Italian Pasta Salad ~ this easy recipe combines cheese-stuffed tortellini and bursting with flavor from all your antipasto favorites: salami, pepperoni, cheese, peppers, olives and onions dressed in a simple homemade vinaigrette.
Even if the weather hasn’t officially said summer, this salad does. We’ve had our fill of cold days and plates loaded with comfort food.
It’s time for summer fare, dips in the lake, toasted s’mores, staying out after the streetlights come on and Italian Pasta Salad with tortellini and the BEST Italian salad dressing.
Italian Pasta Salad has all the flavors of an Italian sub or but in pasta salad form. Don’t let summer pass with all the farm stands, vine-ripped tomatoes and barbecues without trying this one. And if you’re growing tomatoes, this recipe is a great use for your harvest.
Many of the ingredients for this salad come from the deli counter and produce section of the grocery store. You may even have some of the ingredients for the BEST dressing already on hand.
Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients:
- mini bell peppers (full size may be used)
- grape tomatoes
- provolone cheese
- black olives
- red onion
- banana peppers
- fresh basil
- Italian dressing (homemade recipe below or your favorite bottled)
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Do I have to make the homemade dressing?
No – if you have a favorite bottled dressing, go ahead and use it. If you don’t already have one or just want to see what the BEST dressing is all about, I encourage you to give it a try. The ingredients for the dressing are below in the recipe box.
What makes this such a great salad?
Besides the taste ~ it’s fantastic ~ and its color ~ it screams summer! It’s also a really easy salad to whip up. When I entertain I try to do as much the day before because this means stress-free entertaining. Not only can you make this salad the day before but it actually tastes even better the next day because it has time for all the flavors to come together.
Feel free to customize the recipe with other ingredients you like, such as:
- green olives
- fresh mozzarella
How to make Italian Pasta Salad:
If you’re making the homemade dressing, whisk the ingredients together then transfer the dressing to a small jar or container and refrigerate.
Next cook the tortellini according to package directions then drain and rinse in cold water, draining again well.
NOTE: I like a little more ‘bite’ in the tortellini so I cook it a couple minutes shy of what the directions say.
In a large bowl, combine the tortellini, pepperoni, bell peppers, tomatoes, cheese, salami, olives, onion and banana peppers. Fold in about 1/2 cup of the Italian dressing then season with salt and pepper to taste, gently stirring to combine.
Refrigerate the salad several hours or overnight for the best flavor, then add the remaining dressing just before serving, blending well.
This salad is a great go-with for grilled hot dogs or burgers or any of your summer favorites.
If you make this Italian Pasta Salad recipe or any other on the blog, then I’d love to hear from you with a comment or star rating below.
Italian Pasta Salad
- 2 9 ounce packages cheese tortellini Buitoni brand used
- 1/2 cup pepperoni halved
- 1 cup sliced mini bell peppers or 1 whole large pepper chopped
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 8 ounces provolone cheese chopped
- 8 ounces salami chopped
- 6 ounce can sliced black olives drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup banana peppers rough chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil sliced into ribbons
- 1 cup Italian dressing homemade (see BELOW) or your favorite bottled
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
BEST Salad Dressing
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (dry)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano (dried)
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Transfer to a small jar or container with a lid and refrigerate.
- Cook the tortellini according to package directions.
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients (except salt and pepper) then fold in 1/2 cup of the Italian dressing. Season with salt and pepper as you like. Toss with the remaining dressing just before serving.
- Refrigerate 2-4 hours or overnight for best flavor.
- Drizzle additional dressing just before serving.