Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing made with crunchy vegetables, cheese, and fresh herbs. It’s an effortless, filling, and easy-to-make dish!
This easy pasta salad recipe is perfect for a homemade weeknight meal that’s light and just in time for summer.
It is made with no meat but instead with extra veggies, cheese, and herby Italian dressing, which is a simple variation of our homemade zesty Italian dressing that you can make in less than five minutes! Fresh herbs make this pasta salad so appetizing and fresh too.
- pasta – such as penne, fusilli, farfalle
- canned chickpeas
- fresh cauliflower
- grape tomatoes
- red onions
- fresh mozzarella cheese
- feta cheese
- fresh herbs – parsley, dill
- for the dressing – olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, honey, Italian seasoning, lemon zest
What Kind of Pasta Can I Use In This Salad?
This pasta salad recipe includes penne pasta because short pasta goes well in this dish. However, you can also use long-style pasta if it’s all you’ve got in your pantry. Here are some other options you can substitute the penne with:
- Tricolor farfalle
Other Veggies to Try
Feel free to add more veggies to this easy pasta salad recipe, swap out any veggies that you may not like, or simply use up what you have in your fridge.
- Dill pickles
- Black olives
- Kalamata olives
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green onions
- Red onions
- Red bell peppers
- Green bell peppers
How to Make Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions. Then drain and rinse under cold water. Set over a colander to drain.
- Prepare the Italian dressing. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
- Next, assemble the pasta salad. In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked pasta, chickpeas, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and herbs. Pour the dressing over the salad and thoroughly toss to coat.
- Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to overnight.
Tips & A Few Notes
- Chop your veggies into roughly the same size as your pasta.
- Rinse your pasta under cold water to remove excess starch. Additionally, store the veggie pasta salad in an airtight container. Both of these tips will help keep your pasta salad from drying out.
- Make sure your pasta salad is well-seasoned and flavorful. You can do that by cooking your pasta in salted water. In addition, taste and adjust the seasoning as you add the dressing and other ingredients.
- Do not overcook your pasta noodles.
- For best flavor, chill the salad at least for 1 hour before serving. Or even better, make the salad up to one day ahead of time. As a result, the flavors will intensify the longer the pasta salad sits.
- This pasta salad lasts 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
How to Store
Store any leftover cold pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. This salad is best when it’s served fresh.
Pasta salad isn’t a good candidate for freezing, and it’s best to make it from scratch the day of or the day before you need it.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make pasta salad the night before if you’d like, or it can simply be made the day of. Just make sure to chill the salad for at least 1 hour before serving.
Pasta salad can get dry if it’s not covered with enough dressing. You may also need to stir it as the dressing can pool at the bottom of the bowl.
You can cool down the pasta before adding the vegetables and dressing by running it under cold water, and this will also stop the pasta from cooking and getting too tender.
This salad has fresh mozzarella and crumbled feta cheese, but you can add or substitute parmesan cheese.
More Pasta Salads
- Artichoke Spinach Orzo Salad
- Greek Yogurt Pesto Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Caprese Orzo Salad
Video: How to Make Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Pasta salad with Italian dressing is a cold veggie pasta salad made with crunchy vegetables, cheese, and fresh herbs. It’s effortless, healthy, and easy dish to make!
- 8 oz. small-shaped pasta, such as penne, fusilli, or farfalle
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped fresh cauliflower
- 1 cup chopped cucumbers
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Immediately drain and rinse under cold water to remove excess starch. Set over a colander to drain and cool slightly.
- In the meantime, prepare the Italian dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
- Assemble the pasta salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the pasta, chickpeas, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella, feta, parsley, and dill. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to overnight. Before serving, mix the salad to incorporate all of the juices from the bottom and taste again for salt.
- Leftovers: Leftover salad will keep well in the fridge for about 3 days.
- Recipe was originally published in December 2018.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 347
- Sugar: 5.4 g
- Sodium: 357.5 mg
- Fat: 17.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.9 g
- Protein: 13.2 g
- Cholesterol: 10.9 mg
Keywords: italian pasta salad, cold pasta salad, pasta salad with feta cheese, pasta salad with vegetables