This easy pasta salad recipe is made with tricolor rotini, Italian dressing, mozzarella cheese, bell peppers, black olives, and cherry tomatoes. You’ll be eating this pasta salad all summer long because the variations are endless, plus it’s so easy to make!
I don’t know about you, but once May hits and school is almost over, I start getting the itch for slower days of no schedules, lots of pool time, and less time heating up my oven in the kitchen. Today I am sharing a recipe with you that will help you do just that. This Easy Pasta Salad is so easy to put together you will be in and out of your kitchen in no time and back out at the pool where we all want to be.
Easy pasta salad is full of colorful pasta and fresh veggies. It just screams summertime. Summertime means potlucks, BBQ’s, and pool parties. This Easy Pasta Salad is the best dish to bring to any one of those parties because it is so easy to put together and everyone loves it!
Recipe Questions to Answer:
Can you make this recipe a day ahead?
Yes! You can make pasta salad in advance which makes it perfect for those busy nights. Just keep the dressing separate and toss it in 10 minutes before you are ready to serve the pasta salad.
How long will Pasta Salad keep in the refrigerator?
When storing it in an airtight container, pasta salad will stay fresh for 2-3 days.
What goes with pasta salad?
This pasta salad with Italian dressing is the perfect companion for anything you put on the grill in my opinion. My Loaded Italian Sausage Burgers are a great alternative to a traditional hamburger and do not lack in flavor. Pair the sausage burgers with this salad and you have a home run of a meal. These Southwestern Boneless Grilled Pork Chops are juicy and tender. This would also be a great side dish for the pork chops. Grilled Ranch Chicken Drumsticks are also a great choice to serve with pasta salad. Which recipe sounds good to you?
Pasta Salad Recipe Variations
I enjoy this salad literally all summer long. I love making a big batch of it at the beginning of the week and then eat it all week long. It gets more and more flavorful as it sits in the refrigerator. Below are some of my favorite add-ins or variations.
- Pasta: While I love using tricolor rotini, some other good pasta choices are bow ties, macaroni, medium or small shells, orzo, and Radiatore pasta.
- Meat: rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken, mini pepperoni, salami, ham, and crispy bacon. Note that bacon is best added right before serving and when you know all of the salad is going to be eaten in one sitting like at pot lucks. This will ensure that the bacon doesn’t get soft or gummy.
- Vegetables: cucumbers (deseeded so that the pasta salad doesn’t get watery), blanched or roasted broccoli, green onions, artichoke hearts, frozen and thawed corn, sliced zucchini, sliced yellow squash, or red onions.
- Beans: garbanzo beans (my favorite!), red kidney beans, white beans, and black beans.
- Herbs: chopped fresh basil, parsley, dill, chives, and cilantro.
- Cheese: cubbed cheddar cheese, Havarti, or Monterey Jack cheese. Also, shredded cheese like Parmesan, crumbled feta cheese, and mini mozzarella cheese balls work well, too.
Easy Pasta Salad
- 1 pound tri-color rotini pasta
- 2 cups Italian Dressing
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese diced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 ounces can pitted and sliced black olives drained
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta as per the package instructions. Drain the pasta into a colander and then dump it back into the pot. Add 1 cup of the Italian dressing and stir until the pasta absorbs the dressing. Cover the pot with a lid and cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- In a large bowl add the pasta, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, black olives, green bell pepper and the remaining 1 cup of Italian dressing and toss gently, then refrigerate at least one hour.
- Season with salt and pepper, and then transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Serve.