BEST Pasta Salad

Picture a vibrant medley of colors, flavors, and textures dancing together in perfect harmony, beckoning you to take a journey through a culinary wonderland. Enter the Pasta Salad, a versatile dish that transcends borders and pleases palates with its endless variations and boundless creativity.

At its heart, pasta salad is a celebration of simplicity and versatility, offering a canvas upon which to showcase a kaleidoscope of ingredients, from crisp vegetables to savory meats, tangy cheeses to zesty dressings. But it is more than just a salad – it is a symphony of flavors that tantalizes the taste buds and delights the senses with every forkful.

Imagine al dente pasta, cooked to perfection and infused with the flavors of the surrounding ingredients. Whether it’s fusilli, penne, or rotini, the pasta serves as the backbone of the salad, providing a hearty base upon which to build layers of flavor and texture.

Next come the vegetables – a riot of colors and shapes that add brightness and freshness to the dish. Crisp bell peppers, juicy cherry tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and pungent red onions mingle together in a vibrant tapestry of flavors, each one contributing its own unique essence to the salad.

But it doesn’t stop there. Pasta salad is also an opportunity to showcase a variety of proteins, from tender grilled chicken to succulent shrimp, smoky bacon to savory salami. These additions not only add depth and richness to the dish but also transform it into a satisfying meal in its own right.

And let’s not forget the dressing – the final flourish that brings everything together in a harmonious union of flavors. Whether it’s a tangy vinaigrette, a creamy ranch, or a zesty pesto, the dressing ties all the ingredients together with its bold flavors and velvety texture, ensuring that each bite is a burst of culinary delight.

Certainly! Here’s a classic recipe for a delicious and versatile pasta salad:


Pasta Salad Essentials:
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta – I like rotini!
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
  • 1 lb. salami or summer sausage, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup pepperoncini (optional, but do it)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Italian Pasta Salad Dressing:
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (white vinegar or red wine vinegar work)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (yes, tablespoons – see notes!)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons each dry oregano and dry basil
  • black pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs if you want! sometimes I add fresh parsley, basil, or chives.


Step1: Cook pasta according to package directions, in salted water for more flavor. Allow to cool slightly and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.
Step2: Blend up the dressing, or shake together in a jar.
Step3: Toss all ingredients together! I like to use about three-fourths of the dressing, and then I save the rest of the dressing to add to my leftovers.

Step4: Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I think it actually tastes best the day AFTER you make it.

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