This Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad is full of your favorite Italian flavors like salami, tomatoes and olives. The pesto dressing makes this classic cold pasta salad dance in your mouth! This dish is ready in about 30 minutes and is sure to become a family favorite!
Why you’ll love it
It’s quick and easy! I love being able to get a yummy dinner on the table in 30 minutes don’t you? Whether you’ve had a long day at work or working from home, you’ll love how easy this dinner comes together.
It’s made with easy to find ingredients! It’s easy to keep these ingredients on hand so you can put a quick and simple together like this. If you have to make a quick run to the grocery store, you won’t have any trouble these these ingredients.
It’s full of Italian inspired flavor! The flavor in this salad is addicting. It’s savory with a just a hint of sweetness from the addition on honey (or sugar) in the dressing. Add the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella, the saltiness from the olives, and the smokiness from the salami and you’ve got a serious treat for your tastebuds.
Step by Step Instructions
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain in a colander then let cool on a large baking sheet fitted with parchment paper.
Make pesto dressing and set aside. Chop salami, olives, and tomatoes.
When pasta is cool, add to a large bowl. Add chopped ingredients and pesto dressing.
Gently toss pasta together with other ingredients. Add mozzarella balls. Toss to combine. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Expert tips and variations
Use any short pasta type like bowties, macaroni, or penne.
Use any variety of tomatoes. I love the sweetness of cherry and grape tomatoes, but you can use garden, Romas, or homegrown.
Use green or Kalamata olives instead of black.
If you don’t have fresh mozzarella, you can use part skim mozzarella (the kind that comes in a block). You can cube it or shred it. Feta is also a nice substitution.
Can I make this Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad ahead? You can make this recipe ahead two ways. One: you can make the entire recipe and store in in the refrigerator until ready to use. For best results, let it stand for about 30 minutes before serving. If you don’t have 30 minutes, just drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the salad and lightly toss. Two: make the salad but don’t add the dressing until ready to serve.
Double the pesto salad dressing to have over green or to freshen up the salad after being stored in the refrigerator.
More Salad recipes to try
Try this Italian Dressing Pasta Salad made with bottled Italian Dressing, green beans, and pine nuts.
This Mexican Pasta Salad is perfect when you’re craving that Tex Mex flavor.
This Greek Pasta Salad is one of the most popular recipes on The Travel Palate.
Rotisserie Chicken Salad is a favorite any time of the year.
Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 12 oz. package tri-colored spiral pasta
- 6-8 oz. salami sliced into thin strips
- 6 oz. can black olives halved or whole
- 10 oz. carton of grape or cherry tomatoes about 2 cups; quartered
- 20 small mozzarella balls whole or halved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon prepared pesto store bought or homemade
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch fresh ground pepper
- Bring a large stock pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside on a large baking sheet to cool.
- While pasta cooks, cut the salami, olives, tomatoes, and mozzarella balls.
- When pasta is cool, add it to a large bowl. Add salami, black olives, tomatoes, and mozzarella balls. Pour dressing over and toss to combine.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil to refreshen salad after being chilled.
- Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously. Alternatively, you can place all ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl, stirring to combine. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Set aside.