BEST PASTA SALAD
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Meet your new summer bestie:
A stupidly easy Italian pasta salad with rotini, juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red onion, salami, olives, herbs, and a drench of quick homemade Italian dressing.
If you want to know what I’ve eaten for 4 of my last 5 meals, it’s THIS SUMMER ESSENTIAL. We are kind of having a moment here.
In my mind, a nice classic pasta salad serves one of two scenarios:
- Attending a picnic, potluck, or another end-of-summer-everyone-bring-something type party;
- Addressing the leftover meat, cheese, and vegetables in my fridge and making them into a meal that I pretty much want to eat 24/7.
This pasta salad will do both for ya.
Just… some stuff.
It’s very flexible. These are my favorite pasta salad mix-ins:
Good, spicy salami. Yummy cheeses. Tomatoes or some other friendly non-threatening vegetable. Greens of some sort – even if it’s just fresh parsley. Olives and red onions and pepperoncini.
Also, we need pasta with a good solid texture and shape to absorb all the sauce. I like rotini. (Also, DeLallo! It’s our favorite.)
Super easy Italian Pasta Salad – with pasta, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spicy salami, pepperoncini, olives, and easy Italian dressing. DANGEROUSLY GOOD
Pasta Salad Essentials:
- 1 pound uncooked pasta – I like rotini!
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
- 1 lb. salami or summer sausage, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
- 3/4 cup pepperoncini (optional, but do it)
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Italian Pasta Salad Dressing:
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil1/4 cup white vinegar (white vinegar or red wine vinegar work)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (yes, tablespoons – see notes!)
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons each dry oregano and dry basil
- black pepper to taste
- fresh herbs if you want! sometimes I add fresh parsley, basil, or chives.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, in salted water for more flavor. Allow to cool slightly and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.
- Blend up the dressing, or shake it together in a jar.
- Toss all ingredients together! I like to use about three-fourths of the dressing, and then I save the rest of the dressing to add to my leftovers.
- Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I think it actually tastes best the day AFTER you make it.