Every home cook needs an easy Pasta Salad Recipe! This dish is so easy, goes with everything, and can be made with whatever is in your fridge!
It is a great way to create a meal out of leftovers and can be served as a side or a meal on its own!
Why You’ll Love This Pasta Salad Recipe
- Prep is quick, chop the veggies while the pasta cooks and stir it all together.
- Use anything you have in the fridge, leftover meats or roasted veggies, rotisserie chicken; anything goes!
- This simple pasta salad recipe goes from season to season using whatever is fresh and local.
- Dressing can be any bottled dressing (from a vinaigrette to ranch) or a homemade favorite.
- Make-ahead up to 4 hours and keeps well for lunches all week.
What’s in Pasta Salad?
PASTA: Pick your pasta! A medium pasta works well for this recipe, try rotini, penne, or bowties.
VEGGIES: Go for a combination of colors and textures. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and green onions are favorites.
PROTEIN: Ham is a mild, slightly salty flavor that goes with any kind of dressing. Small cubes of salami and cheese work well, too.
FLAVOR BOOSTERS: You’ll want to add something with some bold flavor to the salad. Olives, pickles, bacon bits, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, bold cheeses, or a scoop of pesto or tapenade all work well.
How to Make Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is a quick and filling meal.
- Cook & drain pasta.
- Chop remaining ingredients. Place in a bowl.
- Toss with the dressing.
- Chill up to 2 hours before serving. (Per recipe below)
What Goes with Pasta Salad?
Pasta salad recipes are great because they go with almost everything!
Pasta salad tastes best when it’s cold so keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cooked pasta doesn’t freeze well, so it’s best to make a new batch each time, but it’s so easy anyway, and fresh is best!
Perfect Pasta Salads
- Classic Macaroni Salad – with easy & creamy dressing
- Easy Greek Pasta Salad – so fresh & colorful
- Italian Pasta Salad – party favorite
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad – the original recipe!
- Antipasto Pasta Salad – a great make-ahead dish
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad – perfect for a crowd
Did you make this Pasta Salad Recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Easy Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 pound medium pasta such as rotini, farfalle or penne
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese cubed
- 1 cup chopped ham or salami
- 1 english cucumber chopped
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- ¼ cup black olives sliced, or to taste
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup Italian dressing homemade or store-bought, or your favorite dressing
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water.
- While pasta is cooking, prepare vegetables.
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)