This zesty cold pasta salad is a refreshing side that complements many meals! It quick and easy recipe to prepare and can be made a full day before you need it making it the perfect pasta salad when you're in a hurry!
Why Choose This Recipe
- Easy recipe made from simple ingredients for a flavorful italian pasta salad!
- Perfect side dish for a summer bbq, potlucks, and family gatherings!
- Can be made a day ahead for a quick side for the next day!
- Italian Dressing - Olive Garden brand dressing is preferable but other brands may be used. You can buy it or Make Your Own. I've used Kraft's zesty italian dressing too!
- Rotini - Tri color, regular or even spinach rotini works great!
- Pepperoni - If you can't find the minis just cut up regular sized pepperoni into bite sized pieces.
- Mozzarella - Cubed fresh mozzarella cheese off the block works too!
- Black Olives - You can used a can or two of pre-sliced olives.
- Green Bell Pepper - I've substituted other colors of bell peppers or even done a mix of different kinds.
Step by Step Instructions
- Cook garden rotini al dente according to package directions.
- Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Dump the cooled pasta in a large bowl.
- Slice, dice and measure the other ingredients.
- Add mozzarella slices to the mixing bowl.
- Add chopped green peppers.
- Add chopped red onion.
- Add sliced olives.
- Add mini Pepperoni.
- Add chopped roasted red pepper.
- Mix well.
- Pour ⅔rds the Italian dressing over the pasta salad.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container.
- Put in the fridge to allow all the delicious flavors blend and pour other half of dressing over the salad right before serving.
- You can garnish you're cold salad with fresh parsley or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Recipe FAQs and Expert Tips
Yes, yes, yes. Rinsing the hot pasta in cold water until it's cooled stops the cooking process. No one wants mushy overcooked pasta salad.
Yes, you can! I usually make this one a full day ahead of serving so the ingredients have plenty of time to blend their flavors!
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This zesty cold pasta salad is a refreshing side that complements many meals! It quick and easy recipe to prepare and can be made a full day before you need it!
- 1 (16 oz.) Box Garden Rotini
- 2 (3.8 oz) Cans Sliced Olives
- ½ a (5 oz.) Bag of Mini Pepperoni
- 3 Quality Mozzarella String cheese Sticks, sliced into thin discs
- ¾ -1 cup Chopped Green Bell Pepper
- ½-¾ cup Chopped Red Onion
- ½ to a whole (16 oz) Jar of Roasted Red Peppers, chopped up
- 1 (16 oz.) Bottle of Olive Garden Italian Dressing
- Chop, slice and dice the ingredients while you bring a pot of water to a boil to cook your pasta.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Put the cooked rotini, sliced olives, ½ the bag of pepperoni, mozzarella discs, and chopped green pepper, red onions and roasted red peppers in a large mixing bowl. Toss to mix.
- Pour about ⅔s of the Italian Dressing over the pasta salad. Toss to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to blend.
- Before serving pour the remaining italian dressing over the pasta salad and mix well.
- I like to make this salad a full day before we are going to eat it to allow plenty of time for the flavors to blend. I also, flip the bowl upside down, leave it for a couple hours and then flip it back right side up. I do this a few times occasionally whenever it's convenient. I do this because the dressing will make its way to the bottom of the pasta salad and flipping the bowl over and back a few times evenly distributes the dressing.
Keywords: zesty italian pasta salad, pasta salad, cold italian pasta salad
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