Looking for a pasta salad recipe that’s bound to steal the spotlight at your next gathering? Look no further! This mouthwatering pasta salad recipe combines al dente pasta, crisp vegetables, and a dressing that’ll have taste buds doing a happy dance. It’s the perfect balance of flavors and textures, making it a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Why You’ll Love This Summer Pasta Salad Recipe
- Quick and Easy: Pasta salad is every meal prep lovers dream. It takes just a few minutes and you have a delicious side OR main dish!
- Veggie Packed: One thing I personally can’t get enough of are fresh veggies, and this dish is loaded with them!
- Customizable: This is super simple to customize! Use your favorite veggies, and more or less dressing, and get crazy with your seasonings.
I love a good and hearty cold salad. I grew up with my mom making this exact recipe, but with spaghetti noodles. We lived on it in the summertime. Luckily, I passed my love for the dish on to my son. He begs for this on warm summer days. It happens to be quick, easy, and ideal for meal prep.
We serve it as a side dish AND a main course. Add in a diced chicken breast or some shrimp and you have got a delicious protein packed recipe ready to be served. Quick and easy with the added bonus of it not heating up your kitchen!
Looking for more veggie packed recipes? Try my ratatouille!
Rotini Pasta Salad Ingredients
THIS recipe is the king of customization. You can swap and change out the vegetables and use anything you have on hand or that is in season. That means you could easily use your families go-to vegetables and make it a crowd pleaser.
- Pasta: I love a spiral pasta, like rotini. My mom prefers spaghetti. Whatever shape you have on hand will work!
- Tomatoes: Cherry or grape tomatoes are ideal for this recipe.
- Bell Pepper: You can actually use almost any color of bell pepper. I use a blend of either red, orange, yellow, or green peppers.
- Olives: I pick up a jar of sliced olives. Easy peasy.
- Onion: I really like red onion, and it’s a popular choice for pasta. It’s sweet and more mild with a bold color that is amazing. However, you could always try vidalia, walla walla, or even shallots for a change in flavor.
- Broccoli: Fresh broccoli florets, washed and trimmed.
- Cucumber: Peeled and diced.
- Salad Seasoning: Do not skip this! Salad seasoning, like Salad Supreme, adds a really great overall flavor to this recipe and kicks it up a notch.
- Italian Dressing: I suggest using a quality brand. Something that really tastes great as this will be a majority of the flavor.
Like I mentioned above, the vegetables are super easy to interchange. Use what you have on hand or what you and your family love. You could also add cubes of cheese, tuna salad, or diced chicken!
Best Pasta Salad Recipe Ever
- PREP: Cook the pasta according to the package directions to al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water to help cool the pasta.
- MIX: Combine the pasta with the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- DRESSING: Whisk together the salad seasoning with the Italian dressing. Drizzle over the pasta salad and vegetables. Toss to combine.
- CHILL: Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- ENJOY: The longer this recipe sits the more the flavors will blend together.
- Mixing Bowls: You need a large mixing bowl to get this pulled together. I really love this set (affiliate). It comes with a few sizes and they all have secure lids, which means you can store the pasta salad in the same bowl you stir it in!
- Airtight Container: This salad will stay fresh longer if stored inside a quality food container (affiliate).
- Cutting Board: This calls for a lot of chopped veggies. I suggest picking up this cutting board set (affiliate). It comes with three sizes and is fairly inexpensive.
Helpful tips for this recipe:
- Make this recipe the day before serving. The longer it sits the better it will taste.
- This is excellent for picnics or barbecues.
- Add grilled chicken to make this a full meal.
- Make this a full meal by adding grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp, or steak.
The type of pasta that works best for pasta salad is typically short, sturdy, and has nooks and crannies to hold the dressing and other ingredients. I suggest rotini, fusilli, farfalle, or penne.
Yes, you can definitely make pasta salad ahead of time. In fact, making it in advance allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the taste. It’s a great dish to prepare ahead for parties, picnics, or gatherings. Keep the prepared pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Absolutely! One of the great things about pasta salad is its versatility, allowing you to customize the vegetables and add-ins based on your preferences and what’s available. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new combinations to make your pasta salad uniquely delicious.
Add protein to make your pasta salad more substantial and satisfying. Grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, diced ham, salami, or even vegetarian options like tofu or chickpeas can be excellent choices.
Place the remaining pasta salad in an airtight container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Make sure it is well-sealed to prevent air exposure and maintain freshness. Pasta salad can typically be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. However, the shelf life may vary depending on the ingredients used and their freshness. It’s always a good idea to use your judgment and inspect the salad before consuming leftovers.
Quick and Easy Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1/2 pound pasta
- 2 tablespoons Salad Seasoning
- 1/2 cup Italian dressing plus more if needed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup each:
- red and green bell pepper
- black olives
- red onion
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions to al dente.
- Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water.
- Combine the pasta with the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk together the salad seasoning with the Italian dressing. Drizzle over the pasta salad and vegetables. Toss to combine.
- Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- The longer this recipe sits the more the flavors will blend together.