Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

This fresh, flavorful zesty Italian pasta salad is loaded with all the favorites – mozzarella, olives, tomatoes, salami, and of course, pasta!

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Summer is almost here which means it’s salad season! While I love a good green salad, I have to say, pasta salad is where it’s at!

This may seem like your basic Italian pasta salad, but I promise you it tastes soooo much better. I’ve added a few key ingredients to really make the flavors pop. I’m talking home grown parsley, shallot, and some freshly ground black pepper. And then of course, there’s the dressing! 👌

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Sadly this is one of the last few recipes with dairy in it that I’ve saved to share on the blog. That means from now until August (*hopefully* not until November) I’ll be using a lot more coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil.

Not to worry though, I’ve been perfecting a variety of recipes and I’m really excited to share them with you.

Think cookies, cake, brownies, salad, chicken, and pork. You won’t miss the dairy (or soy), I promise! These have all been tested and given two big thumbs up by family and friends. They use simple, easy to find ingredients and the directions are straightforward- not overly complicated. 🙌

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Kind of like this recipe. It comes together in just 25 minutes. While the pasta is boiling/chilling you can prep the remaining ingredients. Toss it all in a big bowl and it’s ready!

Let’s talk ingredients first. When it comes to choosing the pasta, make sure to grab a short noodle. I generally prefer bowties, rotini, shells or penne for pasta salad. These noodles are easy to eat and hold the dressing better than their longer counterparts.

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad | lifemadesimplebakes.com

One of the main reasons this pasta salad is so flavorful is the dressing. Instead of grabbing a generic bottle of salad dressing, I love to use the good stuff. This post isn’t sponsored or anything, I just LOVE Cindy’s Kitchen. These dressings taste fresh and aren’t loaded with a bunch of additives like the shelved kinds.

You will notice a difference in taste depending on the quality of dressing you use, so choose wisely!

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Speaking of choosing wisely, grab quality salami as well. I prefer Creminelli, Columbus or Boar’s Head brand if I can find them.

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Toss everything together with minced shallot, freshly chopped parsley, coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and the dressing. You can enjoy it right away OR store it in the refrigerator overnight. The salad will marinate in the dressing and whoa will it be delicious!

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad | lifemadesimplebakes.com

If you’re looking for a fresh, flavorful pasta salad to take to a summer BBQ, this is it!! Filling enough to eat as a meal or perfect as a side. Try it and let me know what you think!

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

This fresh, flavorful zesty Italian pasta salad is loaded with all the favorites – mozzarella, olives, tomatoes, salami, and of course, pasta!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bowties, rotini, shells, or penne
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 oz. can whole olives, halved
  • 8 oz. mini mozzarella balls
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan
  • 3 oz. salami (traditional dry), cut in thirds or quartered
  • 3 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 c. favorite vinaigrette  (more if needed)

Optional add-ins:

  • 1/4 c. sliced roasted red bell peppers
  • 1/4 c. chopped marinated artichokes
  • 4 pepperoncini, seeds and stem removed, sliced into thin rings

Directions:

  1. Bring a large stockpot filled 2/3 of the way with water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the package’s directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Refrigerate while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss with dressing.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.
All images and text ©.