Serve this delicious cold pasta salad at your next BBQ or summer party. It’s packed with colorful veggies, such as broccoli, tomatoes, and cucumbers, plus Italian favorites, like salami, cheese, pepperoncini, and olives.
Italian Pasta Salad
This fresh and flavorful, easy pasta salad recipe is one of my favorite cold pasta salads, perfect for any summer gathering. To make it a bit healthier, I load it with vegetables, use less meat and cheese, and toss it in a light Italian vinaigrette. Pasta salads are one of my go-to summer dishes when I’m entertaining. They’re an excellent side dish to pair with anything you’re grilling and easy to make ahead. Some others I make often are my Greek Pasta Salad, Tortellini Salad, and of course, my favorite Macaroni Salad.
When I tested this recipe, I couldn’t stop eating it, it’s so good! I partnered with Delallo Foods to create this new pasta recipe. You all know my love for Delallo pasta, I’ve been singing their praises for years! It’s the only pasta I use in my house. Delallo pasta comes from the birthplace of pasta, a region just south of Naples, in the Campania region. It is produced in one of the oldest pastaficios in Italy, in fact, with origins that date back to 1795.
Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Pasta: Use one 16-ounce package of Delallo fusilli, or any corkscrew pasta. Wheat or gluten-free.
- Broccoli: Cut broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.
- Tomatoes: Halve grape tomatoes (or substitute cherry tomatoes).
- Cucumbers: Quarter baby cucumbers. You can dice an English cucumber if you don’t have baby ones.
- Cheese: Dice reduced-fat provolone or mozzarella.
- Salami: Cut four ounces of genoa salami.
- Red Onion: Slice a half cup of red onions.
- Black Olives: Slice a quarter cup of black olives.
- Pasta Salad Dressing: Olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, garlic, garlic powder, dried parsley
How to Make Pasta Salad
- Blanch the Broccoli: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, blanch the broccoli for 15 seconds in the water. Then remove it with a slotted spoon and rinse it under cold water to stop it from cooking.
- Cook the Pasta: Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse it under cold water.
- Make the Italian Pasta Salad: Pour the pasta into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate until chilled.
Tips to Help You Make a Great Pasta Salad
- Pasta Selection: Start with great pasta. I love Delallo pasta which is imported from Italy because it’s made with just two ingredients – flour and water. Avoid overcooking so it’s not mushy.
- Choose pasta shapes that hold the dressing and other ingredients well. Fusilli, farfalle, or penne are excellent choices, as they have ridges or pockets that can trap the vinaigrette. Rinse the pasta under cold water before combining it with the remaining ingredients.
- Dressing: Prepare a flavorful dressing that complements the ingredients in your pasta salad. You can use a store-bought dressing, but I prefer to make my own with olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh or dried herbs, and spices. Ensure the vinaigrette is well-distributed throughout the salad.
- Mix-ins: Include a variety of mix-ins to add texture, color, and flavor to your pasta salad. I love broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and olives. Also, add protein like meat or cheese.
- Chill and Marinate: Allow the pasta salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Making it ahead allows the flavors to meld together and the pasta to absorb the dressing. If the salad seems dry after chilling, toss it with a little more dressing just before serving.
- Seasoning: Taste before serving and season with more salt or pepper if needed.
What to Serve with Pasta Salad
This easy Italian pasta salad would be great with grilled chicken, steak, or seafood, like shrimp or salmon. If you want to add another summer side dish, try this Zucchini Carpaccio or Grilled Vegetable Platter.
How to Store Pasta Salad
For best results, eat the pasta salad the same day you make it. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
- Gluten-free: Substitute gluten-free pasta for wheat.
- Protein: If you don’t like salami, use diced ham or turkey, pepperoni, grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, mozzarella pearls or fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Vegetarian Pasta Salad: You can make this dish meatless by omitting the meat altogether.
- Veggies: Mix in any veggies you like, such as bell peppers, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, or peas.
- Dairy-free: Omit the cheese to make it dairy-free.
- Add Fresh Herbs like basil or chives to provide a burst of freshness.
- Parsley Swap: Dried oregano or basil will work if you don’t have dried parsley for the vinaigrette.
More Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Love
- Summer Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini
- Chilled Italian Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad
- Grilled Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad
- Lobster Roll Pasta Salad
Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- 16 ounce package Delallo fusilli pasta, or gluten-free pasta
- 4 cups broccoli florets, cut bit sized
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 cups baby cucumbers, quartered
- 4 ounces reduced-fat provolone or mozzarella, diced
- 4 ounces genoa salami, diced or sliced
- ½ cup sliced pepperoncini, plus 2 tablespoons of brine
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for water
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- When boiling, blanch the broccoli 15 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water to stop it from cooking.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.
- Drain and rinse under cold water then add to a large bowl with the remaining ingredients.
- Mix well and refrigerate until chilled. Serve cold.
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This post is sponsored by Delallo Foods, my favorite brand of pasta! Thank you for supporting the brands I love.