Italian Pasta Salad

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

This Italian pasta salad is the ULTIMATE pasta salad recipe. It’s made with roasted peppers, salami, olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and a robust Italian dressing. This pasta salad is always a favorite at potlucks, parties, and cookouts.

Italian pasta salad in wood serving bowl with salad servers.

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I love a good pasta salad, especially in the summer months. This Italian Pasta Salad is the BEST pasta salad. Every time I make it for family and friends they devour it and then beg me for the recipe. It is a WINNER!

This pasta salad is loaded with flavor. It’s made with salami, roasted peppers, olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and a robust Italian dressing.

The salad is super satisfying and can be served as a main dish or side dish. It is the perfect salad to take to parties, potlucks, and cookouts. It is also a great salad to keep in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners.

The salad can be made in advance, which is a big bonus. The flavors will heighten as the salad sits! It really is the PERFECT pasta salad recipe.

ingredients in bowls to make Italian pasta salad.

Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Mini bell peppers– I love using the colorful mini peppers for this pasta salad. I roast them to bring out the best flavor.
  • Olive oil– for drizzling over the peppers.
  • Pasta– campanelle pasta or your favorite pasta.
  • Artichoke hearts– use canned or jarred artichoke hearts. Drain well before using.
  • Salami– chopped!
  • Fresh mozzarella balls– cut the balls in half or you can use mozzarella pearls, they are smaller.
  • Kalamata olives– pitted and chopped!
  • Sun dried tomatoes– drain the oil off of the tomatoes and give them a nice chop!
  • Parmesan cheese– freshly grated!
  • Herbs– fresh basil and parsley!
  • Red onion– diced!

Italian Dressing

I love tossing the pasta salad in my homemade Italian dressing. For the dressing, you will need:

  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Honey
  • Dried herbs-basil, oregano, and parsley!
  • Onion powder
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

The dressing is easy to whisk up and gives the pasta salad LOTS of flavor! Find the full dressing recipe HERE! It is one of my favorite dressing recipes.

mini bell peppers on baking sheet.

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stem and seeds. Place the peppers on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 15 minutes or until peppers are charred.
pasta draining in colander.
  • While the peppers are roasting, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
roasted mini bell peppers on baking sheet.
  • Remove the peppers from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Roughly chop the peppers.
salami, pasta, artichoke hearts, peppers, onion, sun dried tomatoes, olives, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and herbs in serving bowl to make Italian pasta salad.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pasta, peppers, artichoke hearts, salami, mozzarella, olives, sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
Italian dressing being spooned over Italian pasta salad in serving bowl.
  • Make the Italian Dressing and pour over the salad.
  • Toss until the salad is well coated. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve.
close up of Italian pasta salad in wood bowl.

Variations

  • Instead of campanelle use your favorite pasta. Penne, fusilli, rotini, orecchiette, and farfalle are all good options. You can even use cheese tortellini.
  • For a vegetarian Italian pasta salad, omit the salami.
  • Instead of roasting the mini bell peppers, you can char the peppers on the grill. If you want a shortcut, you can also use a jar of roasted red peppers. Drain and chop!
  • Instead of spinach, use arugula for a peppery bite.
  • If you can’t find fresh mozzarella balls, you can chop up a large fresh mozzarella ball or log.
  • Use grape tomatoes instead of sun dried tomatoes.
  • Black or green olives are also great in this salad.
  • Add extra veggies like cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, or grilled zucchini or mushrooms.

What to Serve with Pasta Salad

How to Make Ahead & Store

  • This is a great meal prep salad because it can be made in advance. The flavors get even better as the pasta salad sits. I like to make it several hours before serving, just keep it in the fridge.
  • Store leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If the pasta salad dries out a little, you can drizzle with additional dressing or olive oil.
  • Unfortunately, this pasta salad doesn’t freeze well.
Italian pasta salad on plate with fork.

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Italian Pasta Salad

This Italian pasta salad is the ULTIMATE pasta salad recipe. It's made with roasted peppers, salami, olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and a robust Italian dressing. This pasta salad is always a favorite at potlucks, parties, and cookouts.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounces mini bell peppers, red, yellow, and orange
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb campanelle pasta, or pasta of your choice
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 8 ounces salami, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 chopped red onion
  • Italian Dressing
  • Garnish: extra Parmesan cheese and fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stem and seeds. Place the peppers on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until peppers are charred. Let cool to room temperature.
  • While the peppers are roasting, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Roughly chop the roasted peppers.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pasta, peppers, artichoke hearts, salami, mozzarella, olives, sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Make the Italian Dressing and pour over the salad. Toss until the salad is well coated. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 417kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 911mg, Potassium: 511mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1.769IU, Vitamin C: 61mg, Calcium: 189mg, Iron: 2mg
Keywords italian dressing, mozzarella cheese, pasta

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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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5 from 1 vote

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  1. 5 stars
    or you can use Robusto Wishbone dressing. people love it. cut what you want in it. pour dressing and you are done.