A light  Italian Pasta salad recipe  loaded with fresh veggies, fresh herbs, and coated in an easy homemade Italian salad dressing.”

Visual learner? Watch me make this Italian Pasta Salad from start to finish!

I’m blessed to have grown up in a pretty diverse Southern city. My neighborhood consisted of a melting pot of different ethnic & religious groups, gays & lesbians.

The church I attended was no different. Although it had a particular denomination, I think anybody could join, no matter their lifestyle, beliefs, etc. The people were lovely. But all that diversity made for some very entertaining moments.

I could seriously write a comedy series on all the different “characters” in that place. Today, we’re going to talk about, let’s call her  Miss Jane.

Miss Jane was a fiery, Catholic Italian grandmother with a thick New York accent. You never knew if she was gonna cuss you out (yes, in church) or say, “Come here dawlin give me a hug. You’re so thin are you eating?”. 

You also never knew if she was really angry or just talking loud and passionately.

Italian pasta salad recipe

She had this younger guy named Randy that helped her out a lot.

She would cuss poor Randy out as if cussing had points. Like seriously, yall, I never knew you could string all the cuss words into one sentence until I met Miss Jane. She is the real MVP in my book!

For the most part, Randy would bare her brutal insults out of respect, but once in a blue moon, he would snap and let her have it in his own heavy New York accent.

I’m seriously laughing while writing this, thinking about the time she blasted Randy to hell and back for not getting her wheelchair up the ramp correctly and then, in that same breath, said: “Oh and happy birthday, by the way.”

Bring on the Italian Pasta Salad!

Every day after church, we had lunch. Miss Jane would always bring the most delicious-looking authentic Italian pasta salad. The bold fragrance of garlic, basil, and red onions would fill the room, and people would rave about how fresh it tasted.

I never got the try Miss Jane’s Italian Pasta Salad.


Italian pasta salad recipe

Well, one day, I happily loaded that Italian pasta salad on my plate, and I was so ready to give my taste buds a party! That’s when my sister said, “You’re gonna eat Miss Jane’s pasta salad? You know she eats out the bowl, right?”

@#*$@#*$^ !!! @*#^$@#^$!!!!!

Oh well, from that point on, I was left to admire the beauty of that Italian pasta salad. Man, was it torture to my greedy, foodie-kid soul seeing all that fresh basil, pearl mozzarella, pepperoni, peppers, and olives and not being able to touch it. Cause your girl, don’t do that shared eating business. At. All.

Nowadays, I make my own version of that gorgeous Italian pasta salad that looks just like Miss Jane’s. I think I might like it even more than my Spaghetti pasta salad. Maybe. I’m not sure if it tastes the same, but my oh my is it GUUUUUUUUD.

It has a sense of elegance about it and would be great for a bridal shower or wedding. One guy said, “This is pasta salad for adults!” Ha! I’d have to agree, although my little Ethan loves it!!

easy Italian pasta salad

What is Italian Pasta Salad made of?

Normally Italian Pasta salad contains pasta, olive, pepperoni/salami, fresh mozzarella,  tomatoes, fresh basil, and banana peppers, to name a few ingredients.

 Of course, you could use more or less depending on what you like. All of those yummy ingredients get coated in Italian dressing. It’s a delicious dish that works as a side dish or main meal.

What I adore about this Italian pasta salad is that you can taste ALL of the ingredients. The homemade Italian dressing is bold with a zesty bite, yet it doesn’t overtake everything like the store-bought version tends to do.

You can seriously taste the sweetness of the tomatoes, the tartness of the olives and banana peppers, the coolness of the pearl mozzarella, the spiciness of the pepperoni, and the savoriness of the fresh basil..mercy.

To have so many bold players, it’s a surprisingly light-tasting pasta salad! Everything gets along so well.

Make it. You deserve it.

How to make Italian Pasta Salad

(see full recipe at the bottom of post)



  •  extra-virgin olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  •  lemon juice
  •  garlic, minced
  • red bell peppers, minced
  •  white onions, minced
  •  parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Italian seasonings
  •  granulated sugar
  •  salt
  • black pepper


  • rotini pasta (prepared al dente, drained, and rinsed with cold water
  • sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
  •  black olives
  •  pepperoni, diced
  •  banana peppers, diced
  • red bell peppers, diced
  • green bell peppers, diced
  • fresh basil leaves (use small leaves)
  • Fresh Mozzarella pearls
  • parsley


  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a glass jar.
  2. Shake vigorously to incorporate the ingredients. Store in the fridge until ready to use (Refrigerate overnight if possible. (flavor increases greatly overnight)
  3. To prepare the pasta, place the cooked and cooled rotini pasta in a large bowl. 
  4. Stir in tomatoes, black olive, pepperoni, banana peppers, red bell peppers, & green bell peppers in a large bowl.
  5. Pour on the desired amount of dressing and toss to combine. ( I use it all!)
  6. Stir in basil and mozzarella.
  7. Add parsley for more color if desired.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. (pasta will absorb most of the dressing if refrigerated overnight)
  9. Toss before serving.

Common Questions

Can I use different pasta in this Italian Pasta Salad? Sure, can! Farfalle, penne, and fusilli are great options. Just be sure to cook it al dente according to the package instructions.

What are some other pasta salad ingredients can I add to this recipe? Feel feel to use salami, roasted red bell peppers, red onions, or any vegetables of your choice.

How do you store Italian pasta salad? Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 Can I use store-bought Italian dressing? Yep, you sure can!

italian pasta salad recipe

Get the Recipe: Italian Pasta Salad

4.15 from 14 ratings
Authentic Italian pasta salad with homemade dressing! Tangy, filling and refreshing!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people


Italian Dressing

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red bell peppers, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white onions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • teaspoons salt
  • ¼ -½ teaspoon black pepper


  • 3 cups rotini pasta, (prepared al dente, drained and rinsed with cold water)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup black olives
  • ¾ cup pepperoni, diced
  • 3 tablespoons banana peppers, diced
  • ¼ cup red bell peppers, diced
  • ½ cup green bell peppers, diced
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, use small leaves
  • ½ cup Fresh Mozzarella pearls
  • parsley


  • Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a glass jar.
    ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1 tablespoon red bell peppers, 1 tablespoon white onions, 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, 2½ teaspoons salt, ¼ -½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Shake well to incorporate the ingredients. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Refrigerate overnight if possible. (flavor increases greatly overnight)
  • To prepare the pasta salad, place the cooked and cooled rotini pasta in a large bowl.
    3 cups rotini pasta
  • Stir in tomatoes, black olives, pepperoni, banana peppers, red bell peppers, & green bell peppers in a large bowl.
    1 cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup black olives, ¾ cup pepperoni, 3 tablespoons banana peppers, ¼ cup red bell peppers, ½ cup green bell peppers
  • Pour on the desired amount of dressing and toss to combine. ( I use it all!)
  • Stir in basil and mozzarella.
    ½ cup fresh basil leaves, ½ cup Fresh Mozzarella pearls
  • Add parsley for more color if desired.
  • Refrigerate overnight if possible.
  • Toss and serve!



I cook my pasta until al dente and then immediately rinse with cool water.
Feel free to up the amount or decrease the amount of any pasta salad add-ins!
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Author: Divas Can Cook
Serving: 0g, Calories: 0kcal, Carbohydrates: 0g, Protein: 0g, Fat: 0g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Potassium: 0mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Vitamin A: 0IU, Vitamin C: 0mg, Calcium: 0mg, Iron: 0mg
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