will work!
  • Bell peppers– I use red and yellow.
  • Tomatoes– grape tomatoes, halved.
  • Black olives– if you don’t care for olives, you can leave them out, but we love them. Or use your favorite olive! Pro tip, buy sliced black olives so you don’t have to cut them. A great time saving tip!
  • Italian dressing– I make my homemade Italian dressing, but store bought is fine too. You could also use a simple balsamic vinaigrette or even our basil vinaigrette.
  • Basil– fresh basil adds lots of flavor!
  • Parmesan cheese– freshly grated!

How to Make Pasta Salad

There is nothing fancy or fussy about this Easy Pasta Salad and that is a very good thing. We are all about easy during the hot summer months! This is a classic pasta salad that everyone loves!

  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package instructions.
  • Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Drain the pasta well after rinsing.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pasta, bell peppers, tomatoes, and olives.
  • Add the dressing and stir. Make sure the pasta salad is well coated with dressing so the noodles don’t stick together and you want the pasta salad to have plenty of flavor.
  • Stir in the basil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

Variations

This pasta salad is easy to customize. Feel free to mix things up and use what you have on hand. We are all about cleaning out the fridge in the summer and using what we have in our garden or what we pick up at the farmers market.

Some ingredients that would also work well in this salad include:

  • cucumbers
  • artichoke hearts
  • green onion
  • mini mozzarella cheese balls
  • cheese cubes (cheddar, white cheddar, provolone, or havarti)
  • feta cheese or goat cheese
  • salami
  • ham
  • chicken
  • chickpeas
  • white beans
  • parsley

The options are endless! You really can throw in just about anything. Use your favorite ingredients and don’t be afraid to play around.

How to Store

Store the pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. If the salad gets a little dry, add extra dressing and toss before serving.

This is a great salad for meal prep! We love having it in the fridge for easy lunches or dinners!

More Pasta Salad Recipes

Easy Pasta Salad in bowl with veggies, basil, and Parmesan cheese.
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Easy Pasta Salad

This easy pasta salad recipe is a summer favorite! Take it to a potluck, picnic, or enjoy it for lunch or dinner!
4.68 from 58 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb pasta, fusilli, penne, rotini
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup Italian dressing or use your favorite store bought dressing
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the pasta. Cook according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Drain the pasta well after rinsing.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pasta, bell peppers, tomatoes, and olives. Add the dressing and stir until pasta noodles and vegetables are well coated.
  • Stir in the basil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Notes

Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Toss with extra dressing before serving, if necessary. 

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 601mg, Potassium: 263mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 855IU, Vitamin C: 41.4mg, Calcium: 137mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords easy pasta salad, pasta salad

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.68 from 58 votes (53 ratings without comment)

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  1. Your pasta salad looks lovely. I have to admit that I get sick of green salads pretty quickly, but I know I’d love this – especially with lots of good veggies mixed in!

  2. I do enjoy cold salads during the summer, and pasta salads are a great way to add bulk to green salads. I like this simple take on it; lends well to lots of customization!

  3. Made this ahead of time for Memorial Day camping and was great! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Love how this can be made in advance…perfect for summer entertaining and guests!

    1. I linked to the dressing in the post. You can also make our homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It’s easy too! See the links in the post!

  5. Nice recipe of pasta salad! If you are excited of knowing more about the simple marijuana grow then take a dive into 420reap.com.

  6. I think I am going to make this tomorrow – can you tell me if the nutrition facts are for the entire salad? If it is per serving can you tell me the serving size? Thanks so much! I LOVE your recipes!

  7. What a great recipe for pasta salad. I love the addition of black olives and basil – it adds such a nice flavor to the dish! The instructions are clear and easy to follow. I think this would be perfect for any occasion; BBQs, picnics, pool parties, or even just as an easy lunch or dinner option in the summertime when you don’t feel like cooking. Nice work! Please visit my blog, https://www.tirunelveli.today/

  8. That’s a great idea! My son loves Pasta Salad too much. I try to cook, but, maybe I can’t like yours! Learned something new to apply for the next time! Thank you so much, for sharing such a superb idea!

    Linda Mia
    https://www.kitchenfolks.com

  9. 5 stars
    I found this recipe a couple years ago and make it often during the summer. It’s easy to make and absolutely delicious. One of my favorites!

  10. 5 stars
    I had to make 2x the dressing and omitted the Parmesan as it was making the salad than we like…..the dressing is to die for! And I love the simplicity of the ingredients in the salad, I didn’t have to see chick peas and onions being picked out!

  11. Hi Maria I tried to print your recipe for easy pasta salad and it would not print. Please let me know how I can get your recipe.
    Thank you

    1. Sorry, I just tried printing it and it worked for me. Please check your printer or internet connection. Make sure you press the print button on the recipe card.

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