This post first appeared on Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor. 

This easy Italian Pasta Salad is a tasty cold pasta salad with mozzarella, salami, peppers, and olives mixed in a tangy Italian dressing. The perfect potluck dish!

easy to make Italian Pasta Salad

Classic Italian Pasta Salad

This Italian Pasta Salad recipe is a summer potluck classic. Pasta, Italian meats, vegetables, and cheese. It’s a cold pasta salad packed with bold Italian flavors that are brought together with the tangy Italian dressing. It’s a quick and easy side dish tastes as good as it looks!

Cold salads like this Italian Pasta Salad, Ramen Noodle Salad, or  Classic Macaroni salad, are the perfect thing to bring to potlucks, to serve at family get-togethers, or to have in the fridge for a quick lunch.  These simple salads are served cold, so you don’t have to worry about transporting a hot dish, or warming it up when you get to a friends house, and they are so good you never have to bring home leftovers! 

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Italian Pasta Salad on a fork

What is in Italian Pasta Salad?

  • Pasta – rotini, penne, and farfalle are the types used most often.
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Salami
  • Black Olives
  • Pepperoncini peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Italian dressing

Other options are:

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Prosciutto
  • Pepperoni
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Feta cheese
  • Sun-dried tomatoes

One of the things I love most about classic pasta salad with Italian dressing, besides the fact that it involves salami,  is that there is no wrong way to make it. I mean, you want to stick with Italian ingredients but other than that you should have fun with it and make it any way you like. If you don’t eat meat, you can make it with only veggies. If you are a meat-lover, then add a few different types of Italian meats. We even have a recipe for a Keto Antipasto Salad for all of you who are cutting back on carbs!

Italian Pasta Salad perfect potluck meal

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and add 1 minute to the cook time. Pasta hardens as it cools and since you’ll be serving this pasta cold you’ll want to cook it just a little longer than usual. Don’t let it get mushy though!
  2. Once the pasta is ready drain it and place it in a large bowl.
  3. Add all of the other ingredients and pour 3/4 cup of the Italian dressing over everything. Toss the pasta with all of the ingredients and the dressing while it is still warm. The warm pasta will soak up the dressing and take on all of those flavors.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  5. Before serving pour 1/4 cup of dressing over the salad and toss together. The dressing soaks into the pasta as it sits so adding a little extra gives it all a new coating of flavor.

Can You Make Italian Pasta Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes! I recommend it. Pasta salad always tastes better after it has had time to sit for a while. It gives the pasta time to absorb all of the flavors. You can make this pasta up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

how to make Italian Pasta Salad

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Servings: 12
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Chill Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins

Italian Pasta Salad

This easy Italian Pasta Salad is a tasty cold pasta salad with mozzarella, salami, peppers, and olives mixed in a tangy Italian dressing. The perfect potluck dish!
easy to make Italian Pasta Salad
Print Recipe
4 from 1 vote


  • 16 ounces Rotini pasta
  • 12 ounces Salami , cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 pints Cherry tomatoes , cut in half
  • 1.5 cups Orange bell pepper , diced
  • 12 ounces Pepperoncini
  • 1 cup Black olives , sliced
  • ½ cup Red onion , diced
  • 16 ounces Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup Parsley , finely chopped
  • 1 cup Italian dressing


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  • Once the pasta has cooked drain water and place in a large bowl.
  • Add all of the other ingredients and toss together.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld together. Serve cold.


Calories: 595kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 1759mg, Potassium: 548mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1381IU, Vitamin C: 44mg, Calcium: 230mg, Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cold pasta salad, cold pasta salad recipe, pasta salad recipe for party, pasta salad with italian dressing