Meet your new summer bestie:
A easy Italian pasta salad with rotini, juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red onion, salami, olives, herbs, and a drench of quick homemade Italian dressing.
If you want to know what I’ve eaten for 4 of my last 5 meals, it’s THIS SUMMER ESSENTIAL. We are kind of having a moment here.
Choose from a classic Garlic pasta, tomato basil pasta, Spaghetti Napolitana (tomato pasta), Arrabiata (spicy tomato pasta), pasta with anchovies, spaghetti with olives and tuna pasta!
- 6 ounces pepperoni sausage, diced
- 6 ounces provolone cheese, cubed
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 (6 ounce) can pitted black olives
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pasta Salad Essentials:
- 1 pound uncooked pasta – I like rotini!
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes , cut in half
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls , cut in half
- 1 lb. salami or summer sausage , cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup kalamata olives , sliced
- 3/4 cup pepperoncini (optional, but do it)
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley , chopped
Italian Pasta Salad Dressing:
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (yes, tablespoons – see notes!)
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons each dry oregano and dry basil
- black pepper to taste
- fresh herbs if you want! sometimes I add fresh parsley, basil, or chives .
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rotini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
In a large bowl, mix the cooled pasta, pepperoni, provolone cheese, red onion, cucumber, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, olives, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.
In a jar with a lid, mix the olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, ground mustard, salt, and pepper. Seal jar, and shake well.
Pour the dressing mixture over the pasta salad, and toss to coat. Cover, and chill 8 hours in the refrigerator
- Cook pasta according to package directions, in salted water for more flavor. Allow to cool slightly and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.
- Blend up the dressing, or shake together in a jar.
- Toss all ingredients together! I like to use about three-fourths of the dressing, and then I save the rest of the dressing to add to my leftovers.
- Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I think it actually tastes best the day AFTER you make it.
Customizing Your Pasta Salad:
By all means, customize this salad – that’s what it does best! Try adding blanched green beans, fresh spinach, artichokes, red or yellow peppers, chickpeas, etc. for a more veg-forward version. Or different types of cheese (fet parmesan), or different shapes of pasta (pen fusili maybe even some tortellini?) the possibilities are endless. I love this salad as-is but I also love its flexibility!