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!
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!
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!
Tips for making this cold pasta salad recipe:
- You can use any pasta, but I like to use fusilli, penne, or rotini. The shapes are fun and bite size, making them easy to eat for kids and adults. You can even use the tri-color rotini noodles, the kids always love those.
- Cook the pasta until al dente.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse it well with cold water. Drain again to avoid soggy pasta.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the other ingredients. For this recipe, I like to use bell pepper, tomatoes, and black olives. Pro tip, buy sliced black olives so you don’t have to cut them. A great time saving tip!
- Dress the salad with Italian dressing. It is really easy to whisk up and I love the flavors. You could also use a simple balsamic vinaigrette or even our basil vinaigrette. And if you have a favorite store-bought dressing, use it. This salad is all about EASY!
- Finish the salad with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese – it really enhances the flavor.
- This salad is great served at room temperature or cold. It can be made in advance and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
What to Put in Pasta Salad
Like I mentioned, this salad has bell peppers, tomatoes, black olives, basil, and Parmesan cheese, but feel free to mix things up. That is the beauty of a pasta salad, it is easy to mix things up.
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:
- artichoke hearts
- green onion
- mini mozzarella cheese balls
- cheese cubes (cheddar, white cheddar, provolone, or havarti)
- white beans
The options are endless! You really can throw in just about anything. Use your favorite ingredients and don’t be afraid to play around.
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.
We will be serving this easy pasta salad at all of our summer parties and bbq’s. Plus, it is a great salad to have in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners. We hope you like this recipe as much as we do!
More Pasta Salad Recipes
- Southwest Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Greek Tortellini Salad
- Easy Orzo Salad
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad
- Easy Summer Pasta Salad
- Bacon Corn Tomato Pasta Salad
Easy Pasta Salad
- 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
- 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.
Have you tried this recipe?
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What a beautiful summer pasta salad – looks delicious!
Yum! Gorgeous simple salad! Love it!
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!
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!
Made this ahead of time for Memorial Day camping and was great! Thanks for the recipe!
Love how this can be made in advance…perfect for summer entertaining and guests!
Yes!! A summer favorite!
This is such a classic!
Going to a BBQ this weekend, will give this one a try! Look delish:)
Cook the pasta until al dente.
Really such a amazing post dear.
Could I get your dressing recipe you use on easy pasta salad recipe
Which store-bought dressing do you like to use with the Easy Pasta Salad?
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!
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Sounds good! I’m going to try it.
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!
Thank you! Per serving:)
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/
Super easy & so delicious! A fan favorite.
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!
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!
What is the serving size?
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!
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