Easy Pasta Salad is one of my favorite spring and summer recipes. It is easy to make and a real crowd-pleaser, making it great for a barbecue or potluck.

Made with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, cheese, and salami, this recipe has only seven ingredients, and it is so simple that it can be made in 25 minutes.

pasta salad in bowl with serving spoon

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 its ingredients and asked my mom to get the recipe from her. I knew I could easily throw it together, but I wanted to see the dressing she used.

overhead shot of pasta salad

If you know Jean, you would also expect the dressing to be homemade. When I was told it was just bottled Italian dressing, I was surprised but grateful because the dish turned out easier than I thought.

My biggest pet peeve in recipes like this is the mayo people use, which is typically overdressed and hides the fresh ingredients. That is why I love this recipe, you can taste every element, and together, they are delicious.

This recipe also stores well and doesn’t get nasty after the first time you serve it, so if you have to keep the leftovers, you will be just fine.

pasta salad with veggies in bowl

If you are breaking this Easy Pasta Salad into smaller servings for your lunch throughout the week, I would keep the cheese to the side and add it right before serving, as it can get a little mushy after a couple of days. It will still taste great, but the texture ruins it for me.

recipe Tips

  • Don’t overcook the noodles. Prepare the noodles according to the package directions; al dente is best.
  • Season your pasta to add flavor! To boost the flavor of this salad, I suggest adding 1-2 tablespoons of Italian dressing (dry powder) to the pasta dish.
  • 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 them to cool. You can chill the rest of the ingredients in the refrigerator while preparing the pasta salad.
  • Do not add cheese to the pasta until you are ready to serve.
pasta salad ingredients with seasoning


  • Penne or rigatoni pasta 
  • Italian salami
  • Monterey Jack cheese cubed
  • Cherry tomatoes quartered
  • English cucumber sliced and quartered
  • Black olives sliced
  • 1/2 cup Italian vinaigrette dressing – 3/4 cup, depending on preference
  • 1 packet dry Italian-style salad dressing mix (optional)
pasta salad in bowl up close shot

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pasta salad collage image with recipe title

Easy Pasta Salad

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 281 kcal
Easy Pasta Salad is a summer favorite; it's easy to make and a real crowd-pleaser, great for a barbecue or potluck.
easy pasta salad overhead shot


  • 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.
Calories: 281kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 9gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 679mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 245IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 151mgIron: 0.8mg
easy pasta salad overhead shot
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  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! So quick and easy and perfect for any party or get together. It is always a huge hit!

  2. 5 stars
    I made your Easy Pasta Salad for a picnic, and it was a big hit! It was so fresh and colorful, and the dressing was just perfect. This is definitely my new go-to pasta salad recipe!

4.88 from 8 votes (1 rating without comment)

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