This Italian Pasta Salad is loaded with salami, pepperoni, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers, olives, basil, and tossed in an easy Italian dressing!
I’ve been on a roll with pasta salads lately! I love to make them for picnics and to keep in the refrigerator to grab for a quick lunch! They’re also great to grab to take on a picnic to the park or beach which is something my family and I have been doing a lot of lately. We’ll wake up and just head out and go on an adventure. I’ll pack some things up in our cooler and we’re out the door! Having things like this Italian Pasta Salad on hand is great for when we get to our destination.
Last week we hit Fort Niagara and had a beautiful picnic overlooking Lake Ontario. You could see Toronto in the distance. It was the perfect setting for a picnic and the weather couldn’t have been any nicer. It was the perfect setting for a picnic before we toured Fort Niagara. I could have sat there all day and just relaxed.
This Italian Pasta Salad SO good! It’s loaded with yumminess in every bite! Seriously this is one pasta salad I urge you to try! It’s got everything you love in an Italian Pasta Salad including pasta (obviously!), chopped salami, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers, black olives and freshly chopped basil. To top it off it’s tossed in an easy Italian dressing which compliments this pasta salad so well.
While you could use any store-bought Italian dressing I really suggest making this one. Store-bought Italian dressings can vary in flavor and that’s why I created one specifically for this salad. It really takes just a few minutes to whip up and is so good in this salad or to toss in any leafy green salad as well!
Tips for the perfect Italian Pasta Salad
- I do recommend making the dressing ahead of time so the flavors can really blend together. I make it the day ahead of time and when I’m ready to add the dressing I give it a good shake and it’s ready to go.
- Like any pasta salad it’s best to add the dressing before serving or you could also add a little and reserve some of the dressing to add right before serving.
- Chill the salad before adding the dressing really helps too. I like to chill the salad after I add all the ingredients before I toss it with the dressing. I think it just helps hold the dressing better.
- I usually shake salad dressings in a mason jar but for this one I use a food processor to really blend the flavors together. I’ve tried it both ways and it really makes a difference!
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound penne pasta or similar
- 3 slices Genoa salami cut 1/2 inch thick pieces and cubed
- 1 cup halved pepperoni slices
- 1 cup mild banana pepper slices, roughly chopped
- 1 cup halved black olives
- 8 ounce mozzarella, cubed
- 1/2 cup julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch red pepper flakes optional
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Drain under cold water. Set aside to cool.
Once pasta has cooled, add pasta to a large bowl along with remaining salad ingredients.
If not serving the salad right away, chill salad until ready to serve.
Add all the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor.
While machine is running slowly stream in olive oil.
Continue to blend until combined.
Season dressing with salt and pepper.
When ready to serve toss pasta salad with dressing.
Season pasta salad with additional salt and pepper if necessary to taste.
I recommend making dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to really blend together. When ready to serve pour most of the dressing over salad. Toss to coat. Add additional dressing if needed. I like to reserve a little dressing in case of leftovers. Store leftover salad in refrigerator. Add reserved dressing to leftovers if needed or just drizzle with a little olive oil if you used all of the dressing if needed.
I use California Sun-Dry Julienne Cut Sun-Dried Tomatoes for this recipe that you can find at most grocery stores.