Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Prep Time:15 mins

Cook Time:10 mins


Prepare to be the most popular person at the potluck – this Classic Italian Pasta Salad will have everyone asking for the recipe! It’s a healthy and refreshing side dish that feels like comfort food.


For the Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. gluten free rotini pasta
  • 8 oz. salami, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber, half moon shapes
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup black olives, halved
  • 1/2 sliced red onion
  • 8 oz. pearl mozzarella balls
  • 1/3 cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

For the Italian Dressing

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste

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Make the Dressing

  1. To a medium bowl add garlic cloves, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and salt. Whisk together. Slowly pour in olive oil whisking the entire time until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the pasta to cool slightly.
  2. Once pasta is cooled add salami, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, black olives, red onion, mozzarella balls, pepperoncini, parsley and basil. 
  3. Pour the prepared dressing over top and gently toss all the ingredients together using two wooden spoons. 
  4. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  • Makes 14-16 servings.
  • To Store: Refrigerate pasta salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Easy Pasta Salad With Salami and Cucumber

A dazzling dish doesn’t have to require a ton of effort. Turns out, all you need are some fresh vegetables, your favorite pasta noodles and a quick-fix vinaigrette dressing! You won’t be able to put down your fork when a bowl of this pasta salad is on your placemat

In addition to the veggies, pasta and dressing, it features salami and mozzarella for a boost of protein as well as fresh herbs to bring home that classic Italian flavor. It’s traditionally served as a side dish or an appetizer, but you could totally divvy it up into larger portions and make it a main course. This big-batch recipe is great for that!

Since potluck season is upon us and pasta salad is a must-have, this version serves up to 16 people. You can halve or quarter it if you’d like fewer portions, but there’s honestly no need – you’ll feel lucky to have all those leftovers! They stay fresh in the fridge for days

What You’ll Need

This pasta salad stays true to its Italian roots, starting with the ingredients. Scroll down to the recipe card for the amounts associated with each item.

For the Pasta Salad

  • Gluten-Free Rotini Pasta: Or another short, textured noodle of your choice such as penne, fusilli, cellentani or even farfalle (bow-tie pasta).
  • Salami: Cut into small cubes.
  • Cucumber: Sliced into half-moon shapes.
  • Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • Halved Black Olives
  • Sliced Red Onion
  • Fresh Mozzarella Pearls: You could use pre-shredded cheese instead, but the pearls are fresher and more authentic. Dicing up a ball of fresh mozzarella is also an option.
  • Sliced Pepperoncini: Also known as Tuscan Peppers, these aren’t very spicy at all. They add a sweet and peppery element to the salad.
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Fresh Basil: Chiffonade, or sliced into thin strips

For the Italian Dressing

  • Garlic Cloves: Freshly minced.
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt: Added to taste.
  • Olive Oil

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

This classic side dish comes together in a flash, especially if you use pre-cooked pasta. If you cook the pasta on the spot, just remember to let it cool off a bit before you combine it with the other ingredients.

Make the Dressing

Combine Garlic, Mustard, Vinegar & Salt: Add the minced garlic, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and salt to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk it all together.

Whisk In Olive Oil: Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking the entire time, until the dressing is emulsified (fully blended). Set the vinaigrette aside.

Assemble the Salad

Cook Pasta: Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Drain it and pour it into a large bowl. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes

Add Remaining Ingredients: Once the pasta has cooled off a bit, add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl.

Add Dressing & Toss: Pour the prepared dressing over the salad and gently toss all the ingredients together using two wooden spoons.

Enjoy! Serve the pasta salad immediately or store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy it.

Tips for Success

Want a few helpful tips to hone your salad-making skills? I admire the dedication!

  • Stick With Fresh Ingredients: Apart from the pepperoncini, which is pickled, all of your salad veggies should be nice and fresh. The same goes for the cheese and herbs as well as the garlic in the dressing. Trust me, your salad will be better for it.
  • Don’t Overcook the Noodles: Every authentic Italian recipe with pasta calls for the noodles to be cooked al dente. In other words, they should be cooked through but firm when you bite into them. This is especially important if you expect to have leftovers, as the pasta will soften up while it sits.
  • Serve Immediately: If you’re not serving this salad right away, be sure to store it in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy it. I recommend keeping it in a cooler if you’re bringing it to a potluck to ensure maximum freshness.

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