Classic Italian Pasta Salad


Classic Italian Pasta Salad is a colorful and reliable, go-to pasta salad recipe for spring or summer dinners, parties and picnics.

Classic Italian Pasta Salad is a colorful and reliable, go-to pasta salad recipe for spring or summer dinners, parties and picnics.

I’m back from Mexico and have this Classic Italian Pasta Salad to share with you today!  I had the best time and loved where we stayed. I must say it makes it much easier to snap back to reality when you are coming home to nice weather and not 10 feet of snow and cold.  I love springtime here in upstate NY and don’t mind “reality” right now at all.  I feel like I have my own little mini resort in my backyard with our huge patio and gazebo.  I spend a lot more time out there than I care to admit once the weather turns nice.

I’m so glad you’re here! Follow along on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Pasta salads are always a hit for Memorial day, potlucks, summer picnics or a simple weeknight meal side dish. Everyone needs a good, reliable pasta salad recipe in their life, right?  This Classic Italian Pasta Salad is so colorful (I love colorful food because somehow in my head it makes the food taste better) and hearty enough to actually stand as a light meal on it’s own.  Pasta salads are great because you can make them ahead of time – and it actually is advantageous to make them in advance for the flavor to be the best it can be.

Classic Italian Pasta Salad with pepperoni for a Memorial day, 4th of July, or summer side dish.

This quick chop and throw-together Classic Italian Pasta Salad is full of great flavor and will be your new favorite side dish.  It’s a great salad to use some of those fresh garden vegetables you may have laying around.  The little dash of white sugar I like to add to my pasta salads actually takes the edge off the Italian dressing without making the salad itself sweet at all.  You can leave this out but I really believe it makes a difference in the flavor!  Here are a couple of my other favorite pasta salad recipes: Simple Pasta Salad, Caprese Pasta Salad and Greek Pasta Salad.  You may also like some of the creative pasta salads from my friends: Creamy Pasta Salad that is light and slightly tangy from my friend Mary and Shrimp Pasta Salad with homemade Italian dressing from my friend Amy. Enjoy!

Classic Italian Pasta Salad for a Memorial day or 4th of July side dish.

Visit my Step-By-Step Video on How to Make This Classic Italian Pasta Salad

Classic Italian Pasta Salad
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 14-16 servings
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fusilli or rotini pasta
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ pound provolone cheese, cubed
  • ½ pound sliced pepperoni, cut in half
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can black olives, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) bottle good quality Italian salad dressing
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
  3. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Pat the noodles dry with a clean dish or paper towels to get some of the water off.
  4. In a large bowl, combine pasta with tomatoes, cheese, pepperoni, green pepper, olives and sugar.
  5. Pour in salad dressing, and toss to coat.
  6. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours for flavors to come together before serving. If letting sit overnight, you may need some more Italian dressing added before serving because the pasta will soak it up. Enjoy!
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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

31 Responses to “Classic Italian Pasta Salad”

  1. May 18, 2015 at 5:34 AM #

    I´ve got a similar pasta recipe but it doesn´t have pepperoni in it. I love the idea of adding the pepperoni!

    • Julie
      January 25, 2016 at 7:15 PM #

      If you want to add the pepperoni I find it easier to use the salad pepperoni. It’s bite size so no cutting involved.

      • January 27, 2016 at 12:44 AM #

        That’s a great idea! I have seen the bite size at the store.

  2. May 18, 2015 at 9:03 AM #

    Summer is all about delicious pasta salads! Sometimes I think I go to picnics only to eat all of the pasta salad. Haha! My mother-in-law makes a very similar salad to this one, and I absolutely love it. She gets thick (1/2″) slices of pepperoni from the deli counter and then cubes that for her version. Nothing beats pepperoni in a pasta salad! I hope you are settling back into the swing of things after Mexico. 🙂

  3. May 18, 2015 at 11:09 AM #

    My daughter would love this! She has been raving about a very similar pasta salad we had recently at a pot luck – I am especially loving the pepperoni in this! Welcome back, btw! 🙂

  4. May 18, 2015 at 12:52 PM #

    I make something similar and agree that this would be the perfect dish to a potluck!

  5. May 18, 2015 at 12:53 PM #

    I love this salad! One of my faves!

  6. May 18, 2015 at 5:47 PM #

    What a yummy pasta salad…perfect for a picnic

  7. May 18, 2015 at 6:38 PM #

    This is my favorite type of pasta salad. One that’s loaded with all sorts of Italian meats and cheeses. SO good!

  8. May 19, 2015 at 8:49 AM #

    Ashley, welcome back! You know what I love about summer? Is that everyone comes up with these amazing summer salads. There’s not much I like better than a cold summer salad on hot days. Definitely pinning this to make later!

  9. May 19, 2015 at 9:36 AM #

    This is totally my kind of pasta salad! Welcome back from vacation – I seriously wish I could stow away in your luggage – your trip photos always look so fun!

  10. May 19, 2015 at 11:33 AM #

    I’m glad you had such a good time in Mexico! This pasta salad is the perfect potluck dish for summertime.

  11. May 19, 2015 at 3:24 PM #

    Wish I could pick all the olives, tomatoes and pepperoni right off my computer screen!

  12. May 19, 2015 at 6:20 PM #

    I love Italian pasta salads…I’d give anything for a big serving of this right now. I usually use salami, but I think I need to try pepperoni next time – looks so good!

  13. May 19, 2015 at 11:08 PM #

    Pasta salad is my go-to summertime side dish. It’s so perfectly easy and I can empty the fridge by throwing in random vegetables and any leftover pepperoni. It’s so good!

  14. May 20, 2015 at 4:21 PM #

    YAY!! Glad you had a great time in Mexico!! Pasta salads are perfect for Memorial Day and this one will look great on our picnic table!!

  15. May 20, 2015 at 5:47 PM #

    So glad you had a great trip! This is the perfect summer time pasta dish!

  16. May 20, 2015 at 6:56 PM #

    This is my favorite way to make pasta salad! I always add peas, too. 🙂

  17. nancy
    June 1, 2015 at 10:13 PM #

    Couldn’t see any provolone cheese chunks, But, I’ll sure add it to mine! YUM!!

    • June 1, 2015 at 11:25 PM #

      Nancy – you’re so right! The time I made it (and photographed it) I left out the cheese because my Father-in-law doesn’t eat cheese! Funny that you noticed – I was wondering if anyone would! LOL 🙂

  18. Pam
    June 19, 2015 at 8:05 AM #

    So, what kind of excellent Italian dressing do people recommend??

  19. Angela
    August 5, 2015 at 11:34 PM #

    I add chunks of provolone cheese, chick peas and sliced up artichoke hearts, but no peppers or sugar.. I also use thicker sliced pepperoni and my olives are sliced. If you want a little twist on it, I let mine “marinade” in the house Italian dressing overnight and before I serve it I add creamy Italian dressing and stir it up. I have been making this for years and everyone always loves it.

    • August 6, 2015 at 11:37 AM #

      I love these ideas! Thank you !!

  20. Mary
    September 25, 2015 at 12:48 PM #

    Just made this. It’s the perfect go-to summer pasta salad. Very simple and delicious! Thank you!!

    • September 25, 2015 at 3:34 PM #

      Mary, thanks for letting me know! I appreciate it! I love to hear when my recipes turn out for people.

  21. Rachel
    November 4, 2015 at 10:17 PM #

    How much is a serving? like a 1/2 cup?

    • November 4, 2015 at 10:45 PM #

      I never really measured but it makes a LOT!

  22. January 4, 2016 at 6:53 AM #

    Dear Ashley, This salad is fun and delicious. I love pasta salads like this….my family would love this too. Perfect for lunch or dinner! Happy New Year dear. xo, Catherine

  23. Julie
    January 25, 2016 at 7:12 PM #

    I make mine a little different, but it is so easy and versatile. It is my go to dish for a last minute ger together.

  24. February 28, 2017 at 5:30 AM #

    Your salad is so pretty and colorful! We love a great pasta salad and I bet that pepperoni is excellent. Thanks for including mine too!


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