The Best Pasta Salad

The Best Pasta Salad

recipe image

“Great Pasta salad for summer. Very easy and inexpensive.”

photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez

photo by Jonathan Melendez

Ready In:



  • Cook pasta according to directions, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While pasta is cooking, chop tomato, peppers and onion into very small pieces. Add olives and mix.
  • Drain Rotini; rinse with cold water for about 3 minutes.
  • Mix pasta with tomato, peppers, onion and olives.
  • Refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour.
  • Add salad dressing; mix well.
  • Add Parmesan cheese; mix well.
  • Serve immediately.
  • If you have left overs, you will have to “re-wet” salad by adding a little more salad dressing the next day, especially if you substitute the dressing with a fat-free dressing.

Questions & Replies

default avatar

  1. Laurie D.

    Has anyone used a gluten free pasta? Just wondering if it holds up and about the taste.

  2. lakeethat

    How do you print recipes from this website?

  3. jmkiernan

    I put in my email so how do I get recipes to send to myself!

  4. 1krismess

    Could you add canned tuna to this or would it be too dry?

  5. Pam J.

    Why is this picture connected to this recipe? Clearly states rotini but shows macaroni in the picture. Also, looks like there is celery and green onions in the picture and those were not in the recipe.

  1. J e l i s a

    This was a great salad! I couldn’t find any decent tomatoes, so I stuck w/the red and green bell peppers, and a red onion…also added chunks of cucumber, and whole olives since I wasn’t sure if everyone liked olives (easier to pick out than sliced). I couldn’t find the sun dried tomato dressing, so I used a reduced calorie Italian dressing. Thanks!

  2. Rodney F.

    I temper my onions. To do this just cut size you want put into small bowl add warm/hot water then drain good and use. I also add cubed feta cheese,cubed salami, pepperoni and pepperoncinis cut small. Fabulous

  3. Gina Farina

    This was a good “base” recipe. I see pasta salad as an opportunity to improvise using your own leftovers and ingredients on hand. In addition to this recipes’s ingredients I also added: artichoke hearts, sliced zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, and red onion instead of white. You could also use pepperoni, kalamata olives, cooked eggplant, steamed broccoli, feta cheese, etc. I had a huge Costco bottle of Tuscan Style Italian dressing which I used. It came out great! I think you’d have to work pretty hard to ruin a pasta salad like this (maybe if you overcooked the pasta!). Thanks for posting!

  4. Chef Doozer

    I take this salad everywhere I go for potlucks, especially in the summer months. It’s always a huge hit! Our favorite combo is cucumbers, peppers, red onion, olives, feta cheese, and pepperoni with a greek dressing…but it is fabulous as written too.

  5. grant827

    I added 8 OZ of pepperoni cut in quarters!!

see 115 more reviews

  1. hankarnold

    I use Zesty Italian by Kraft, just gives it a bit more oomph! Also I use a few different types of Pasta, just to keep it different than everyone else’s. And more than 8 oz of Pasta, and more BLACK OLIVES, at least a large can. And let it rest overnight before serving (DON’T SERVE IMMEDIATELY), makes a BIG difference in the flavor. Missing: -Garlic -Red Onion -Celery Enjoy!!!

  2. bearmom50

    One thing I have learned to do with my salads similar to this is to use whole grape tomatoes. I’m a fix once serve twice sort of cook. I found out that if I use grape tomatoes whole in my summer salads that they stand up well for a second day or even a third. Also after I asked my husband what vegetables he liked and he answered, “Corn and potatoes.” I add more veggies wherever I can. I love crunch so I also have some sliced celery and English cucumbers in most of my pasta or chop salads. The English cucumbers are firmer so they withstand the sitting for a couple of days. English cukes also don’t have as thick of skins so I leave them on and just cut down quarters and chop. Sometimes I substitute chopped up mozzarella sticks for parmesan. I love the idea of this dressing since I usually just make up a vinaigrette. I like the idea of the added sweet tomato flavor.

  3. lized1

    I added cut up cheddar cheese in cubes,plum tomatoes, and good season’s zesty Italian dressing. I like my dressing bitey so add and extra tablespoon of vinegar.

  4. Talk of NJ

    I wanted to bring something quick and easy to our 4th of July cookout and I came across this recipe. This recipe was excellent. I used Wishbone House Italian (because I didn’t have sun-dried tomato) dressing, added a cucumber, used cherry tomatoes instead of a whole tomato, and added a little italian seasoning and it was GREAT.

  5. Jill C.

    this pasta salad is so good! yummy

see 4 more tweaks

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *