Italian Pasta Salad

This vegetarian Italian pasta salad is a quick and tasty recipe filled with bright summer flavors.  An easy recipe to make for parties, BBQ or picnics – it’s ready in only 20 minutes. 

Wide shot of serving dish and two bowls with pasta salad with a blue checked napkin and water glass on a table.

I love pasta salad in the summer and this Italian pasta salad is the one I’ve been making all summer long.  This is a great pasta salad to share with family and friends at get togethers, BBQs and parties. 

This Italian pasta salad is quick and easy to make – it’s full of healthy veggies and packed with flavorIt has sweet cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, salty olives, fresh basil and a zesty vinaigrette.

Ingredients to make pasta salad in individual ceramic bowls with fresh herbs and a blue and white napkin.

This pasta salad is a great make ahead recipe that holds up well in the fridge for a few days.  It works well as both a main meal or side dish.  Leftovers are easy to pack up in individual containers so you have a grab and go lunch ready for the next day.

Side by side shot of pasta salad ingredients in a large white bowl and then salad ingredients tossed with a wooden spoon.

Step by step instructions on how to make this easy Italian pasta salad:

  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.  Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prep all the rest of the ingredients and make the salad dressing. 
  • Add the cooled pasta to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Add the salad dressing to the bowl and toss everything together to combine.

Close up view of white bowl with pasta salad and a fork.

Tips and questions about making this Italian pasta salad:

What kind of pasta should I use?  I used rotini pasta – a short curly pasta.  Penne would be a good choice as well.  Avoid long thin strands of pasta – those won’t work in this dish.

I don’t have roasted red peppers – what can I use instead?  If you don’t have a jar of roasted red pepper on hand, you can chop up a fresh green bell pepper or red bell pepper instead.  

What else can I add to this Italian pasta salad?  Bell peppers or sun dried tomatoes would be good additions to this salad.

Can I make this salad and store it in the refrigerator?  Yes!  It holds up really well in the refrigerator for a few days – so make a big batch.  If making ahead for a party, I would add the basil and parsley right before serving for a prettier presentation.

Looking for more easy summer salad recipes?  Then try one of these reader favorites:

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If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please come back and leave a comment and rating.  I’d love to hear from you!


Italian Pasta Salad

This vegetarian Italian pasta salad is a quick and tasty recipe filled with bright summer flavors.  An easy recipe to make for parties, BBQ or picnics – it’s ready in only 20 minutes.

  • Author: Geraldine
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta Salad
  • Cuisine: American


  • 8 oz of dried pasta – I used rotini
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper – chopped into small pieces.
  • 1/2 cup of marinated artichoke hearts – chopped into small pieces
  • 15 to 20 black kalamata olives – minced
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella – I used ciliegine (small balls) – cut in half


  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 small cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 twists of fresh black pepper from a pepper mill


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain pasta when ready and rinse under cold water until cool.  Drain throughly before adding to a large bowl.
  2. Prep and chop all the veggies and cheese while the pasta is cooking.
  3. Add veggies and cheese to the bowl with the cooled pasta.
  4. Mix together dressing ingredients and add to the pasta, veggies and cheese in the bowl.  Toss to combine and serve.


I used jarred roasted red peppers and marinated artichokes that I got at Trader Joes.

If you don’t have white balsamic vinegar you can use red wine vinegar instead.

Make sure to thoroughly drain the pasta before adding it to the mixing bowl.


  • Serving Size: 1 of 6
  • Calories: 324
  • Sugar: 2.3g
  • Sodium: 372mg
  • Fat: 18.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 15.7g

Keywords: Summer Pasta Salad, Quick and Easy Pasta Salad

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8 comments on “Italian Pasta Salad

  1. Sheila

    This is a lovely colorful salad that takes 15 mins from start to finish to make. And who knew those little mozzarella balls had such a wonderful name ….ciliegine.

  2. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    What a flavor packed pasta salad, Geraldine! The shape of the pasta is so fun and I love how it makes a blank canvas for all the flavor and textures you’ve got going on! Because it can hold in the fridge means I can make once and eat all week! Hooray!


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