Recipes, Side Dishes

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

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Zesty Italian Pasta Salad is the ultimate side dish for parties, dinners, and potlucks! Made with al dente rotini pasta, red onion, bell peppers, black olives, parmesan cheese, fresh cucumber, grape tomatoes, banana peppers, and zesty Italian salad dressing.

bowl with zesty italian salad
Easy Italian Pasta Salad with fresh ingredients.

This zesty pasta salad is a staple at my house! I will often make a large batch and feast on it for days. It’s also the perfect pasta salad when you are entertaining too. The best part is that it is practically effortless to make and is packed full of delicious flavors.

Next time you are looking for something fabulous, be sure to try out my Baked Cheese Ravioli Casserole, Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, and No Boil Sausage Stuffed Manicotti.

Why You’ll Love This Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

  • Easy recipe
  • Cold salad
  • Great for parties
  • Filled with fresh veggies
  • Simple Ingredients
  • Summer BBQ favorite
  • Tender pasta
bowl filled with italian salad
Made with simple ingredients.

Salad Ingredients

  • Pasta
  • Red Onions
  • Black or Green Olives
  • Red or Green Bell Pepper
  • Fresh Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Banana Peppers
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Zesty Italian Dressing
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh Herbs, optional

How To Make This Zesty Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water.

ingredients to make zesty pasta salad
Easy to follow directions!

Step 2: Make the pasta salad

Combine the vegetables, seasonings, zesty dressing, and pasta in a large mixing bowl. Mix together well and serve immediately or chill until you are ready to serve.

zesty italian pasta salad in a wooden bowl
Goes great with your favorite meals or as a side dish for parties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use different pasta?

Yep! It’s find to use your favorite pasta. I recommend trying color pasta, pasta shapes, or anything else you have on hand. Just be sure not to overcook it, or this summer pasta salad will become mushy as it sits.

Do I have to use store bought salad dressings?

I like to use store bought dressing, but it’s fine to use homemade zesty Italian dressing if that is what you prefer! I am often in a hurry and like to grab a bottle at the grocery store, but there is no wrong answer here.

closeup of italian pasta salad
Simple to customize!

What kind of herbs go well in this cold pasta salad recipe?

Green onions, fresh parsley, or oregano are all great options. A little bit of dill will also go great in this easy pasta salad too. I recommend adding the herbs then tasting it to see if it needs more. Don’t go overboard when adding the herbs.

What else can I add to this flavorful pasta salad?

Fresh mozzarella pearls would be delicious! Another option is to add some artichoke hearts, tricolored pasta, or mushrooms. Feel free to play with the recipe until it’s the perfect delicious zesty Italian pasta salad for YOU!

easy italian pasta salad in a wooden bowl

More Easy Side Dishes

wooden bowl with pasta salad

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad is the ultimate side dish for parties, dinners, and potlucks! Made with al dente rotini pasta, red onion, bell peppers, black olives, parmesan cheese, fresh cucumber, grape tomatoes, banana peppers, and zesty Italian salad dressing.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: italian pasta salad, pasta salad, side dish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 247kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rotini pasta or your favorite pasta noodles
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1 bell pepper any color
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes grape or cherry
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 cup banana peppers
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 bottle zesty italian dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley or your favorite herbs, optional

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water.
  • Combine the vegetables, seasonings, zesty dressing, and pasta in a large mixing bowl. Mix together well and serve immediately or chill until you are ready to serve.

Notes

Feel free to add in mozzarella balls, artichoke hearts, or mushrooms. 

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 580mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 730IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 5mg
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