Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad is chock full of all your favorite old world flavors like salami, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and olives. It’s loved by kids and adults alike and is perfect for potlucks, picnics, lunch or dinner.
The weather is heating up around here and all I can think about is salad–green salads, quinoa salads, and this Easy Italian Pasta Salad! This recipe is an oldie but a goodie, but the reason it has stood the test of time is because it’s so easy to make and captures some of my family’s favorite flavors. Once you give it a try, I’m sure your family will agree!
tips for making Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad
- Let the pasta cool before adding the cheese, otherwise the heat will melt it.
- You can substitute fusilli pasta with farfalle (bow-tie) or cavatappi (short spirals). I like tri-colored for the variation, but regular looks and tastes great too.
- The salad is best after it’s had a chance to marry flavors- I like to let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
Salami, mozzarella, black olives, and tomatoes are my favorite ingredients, but you can add some of your favorites too. If you love red peppers, add those. Or maybe you love the bite of red onion–add some that has been sliced paper thin. Prefer green olives? Try those instead of black, or do a mixture of both.
does this recipe require special equipment?
You can make Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad with tools you already have in your kitchen. Mason jars are a must for homemade dressings. Large stainless steel mixing bowls are great too because they’re easy to clean and are practically indestructible.
Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 12 oz. package tri-colored spiral pasta
- 6-8 oz. salami sliced into thin strips
- 1 6 oz. can black olives, halved
- 1 10.5 oz carton of grape or cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups), quartered
- 20 small mozzarella balls halved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
- 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 to cool.
- While pasta cools, make the dressing. 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.
- When pasta is cool, add salami, black olives, tomatoes, and mozzarella balls. Pour dressing over and toss to combine.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Best served in about an hour. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.
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