Easy Pasta Salad is one of my favorite spring and summer recipes. Great for a barbecue or potluck, it is easy to make and a real crowd-pleaser.
Made with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, cheese, and salami this recipe for Easy Pasta Salad only has 7 ingredients and it is so simple that it can be made in 25 minutes. Makes enough for 10-12 people, you can easily serve at a party or break it up into servings for lunch. Either way, you will love the flavor combination in this traditional summer side dish.
I grew up having my mom’s friend, Jean pasta salad. She makes it all the time for really any summer get-together. We had its camp trips and her kids’ graduation parties. I loved all of the ingredients in it. I remember asking my mom to get the recipe from her. I knew I could easily throw it together but I wanted to know the dressing she used.
If you know Jean, you would also expect that the dressing would be homemade. When I was told that it was just bottled Italian dressing I was a bit surprised but also grateful because the dish was turning out even easier than I thought.
My biggest pet peeve when it comes to pasta salad is the amount of mayo people use. It is typically overdressed with mayo and these salads don’t even highlight the other ingredients. That is why I love this Easy Pasta Salad. You can taste every ingredient on its own and together they are delicious.
This Easy Pasta Salad recipe also stores really well. It doesn’t get nasty after the first time you serve it, so if you have to store the leftovers you will be just fine.
If you are breaking this Easy Pasta Salad into smaller servings for your lunch throughout the week, I would keep the cheese out to the side and just add in right before serving, as it can get a little mushy after a couple of days. It will still taste just great but the texture just ruins it for me.
Here are some tips for creating pasta salads that will turn out amazing every time.
- Don’t overcook the noodles. Prepare the noodles according to package directions.
- Don’t forget to season your pasta. Add flavor! My suggestion for this salad would be to add 1-2 tablespoon of Italian dressing (dry powder) to the pasta dish to give it a boost in flavor.
- Do not add the dressing or other ingredients to the pasta salad while it is warm. Rinse your noodles with cold water in a colander and then allow to cool. You can given chill in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the ingredients for the pasta salad.
- Do not add cheese to the pasta until you are ready to serve.
How do you make Pasta Salad?
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
Once cooked, rinse with cold water in a colander.
Allow noodles to completely cool.
Place noodles in a large mixing bowl.
Cut up salami, Monterey Jack cheese, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber.
Add the cut salami, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and sliced olives on top of the noodles.
Pour 1/2 cup Italian Dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
If you are adding the optional dry Italian-style salad dressing mix add this in with the Italian dressing and then toss to combine.
Don’t forget to pin this Easy Pasta Salad to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Easy Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces penne pasta or rigatoni
- 1 1/2 cups Italian salami
- 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese cubed
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 1/2 cups English cucumber sliced and quartered
- 8 ounces black olives sliced
- 1/2 cup Italian vinaigrette dressing - 3/4 cup, depending on preference
- 1 tablespoon dry Italian-style salad dressing mix optional
- Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Once cooked, rinse with cold water in a colander. Allow noodles to completely cool.
- Place noodles in a large mixing bowl.
- Cut up salami, Monterey Jack cheese, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
- Add the cut salami, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and sliced olives on top of the noodles.
- Add 1/2 cup of dressing toss to combine. If you want to add more dressing do so by adding 1/4 cup at a time. Taste and add more if you desire.If you are adding the optional dry Italian-style salad dressing mix, add this in with the Italian dressing.