This perfect Pasta Salad is my favorite summer side dish, but it is also delicious all year. It’s so easy to make, and it’s always a success at potlucks, barbecues, and parties. It also makes an excellent workday lunch. Pasta Salad was one of the first dishes I learnt to make. I guess the major reason I tried pasta salad so early on was because it is so simple. To cooked pasta, add your favorite veggies, fruits, spices, and meats (if wanted), mix everything together, refrigerate for a few minutes, and voilà! All year long, you have the ideal side or main dish for every meal. A delectable Pasta Salad is wonderful for entertaining since it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, and I think it becomes even better when it’s all left to mix for a bit.
Pasta Salad Ingredients:
- 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.
How To Make The Best Pasta Salad:
- 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.
- Blend up the dressing, or shake together in a jar.
- 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.
- Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I think it actually tastes best the day AFTER you make it.