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side view of white bowl containing finished pasta salad with pieces of salami and tomatoes
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4.86 from 7 votes

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Everyone loves this bright and zesty Italian pasta salad with healthy homemade salad dressing. It makes the perfect side dish for summer barbeques, holidays and family gatherings. And it even makes a super tasty lunch or dinner option! Every bite is loaded with classic Italian flavours like roasted capsicum, sun dried tomatoes, baby mozzarella, salami and olives, this salad is fast, super easy to make and bursting with flavour!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
0 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10
Calories: 432kcal

Ingredients

  • 375 grams dried pasta roughly 4 cups. Tri-colour (vegeroni) or white, try spirals, bowtie, shells or macaroni.
  • 200 grams hot salami, chopped diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped cut in half
  • 1 red onion, chopped thinly sliced
  • cup fresh parsley, chopped chopped
  • 1 cup baby bocconcini
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, chopped sliced
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped roughly chopped
  • ½ - 1 cup marinated capsicum

For the Homemade Italian Dressing

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp Italian herb mix I used Hoyts
  • 1 ½ tsp white sugar
  • pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside to cool.
  • Add all of the dressing ingredients into a glass jar. Add the lid and shake well to combine.
  • Add the cooled pasta to a large salad bowl and top with the chopped salad ingredients. Shake the dressing again and add ⅓-1/2 cup to the salad (or to taste).
  • Stir the ingredients together until well combined. Cover and chill for an hour, or serve immediately if required. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Pasta; I recommend using a smaller, bite-sized pasta like spirals (fusilli), shells, bowtie (farfalle), macaroni or penne, as they have plenty of nooks and crannies to hold that delicious Italian dressing. But long pasta like spaghetti will work too. I love using tri-colour pasta for its colourful appearance and distinct flavour, but most types will work in this recipe. For gluten-free pasta salad, gluten free pasta can easily be substituted.
  2. Salami; choose a good quality hot or mild salami, depending on your preference. Pepperoni can also be used, or the meat can be skipped entirely for a vegetarian option.
  3. Baby bocconcini; heavenly, creamy balls of mozzarella. You can find bocconcini or mozzarella balls in most supermarkets and delis. Regular sized bocconcini can also be used and cut into smaller pieces. Alternatively, you could use some crumbled feta or freshly shaved parmesan cheese.
  4. Italian dressing; to dress this salad, we combine the ingredients found in the recipe card below to a mason jar and shake to combine. It’s really that quick and easy! If you are in a rush, you can use a store-bought Italian dressing instead and add it to taste.
  5. How long will it last? This salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, which means that you can make it ahead of time if needed. It tastes even better the next day! You can refrigerate the ingredients separately (salami, cheeses, veggies and dressing) and throw everything together when needed. The ingredients can be stored this way for up to 5 days.
  6. With all meats, cheeses and cooked pasta, you do need to keep it chilled until you are ready to serve.
  7. If making this recipe using gluten free pasta, I recommend mixing the ingredients together just before serving, so that the pasta doesn’t break down.
  8. See the post above for a list of variations and ingredient substitutes!
 

Nutrition

Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 587mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1045IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg