Summer is the season for simple cooking, make ahead meals, and anything cool. That’s why I’m delighted to share my recipe for Italian Pasta Salad with you. It’s been a long-time family favorite and I’ve lost track of the number of potlucks, family dinners, and graduation parties it has appeared at.
The best compliment came from my teenaged nephew who said to his mom, “Can you make that pasta salad like Aunt Karen makes?”
Italian Pasta Salad is a dish that’s meant to be shared.
The recipe makes a lot, and you can easily portion it out to share with others. Why not make up a batch, buy some disposable containers, and bless an elderly friend or stressed-out single mom with this all-in-one summer salad?
All the amounts are easily adjustable so you can scale back or make a bunch more if you like. I admit, I add until it “looks right.” You can also vary the ingredients, depending on what you have on hand and what your group likes. You can use:
- Ham instead of salami
- Bowtie or penne pasta instead of rotini
- Cheddar Cheese or Swiss instead of Provolone
- Cut up cauliflower or broccoli
- Strips of red onion
Disclaimer: I adapted my recipe from the 1993 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. I hope you’ll adapt it further and most of all, I hope you pass forward the blessing of this simple main dish salad.
What else can you take to that summer pot luck? Try my recipe for Mayonnaise Cake, another easy to fix ahead recipe.
Italian Pasta Salad
- 8 oz rotini pasta
- 1 cup cubed Provolone cheese
- 4-6 slices salami
- 1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 1/2 cup chopped green or red pepper
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1 small carrot, peeled and slice thin
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried basil, crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into small wedges
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta.Rinse with cold water; drain again.
- For salad: In a bowl, toss together pasta, cubed cheese,salami, zucchini, green or red pepper, olives, and Parmesan cheese.
- For dressing: Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, and pepper. Beat well with a fork till well blended. Pour over salad. Toss to coat. Cover; chill 4 to 24hours.
- To serve: Add tomatoes; toss gently.