| |

No-Fuss Easy Italian Pasta Salad: Perfect For Busy Days

Packed for Life contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my Disclosure policy for more info.

Whip up a speedy summer favorite: Easy Italian Pasta Salad. Spiral rotini pasta, cherry tomatoes, red onion, black olives, and mozarella balls dressed in Italian flavors, ready in minutes.

A favourite recipe in our family, this quick tri colored rotini pasta salad makes for a quick and easy camping & road trip meal. It’s also perfect for summer picnics, potlucks or even dinner, when it’s too hot to cook.

This will easily become an essential summer meal in your family too.


Jump to Recipe | Print Recipe

Easiest Italian Pasta Salad make ahead. Bowl of Italian Pasta Salad with salami, mozarella balls, olives and peppers.

Summer is the time for epic family adventures, which leaves little time to make involved recipes.

Which is why this cold pasta recipe is ideal. We’ve found that using a ready made Italian dressing is the way to go. Especially if you need to whip up a quick last minute meal, for the hungry hoards.

We’ve found it’s also a great way to use up some leftover pasta, veggies & meat in the fridge. Plus it’s so easy to substitute ingredients & dressings to your family’s tastes.

Quick Tri Colored Rotoni Pasta Salad

Wooden spoonful of tri-colored rotini pasta salad.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Refreshing Summer Flavors: This pasta salad bursts with the vibrant flavors of ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs, and zesty Italian dressing, making it a perfect choice for hot summer days.
  • Minimal Effort, Maximum Taste: With its quick and easy prep, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the sunshine. It’s a hassle-free recipe that delivers maximum flavor.
  • Customizable and Crowd-Pleasing: Whether you prefer adding grilled chicken, extra veggies, or more cheese, this recipe is versatile and easily tailored to suit your family’s tastes. It’s a crowd-pleaser at picnics, BBQs, potlucks, and road trip or make ahead camping meals !

Ingredients You’ll Need

Bowls of ingredients; rotoni pasta, cherry tomatoes. peppers, salami, red onion, mozarella balls, black olives, parsley

This pasta salad recipe only requires a handful of simple ingredients:

  • Tri-color rotini pasta
  • Salami
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Perlini mozzarella balls
  • Can of sliced black olives
  • Large yellow bell pepper
  • Large red onion
  • Italian parsley
  • Italian dressing
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here are a few of our go-to substitutions & additions you can try:

  • Instead of salami: Smoked tofu, roast chicken, cooked spicy sausage
  • Other veggies to add / substitute: Cucumbers, sweet potato cubes, green onions, orange or red peppers, artichoke heart pieces, broccoli, chickpeas
  • Switch out the pasta: Cooked bow tie pasta, penne, radiatore, rotelle (wagon wheels), or tortellini. Pasta with grooves will hold the dressing better.

How to Make This Easy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

  1. Cook the pasta “al dente” according to the directions on the package. Salt the water used to cook the pasta, this will help give the pasta extra flavor. Do not overcook, or the pasta will get mushy.
  1. Rinse the cooked pasta with cold water for a minute or two to cool it down and stop the cooking.
  1. Let the pasta reach room temperature. Make sure the pasta has cooled completely before assembling the salad, as the veggies will lose their crunch if it’s still too warm.
Bowl of cooked tri colored pasta
  1. In a large bowl, combine all pasta salad ingredients and toss the dressing.
Italian dressing being poured into a bowl of pasta salad ingredients.
  1. Eat right away, or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
Tri colored pasta salad with Italian dressing, cherry tomatoes, mozarella balls, parsley, yellow peppers, salami.

Tips & Notes 

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 
  • I don’t recommend freezing the salad as the texture will be mushy once it’s thawed.
  • If packing for camping / road trips, we like to keep the dressing & tomatoes separate & add right before serving. Make sure to keep in a cold cooler.
  • Most tri-color rotini come in 12-ounce boxes. If your pasta comes in a 16-ounce box, feel free to use it all and increase the amount of dressing to 1 cup or to taste.
  • Any color of bell pepper can be used in this recipe.
  • I like the perlini-sized mozzarella for this recipe as it is similar in size to the other ingredients. You can also cut fresh mozzarella into ¼ inch pieces. 
  • I prefer slicing the salami into pieces myself, so I can control the thickness of the meat. However, pre-sliced salami can be used instead.
  • This salad can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the salami. For a vegan version leave out the salami and cheese, and up your veggies. We like smoked tofu as a substitute for meat.

More summer friendly recipes:

Bowl and a half of pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and parsley scattered.

I hope you enjoy this delicious and zesty cold pasta salad with Italian dressing. Adding this to your regular summer meals rotation will save you time & be tasty.

Tri colored pasta salad with Italian dressing, cherry tomatoes, mozarella balls, parsley, yellow peppers

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Yield: 6-8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Whip up a speedy summer favorite: Easy Italian Pasta Salad. Spiral rotini pasta, tomatoes, red onion, black olives, and mozarella balls dressed in Italian flavors, ready in minutes.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces ( 3 ¾ cups) dry tri-color rotini pasta
  • 9 ounces (2 cups) dry salami, diced into ¼ inch pieces
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 (8 ounce) tub of Perlini mozzarella balls, drained
  • 1 (3.8 ounce) can of sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 large (about 1 cup) yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ½ large (about 1/2 cup) red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup Italian dressing
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Cook the pasta "al dente" according to the directions on the package. Salt the water used to cook the pasta, this will help give the pasta extra flavor. Do not overcook, or the pasta will get mushy.
    2. Rinse the cooked pasta with cold water for a minute or two to cool it down and stop the cooking.
    3. Let the pasta reach room temperature. Make sure the pasta has cooled completely before assembling the salad, as the veggies will lose their crunch if it's still too warm.
    4. In a large bowl, combine all pasta salad ingredients and toss the dressing.
    5. Eat right away, or cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 
  • It's not recommended to freeze the salad as the texture will be mushy once it's thawed.
  • If packing for camping / road trips, keep the dressing & tomatoes separate & add right before serving. Make sure to keep in a cold cooler.
  • Most tri-color rotini come in 12-ounce boxes. If your pasta comes in a 16-ounce box, feel free to use it all and increase the amount of dressing to 1 cup or to taste.
  • Any color of bell pepper can be used in this recipe.
  • Use the perlini-sized mozzarella for this recipe as it's similar in size to the other ingredients. You can also cut fresh mozzarella into ¼ inch pieces.
  • Use a salami sausage you can slice yourself, to control the thickness of the pieces. However, pre-sliced salami can be used instead.
  • For a vegetarian version: This salad can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the salami. 
  • For a vegan version: Leave out the salami and cheese, and up your veggies. We like smoked tofu as a substitute for meat. Be sure to use a vegan friendly Italian dressing.
  • For a gluten-free version: Use a gluten-free pasta and dressing.

Substitutions / Additions

  • Instead of salami: Smoked tofu, roast chicken, cooked spicy sausage
  • Other veggies to add / substitute: Cucumbers, sweet potato cubes, green onions, orange or red peppers, artichoke heart pieces, broccoli, chickpeas
  • Switch out the pasta: Cooked bow tie pasta, penne, radiatore, rotelle (wagon wheels), or tortellini. Pasta with grooves will hold the dressing better.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 646mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 7g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered from online calculators.

Bowl & fork of cold pasta salad. Text overlay: Tasty cold pasta salad. Perfect summer recipe idea.
Pouring dressing nto a bowl of red onion, tomatoes, black olives, mozzarella bowls, salami and yellow pepper.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *