May 24, 2021

Italian Pasta Salad

This gluten free Italian Pasta Salad is full of crisp fresh veggies, perfectly cooked pasta, fresh herbs, two different cheeses, and the most delicious flavorful vinaigrette. It’s a great option for a light lunch or a tasty dinner side dish. 

Italian pasta salad in white bowl

The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Pasta salads are one of the best kinds of salads in my personal opinion. I love how hearty they are and that you can pack them with plenty of fresh veggies. This healthy Italian pasta salad is made with a variety of crisp and crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, a little soppressata, cheese, and a delicious dressing to tie everything together.

The best part? You likely already have most of the ingredients you need to make this recipe already in your pantry and fridge. This recipe is gluten free and can easily be made dairy-free if you prefer!

Italian pasta salad ingredients

Ingredients You Need

Full list of ingredients in the recipe card, below. 

Pasta: Pick a pasta that has lots of nooks and crannies so that the Italian vinaigrette, herbs, and grated cheese have a chance to really stick to it. I used a gluten-free pasta to keep the entire recipe gluten free but feel free to use your favorite pasta of choice.

Kalamata Olives: Olives give the pasta salad a delicious briny tang. I like to use pre-pitted olives to keep things easy.

Grilled Artichoke Hearts: If you have never tried grilled artichoke hearts before then you must! They are full of flavor and work really well in this salad.

Veggies: This pasta salad uses a combination of fresh veggies including romaine, cucumber, and tomatoes.

Cheeses: Mozzarella balls add a delicious creamy element to the pasta salad and grated parmesan adds an extra layer of flavor.

Soppressata: Soppressata is an Italian dry salami. If you cannot find it, feel free to use another cured meat like salami. You can also leave this ingredient out if you would like to keep the pasta salad vegetarian.

Fresh Herbs: Plenty of fresh basil and fresh parsley are tossed into this pasta salad for the ultimate goodness.

pasta salad dressing

How Do You Make the Dressing?

A very simple, yet flavorful, Italian vinaigrette works to pull all of the ingredients of the pasta salad together. This dressing could not be easier to make.

Here’s what you need: 

  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic

Once you have all of the ingredients, just add them to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

dressing being poured over pasta salad

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad From Scratch

Full instructions in the recipe card, below. 

Step One: Cook the dry gluten free pasta according to the package instructions. Once al dente, drain and rinse the pasta with cold water.

Step Two: Add the pasta, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, romaine lettuce, grilled artichoke hearts, cucumber, red onion, mozzarella balls, soppressata, fresh parsley, fresh basil leaves, and parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl.

Step Three: Next, make the dressing. Add the dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to a high powered blender or food processor and blend until well combined.

Step Four: Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until well combined.

Step Five: Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best store bought dressing for pasta salad?

Don’t have time to make your own dressing? You can always drizzle on your favorite Italian dressing instead.

What to serve with your pasta salad?

This pasta salad recipe is great on it’s own for a light lunch or dinner. Or, if you prefer, you can pair it with your favorite protein, like chicken, fish, or beef to make a heartier meal.

This is also a great side dish option to take to your next potluck or barbecue. If you need to make a bigger batch to feed more people, just double the recipe!

Is it better to make pasta salad the day before?

If you would like, you can definitely make this pasta salad a day in advance! To keep the pasta salad fresh, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge. It will last for two to three days in the fridge.

How do you keep pasta salad moist?

If you find your pasta salad to dry out a bit after storing, just make a little extra dressing and pour it on before serving.

Tips for the Perfect Pasta Salad

  • Don’t over cook your pasta. Cook the pasta al dente so that it still has a bit of bite.
  • Drain and rinse the pasta under cool water to remove any excess starch before adding it to your mixing bowl.
  • Salt your water while cooking the pasta to ensure that it has plenty of flavor.
  • Dice the red onion well. That way you don’t end up with huge pieces of onion in your salad.
  • Don’t skip mincing the garlic when making the dressing. When you mince the garlic before adding it to your food processor or blender, it blends more evenly into the dressing.
  • Feel free to get creative and add other veggies you love. Artichoke hearts would also be great in this salad!

Italian pasta salad in bowl

More Delicious Recipes You’ll Love

Greek Pasta Salad

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Thai-Inspired Crunch Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing

Healthy Broccoli Salad

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

Greek Chickpea Salad

hope you give this Italian Pasta Salad a try! It is so easy to make and absolutely delicious!

If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings / #allthehealthythings on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.

Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: Casey Colodny / THE MINDFUL HAPA

 

Print

Italian Pasta Salad

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Diet: Gluten Free
/
Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry pasta
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup grilled artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella balls
  • 4 oz soppressata, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus more for serving)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove finely minced or pressed garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cook the dry gluten free pasta according to the package instructions. Once al dente, drain and rinse the pasta with cold water.
  2. Add the pasta, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, romaine lettuce, grilled artichoke hearts, cucumber, red onion, mozzarella balls, soppressata, fresh parsley, fresh basil leaves, and parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Next, make the dressing. Add the dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to a high powered blender or food processor and blend until well combined.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until well combined.
  5. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Keywords: Italian pasta salad, pasta salad with Italian dressing, pasta salad

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Recipe rating

    16 comments
  1. This is the best salad. But above all else is the dressing. It’s so good. I usually blend all the dressing ingredients and then chop the parsley and basil really fine and throw it in the dressing and stir it up. It’s so good!

  2. You know a recipe is good when your husband AND your kids request it weekly. We like to add sauteed green peppers and sub half of the red wine vinegar for fresh lemon juice for the homemade dressing. It’s so dang good.

    • Wow! The addition of the lemon juice and green peppers sounds wonderful, Jenessa! So glad you were able to make this recipe work for you! Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m so glad you loved this recipe, Julie! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  3. This was delightful! So much flavor in every bite. This is my new summer posts dinner

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe, Kaydence! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

    • Thanks, Lori! You can actually buy grilled artichokes, which is what I used for this recipe. You should be able to find them next to the jarred artichokes. Usually in the pickle or condiment aisle.

  4. This is delicious! I literally could not stop eating it. It’s a great summer time dinner when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. A definite make again!

    • Thank you so much, Amanda! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh the flavors in this pasta salad… where do I begin? I love the pop of cherry tomatoes & mozzarella, but my husband loved the combo of grilled artichoke hearts and red onion. So many good textures and flavors!

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Casey! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

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