easy Italian pasta salad

This Easy Italian Pasta Salad takes less than 20 minutes to make and is packed with spiral pasta, fresh broccoli, olives, pepperoni, cheese, and tossed with an Italian dressing. It makes for the perfect side dish for your next cookout or picnic, I promise it’s a crowd pleaser!

easy Italian pasta salad

This recipe really should be called “Mama Burkes Pasta Salad” and not Easy Italian Pasta Salad. For as long as I can remember my mom (Mama Burke) would make this pasta salad for parties and as a summer side dish for grilling. It always tasted so good! It has the perfect combo of flavors and made for the perfect side dish to chicken, burgers, hotdogs, sausage or just on its own! This pasta salad has now turned into my go-to side dish to make for parties and cookouts. It’s so quick and simple to make. Trust me you’ll be thanking me for the recipe this summer.

Ingredients for Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Pasta – I love the look of the tricolor rotini pasta in this salad but feel free to use which ever type of pasta you prefer. Fusilli, gemelli, penne, cavatappi or bow tie pasta would also work well for this recipe.

Broccoli – I use fresh, raw broccoli for this recipe. It adds such a nice crunch to the salad. Make sure to cut the broccoli into small bite size pieces.

Olives – This recipe calls for both black and green olives. If it were up to my husband, the recipe wouldn’t call for any olives. But I’m a huge fan of any type of olive and love how they add saltiness to the salad. Make sure to drain them both prior to adding them to the salad.

Pepperoni (or salami)– I like to buy a large stick of pepperoni, slice it and then slice those pieces again in half. Pepperoni adds great flavor to the salad.

Cheese – Doesn’t everything taste better with cheese? I’m a huge fan of sharp cheddar cheese in this salad but other great options would be a block of mild cheddar cheese or a block of mozzarella.

Italian Dressing – For this recipe I go for the full fat Italian dressing but if you’d like to cut the calories and fat a little you could use lite Italian dressing. I’m a fan of a simple store-bought Italian dressing, use your favorite kind. Keep it as simple as you can.

Salt & Pepper – to taste.

Optional, Parmesan cheese – Sometimes but not all the time I’ll use about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese just to add some extra flavor to the salad. Again, completely optional.

ingredients for italian pasta salad

How to Make Easy Italian Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is as simple as it gets. Basically throw everything together in a large bowl.

  1. Boil the Water for the Pasta – Don’t waste time while you wait for the water to boil, start prepping the other ingredients for the recipe.
  2. Chop Your Ingredients – Chop the broccoli into small bite size pieces, the cheese into cubes and the pepperoni into half-moons. Once everything is chopped drain the black and green olives.
  3. Cook the Pasta – Once the water is boiling add the pasta. Cook until barley al dente. Drain. Then rinse with cold water. Rinsing the pasta helps to stop the cooking process and also prevents the noodles from sticking together.
  4. Toss Everything together – In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and the remaining ingredients, broccoli, black and green olives, pepperoni, cheese, and Italian dressing. Toss until everything is evenly coated.
  5. Chill & Serve – It can be served right away or made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. Add more dressing if needed as the noodles may soak up the dressing overnight. Perfect for cook outs, potlucks, side dish for grilling or just on its own, the ideas are endless!
Italian pasta salad

How Long Does Pasta Salad Last?

  • Your pasta salad will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  • Pasta salad can be made the day before an event and stored in the refrigerator and is best served within 24 hours for the freshest flavor.
easy Italian pasta salad

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

This Easy Italian Pasta Salad takes less than 20 minutes to make and is packed with spiral pasta, fresh broccoli, olives, pepperoni, cheese, and tossed with an Italian dressing. It makes for the perfect side dish for your next cookout or picnic, I promise it's a crowd pleaser!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 16
Calories 348 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz. rotini pasta tricolor
  • 4 cups broccoli cut into small pieces
  • 1 can black olives drained (6oz)
  • 1 can green olives drained (7oz)
  • 8 oz. pepperoni slices cut in half
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese block, cubed
  • 1 cup Italian dressing

Instructions
 

  • Boil the water for the pasta. Don't waste time while you wait for the water to boil, start prepping the other ingredients for the recipe.
  • Chop your ingredients. Chop the broccoli into small bite size pieces, the cheese into cubes and the pepperoni into half-moons. Once everything is chopped drain the black and green olives.
  • Cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling add the pasta. Cook until barley al dente. Drain. Then rinse with cold water. Rinsing the pasta helps to stop the cooking process and also prevents the noodles from sticking together.
  • Toss everything together. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and the remaining ingredients, broccoli, black and green olives, pepperoni, cheese, and Italian dressing. Toss until everything is evenly coated.
  • Chill & Serve. It can be served right away or made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. Add more dressing if needed as the noodles may soak up the dressing overnight. Perfect for cook outs, potlucks, side dish for grilling or just on its own, the ideas are endless!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 11gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 1232mgPotassium: 218mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 481IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 147mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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