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Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad: Savory Side Dishes

With so many pasta salad recipes, it can be tough to choose a recipe which ticks off a number of boxes.

  • Easy to Make
  • Keeps Well
  • Yummy
  • Popular
  • Goes with a wide variety of foods

This recipe has been a favorite of ours for many years. Before I get into the recipe, there are a few tips we look at to make a great pasta salad. Using any one or as many of these tips will help you make a great pasta salad now and for many years to come.

Tips for a great pasta salad:

  • Use a pasta with texture, this recipe features Rotini, but there are other types of pasta such as Cavatelli, Farfalle, Orecchiette, Cavatappi, Fusilli, and Gemelli. The texture will hold the seasonings and dressing more evenly for an eating experience that is flavorful in every bite.
  • Chop your veggies into bite sized pieces. For the best eating experience (and a teeny bit or portion control) bite sized pieces will compliment a wide range of menus.
  • Choose a mozzarella styled cheese. Cheeses will absorb liquid when in a salad. That is most cheeses will. Your cheddar cheeses, colby and farmers cheeses will discolor and the texture will change within a day. A good mozzarella will not absorb as much and the texture will keep the firmness we all love with a good mozzarella.
  • Keep the proportions of your veggies in mind. You can fudge a bit when it comes to ingredients but keep in m ind what happens over time with veggies. Carrots and peppers are more background but onions, black olives can overpower when there is too much of them.
  • Get creative with your pasta. Choose one that is a color or has more texture for a unique experience. Or cook different types and mix them for a unique look. You can have some fun with this.

So, let’s get started on making your Summer Pasta Salad.



Summer Pasta Salad

  • Author: Jenn Pardee
  • Prep Time: 25 minute
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x
  • Cuisine: pasta salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Units Scale
  1. 116 ounce box of pasta (we used Rotini for this recipe)
  2. 1 medium sized white or yellow onion
  3. 1 medium sized red bell pepper
  4. 23 medium sized carrots (use purple or different colored carrots for color)
  5. 1/2 cup of black olives
  6. 18 ounce pack of mozzarella sticks
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
  8. 116 oz. bottle of Olive Garden Traditional Vinegrette Salad Dressing


  1. Boil your pasta until it is ‘el dente’ and then set aside.
  2. Finely chop the onion, bell pepper and black olives (unless you used chopped olives)
  3. Use a grater to create thick shreds of the carrots
  4. Chop the mozzarella sticks into bite size pieces.
  5. Add the pasta, chopped veggies, chopped mozz, salad dressing in a large bowl and mix.
  6. Let it chill in the fridge for about an hour.
  7. Serve and Enjoy

Keywords: pasta salad, summer foods, picnic foods

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