This Italian pasta salad recipe is the perfect dish to take to a barbecue, party, or anywhere, really. Just make sure you grab a little for yourself first before it disappears.
It’s easy to make, it’s loaded with flavor and will keep you going back for more because it’s that good.
Pasta is just pure comfort in a bowl, isn’t it?
In college, I used to buy this Italian pasta salad that came in a box. Calling it pasta salad was a bit of a stretch since the only thing that resembled a vegetable inside was a few of the tiniest pieces of dehydrated bell pepper that if you squinted your eyes just right you’d be able to see.
My college food standards weren’t real high (probably among other standards), but I loved that stuff.
Why You Need to Make This Italian Pasta Salad ASAP
This Italian pasta salad is crazy good, and I promise I’m not just tooting my own horn over here, I’ve had confirmation from others too.
It somehow gets better each time I make it, or I just forget how good it is when I’m not eating It.
Either way, it’s a real winner of a recipe.
This Italian pasta salad is healthier than the boxed variety and full of customizable ingredients. You can add what you want and leave out what you don’t.
It’s the perfect mix of comfort and healthy. The dressing that helps tie all the flavors together is so easy to make, is so dang good and creamy (yet totally dairy-free).
Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients
The whole recipe comes together in about 10 ingredients. The fresh ingredients are what take this recipe far beyond the boxed variety.
This Italian pasta salad uses
- fusilli pasta – corkscrew-shaped pasta (common in pasta salads)
- red bell pepper – adds sweetness and crunch
- flat-leaf parsley – adds freshness and color
- salami (I used uncured soppressata, but any kind will do) – adds saltiness and smokiness
- shallot – gives it a delicate flavor
- vegan mozzarella cheese balls – adds creaminess and umami
Italian Pasta Salad Dressing Ingredients
This dressing comes together very quickly and is incredibly easy to make. It uses just a handful of easy to find ingredients.
This pasta salad dressing has
- olive oil – a good source of healthy fats
- red wine vinegar – for tang
- honey – for sweetness
- Italian seasoning
- garlic powder
- sea salt
There are plenty of other ingredients that work well in this pasta salad.
No fusilli pasta? → farfalle, penne, ziti, rotini, or strozzapreti all work, but don’t use anything smaller or the ingredient ratios will be off.
No red bell pepper? → yellow or orange are best, but green will work too
No salami? → use pepperoni (I like uncured by Applegate), but anything you have is fine
Plant based? → omit salami and add garbanzo/chickpea or Italian white beans or leave out completely (I love it this way!)
No shallot? → Use red onion, finely minced or just omit all together
For the vegan mozzarella → sub traditional mozzarella or omit completely, but the creaminess is a great addition
Want more fixings? → add olives, cherry tomatoes, or lightly sautéed mushrooms.
No parsley? → sub fresh basil
Don’t have Italian seasoning? → use a mix of marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage.
Need it to be gluten-free? → sub gluten-free pasta
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 2 cups red bell pepper diced
- ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley minced
- ¾ cup salami cubed
- ¼ cup shallot diced
- 1-2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese cut into bite-size pieces
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- Cook the pasta according to your package’s directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, dice the peppers, mince the parsley, salami, and shallot and set aside, along with the mozzarella pieces.
- Add the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until combined. (Alternatively, you can do this in a jar with a tightly sealed lid and shake vigorously.)
- Once the pasta, has finished cooking, drain it and combine with the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Next, pour the dressing over the entire pasta salad and mix thoroughly until evenly coated.
- This Italian pasta salad will last up to one week in the fridge, but it hasn’t lasted more than 2 days in our house.
- This recipe serves 6-8, depending on whether it’s served as a side or a main.