Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Pasta salad has forever been my go-to side dish! This version is based on my favorite local Italian chopped salad, which is filled with genoa salami, fresh mozzarella, pepperoncini peppers, olives, lots of dried oregano, and a zesty red wine vinaigrette. This easy-to-make, chilled pasta salad is great for make-ahead lunches, picnics or a simple side dish at your next backyard bash!

a large white bowl of Italian Pasta Salad with rotini pasta, olives, salami, mozzarella, cucumber and tomatoes

Everyone needs a great pasta salad in their recipe repertoire and this one is my go-to! This cool and refreshing salad is a perfect side dish or lunch. If you’re planning on serving it for a party make it the day before and let the flavors marinate overnight.

If you love this pasta salad recipe you’re also going to want to check out Spring Couscous Salad with Feta and Avocado and Farro Salad with Crushed Olives and Fennel!

Ingredients You’ll Need

The best part of this recipe is the ingredients are VERSATILE! Feel free to swap out your preferred cheese or veggies. If you don’t like olives or tomatoes.. feel free to omit them! If you’d like to make this pasta salad vegetarian you can leave out the salami.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Italian Pasta Salad:

  • Salad: cooked pasta, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, salami, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, radicchio, red onion, pepperoncini, and olives.
  • Dressing: red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, and olive oil.
Italian Pasta Salad ingredients in individual bowls, olives, pasta, radicchio, tomatoes, salami, cucumber, garbanzo beans

Recipe Step by Step

Step 1. Make the Dressing

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Then add in the chopped onion. Let this sit for 10 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion.

Step 2. Toss

Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

a metal mixing bowl with vinaigrette, a glass mixing bowl with Italian Pasta Salad ingredients and another bowl with Italian Pasta Salad tossed with dressing

Step 4. Serve

Taste and season with more salt, pepper, olive oil or vinegar as needed. Divide between bowls and serve.

FAQs & Tips and Tricks:

For the best flavor let your pasta salad marinate.

After the pasta salad ingredients are tossed with the dressing cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld and the pasta to absorb the dressing for a super-flavorful salad.

What should you serve with Italian Pasta Salad?

This pasta salad is a great side dish for a BBQ or picnic. Serve it alongside Oven Roasted BBQ Salmon, Grilled Peel, and Eat Shrimp or Grilled Chicken with Marinated Tomatoes.

a white bowl filled with Italian Pasta Salad on a blue background

Check Out More Great Recipes

I love to hear from readers and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. If you make this recipe be sure to leave a comment and/or give it a rating! Don’t forget to follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest updates!

a large white bowl of Italian Pasta Salad with rotini pasta, olives, salami, mozzarella, cucumber and tomatoes

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

This chilled Italian pasta salad is filled with crisp veggies, salami, cheese, peppers, olives and tossed with a zesty red wine vinaigrette!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 748kcal



  • 1 lb short-cut pasta like fusilli, rotini, bowtie, etc
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1 English cucumber diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 head radicchio or treviso thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c sliced pepperoncini
  • 1/2 c sliced olives Castelvetrano, Cerignola, or Kalamata
  • 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz mini mozzarella balls drained
  • 1/4 lb sliced Genoa salami cut into strips


  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/4 c dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 1/2 c olive oil


  • Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain it, toss it with some olive oil, and set it aside to cool.
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl then add in the chopped red onion. Let the onions marinate in the dressing for ten minutes.
  • In a large bowl toss the cooled pasta with the rest of the salad ingredients, the dressing, and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Taste and season the pasta one last time before serving. After marinating it may need just a little more salt, olive oil, or vinegar. Divide between bowls and serve.


Ingredient Notes:
  • Pasta: any short cut pasta is great for this salad: like fusilli, rotini, bowtie, macaroni, penne etc.
  • Mozzarella: If you can’t find mini mozzarella balls just buy any fresh mozzarella and cube it into small pieces. Sliced provolone or crumbled feta cheese will also work 
  • Salami: For a vegetarian pasta salad you can omit the salami.

What should you serve with Italian Pasta Salad?

Storage and Serving:
  • Italian pasta salad will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to four days. 


Calories: 748kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 581mg | Potassium: 528mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 404IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Super yummy and filling pasta salad. So easy to make and this recipe makes a pretty big batch which will last you for a couple of days!