Italian Pasta Salad – A Cozy Kitchen

Packed with everything from sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy Persian cucumbers, silky fresh mozzarella, briny kalamata olives, and your favorite pasta, this Chopped Italian Pasta Salad is sure to be a picnic staple. Easy to make and even easier to customize, this dish is an excellent side for summer grilling, potlucks, and picnics alike. 

Italian Chopped Pasta Salad

WHAT IS IN AN ITALIAN PASTA SALAD?

A Italian Pasta Salad has all the familiar flavors of an Italian chopped salad: tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella, olives, etc. but it’s paired with pasta and tossed in a zesty, bright dressing. T

his means you can make it ahead, yes, toss it in the dressing, and pack it for your favorite picnic or potluck. It also helps with meal prepping for a party the night before. If you’ve never had a chopped salad, it is what it sounds like. Lots of yummy bits all chopped up and mixed together. It is super hearty thanks to things like salami and mozzarella, but it’s easy to prepare–basically, the only thing you need to cook is the pasta. 

Toppings for Italian Chopped Pasta Salad

HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN PASTA SALAD

  1. Cook your pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander and toss with olive oil before setting aside. 
  2. Make the dressing by mixing the garlic with the red wine vinegar then whisking in the mustard, oregano, salt, and sugar. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.`
  3. Assemble the salad in a large bowl, combining the pasta with the tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, cucumbers, mozzarella, provolone, salami, red onion, and parsley. Drizzle the dressing all over and give it another toss. Serve it at room temp or store it in the fridge until ready to serve.
Italian Chopped Salad Dressing

CAN I MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME?

You can absolutely make this dish in advance. I like to make it a few hours before serving, so it has time to chill and let the flavors really soak into all the pasta and the toppings.

That said, it can be made right before serving and served at room temperature. This dish is an excellent leftover and you can spruce it up by adding more olive oil or vinegar as needed. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Serving of Italian Chopped Pasta Salad

Tips and Tricks to this Italian Pasta Salad

  1. Can you freeze this dish? I would say no. I think pasta bakes are wonderful to freeze but this one isn’t saucy enough to freeze.
  2. How long is pasta salad with Italian dressing good for? I ate this for three days straight. I would say 3 to 4 days is the max it’s good, when stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
  3. Can you make this dish vegetarian? Absolutely. To do so, just skip the salami and there you have it. Simply leave it out or add something in its place. You could add a vegetable like roasted broccoli, artichokes or asparagus.
Italian Chopped Pasta Salad

HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN PASTA SALAD

  1. Cook your pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander and toss with olive oil before setting aside. 
  2. Make the dressing by mixing the garlic with the red wine vinegar then whisking in the mustard, oregano, salt, and sugar. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.`
  3. Assemble the salad in a large bowl, combining the pasta with the tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, cucumbers, mozzarella, provolone, salami, red onion, and parsley. Drizzle the dressing all over and give it another toss. Serve it at room temp or store it in the fridge until ready to serve.
Italian Chopped Pasta Ssald

If you make this Italian Pasta Salad, let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more recipes to pair this with? Here are a few favorites:

Italian Chopped Pasta Ssald

Print Recipe

Italian Chopped Pasta Salad

Packed with everything from sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy Persian cucumbers, silky fresh mozzarella, briny kalamata olives, and your favorite pasta, this Chopped Italian Pasta Salad is sure to be a picnic staple. Easy to make and even easier to customize, this dish is an excellent side for summer grilling, potlucks, and picnics alike.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta of choice (I used cavatappi)
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced or grated
  • cup + 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1- pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered depending on size
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives drained and halved
  • ½ cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 3 Persian cucumbers diced
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 8 ounces provolone cubed
  • 8 ounces salami cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • To cook the pasta: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add 3 tablespoons of kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions, until al dente.

  • Drain the pasta and immediately toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside to cool.

  • To make the dressing: In a bowl, cover the garlic with the red wine vinegar and let sit for a few minutes. This mellows the garlic a little. Add the mustard, oregano, the remaining 1 ¼ teaspoons of kosher salt, black pepper, and sugar and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 1 cup olive oil and whisk until well combined and emulsified. Set the dressing aside.

  • To make the salad: When the pasta is cooled, transfer it to a large bowl (the biggest you’ve got or two if you think it won’t all fit), and add the tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, cucumbers, mozzarella, provolone, salami, red onion, and parsley and toss to combine.

  • Evenly drizzle the dressing over the pasta salad and toss until the dressing is well distributed. You can serve it immediately or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. If you’re serving it later, you can add more vinegar, olive oil, salt, or pepper as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 400kcal (20%) | Carbohydrates: 34g (11%) | Protein: 19g (38%) | Fat: 21g (32%) | Saturated Fat: 9g (56%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 43mg (14%) | Sodium: 2538mg (110%) | Potassium: 373mg (11%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 3g (3%) | Vitamin A: 970IU (19%) | Vitamin C: 21mg (25%) | Calcium: 277mg (28%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)

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