Here’s the go-to easy pasta salad recipe that’s perfect for summer!
Light and tender rotini pasta is tossed with fresh veggies and cheese tossed in a tangy vinaigrette!
This simple salad is a classic that can be served anytime and anywhere!
Easy Pasta Salad Recipe
- Cold and refreshingly light, this pasta salad is quick and easy to make with only 6 ingredients and bottled Italian dressing!
- Create a budget-friendly side salad using leftover veggies and cheeses, or make it a main dish and add cooked protein.
- A make-ahead pasta salad is ideal to take to a party, picnic, or BBQ where it goes perfectly with grilled chicken kabobs, bbq chicken sandwiches, or even a simple meatloaf.
Ingredients and Variations
Pasta – Rotini is a firm pasta that works because it’s the perfect size and the dressing clings to it easily. Other shapes you can try are penne, bowtie, or medium-sized shells.
Vegetables – Mix and match colorful veggies for texture and flavor. Try celery, radishes, peas, spinach, chopped red onions, finely diced broccoli, or even sundried tomatoes.
Cheese – Feta is dry and salty, but you can substitute blue cheese crumbles, bocconcini balls, or parmesan cheese.
Dressing – Choose your favorite Italian dressing or try a Greek vinaigrette or a creamy Ranch.
Add Meat – Make that side dish a healthy main dish and add some diced pepperoni, sliced summer sausage, cooked shredded chicken, tuna, shrimp, or crab meat.
Extras – Punch up your pasta salad with color and flavor by adding extras like tangy kalamata olives, sliced pickles, artichoke hearts, bacon bits, or even some sliced jalapenos!
How to Make Pasta Salad
- Cook and drain pasta. Rinse in cold water.
- Chop ingredients (as per the recipe below) and place them in a large bowl.
- Add pasta and toss with dressing.
- Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
- Garnish with fresh herbs like basil or parsley, if desired.
Storing Pasta Salad
- Make this easy pasta salad up to a day ahead and all the flavors will continue to blend!
- All pasta salads taste best when they’re cold so keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Have you tried this Easy Pasta Salad? Leave a comment and rating below!
Easy Pasta Salad
- 1 pound rotini or another medium pasta (penne, bowties, etc.)
- ½ cup feta or bocconcini cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 ½ cups English cucumber sliced and quartered
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup bell peppers cut in ½" pieces
- ⅓ cup black olives sliced
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water.
- While pasta is cooking, chop the vegetables.
- In a large bowl combine the pasta, vegetables, and feta. Pour the Italian dressing overtop and mix well.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Before serving, give the pasta salad a quick stir and enjoy!
- Choose pasta shapes that hold dressing well such as rotini, fusilli, or penne.These shapes provide texture and ensure that every bite is filled with flavor.
- Cook the pasta just until it reaches al dente, as it will continue to soften slightly when mixed with the dressing. Overcooking can result in a mushy pasta salad.
- Create a well-balanced pasta salad by combining a variety of flavors. Incorporate ingredients with different tastes and textures, such as crunchy vegetables, tangy dressings, salty cheeses, and savory herbs.
- Chill before serving for enhanced taste and texture.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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