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This pasta salad with Italian dressing is the perfect summer side dish with tri-color noodles, fresh veggies, cheese, and a tangy dressing.
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This pasta salad with Italian dressing is flavorful, colorful, and the perfect side dish for all your summertime get-togethers. It’s versatile enough that you can double or triple the recipe depending on how many hungry mouths you need to feed. Whether you’re in need of a hearty side dish or a simple summer supper, try this pasta salad recipe; it’s a winner!
You can’t go wrong with this pasta salad! It is so versatile but also so easy to make! Start with the basic ingredients and dressing, then combine them together. Try more topping ideas, and learn all about the dressing and tips to make this even easier. Your next get-together is going to be raving about this perfectly combined pasta salad!
Ingredients in Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
This pasta salad has so much flavor and texture to keep you wanting more! From the soft, colorful pasta, to the delicious zesty dressing and all the toppings. Each topping has it’s own texture and flavor to add to this side dish. Get ready to serve the best pasta salad to your friends and family!
- Pasta – We like to use tri-color rotini, but you can use farfalle (aka bowtie), fusilli, orzo, penne, or rotini pasta. Just prepare the noodles according to the package directions.
- Zesty Italian Dressing – This is our all-time favorite pasta salad dressing. Using premade dressing makes this such an easy pasta salad recipe. Zesty Italian Dressing has bold bright flavors like red wine vinegar, garlic, and lemon.
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning – This adds a little more flavor to the pasta. You can also add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Toppings – Now that you have the basics, you can load this salad with all sorts of yummy toppings! See our list below for ideas.
How to Make Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Combine the best pasta, toppings, and light Italian dressing together to make one of the best pasta salad dishes! You will love the flavor combination plus how simple this salad is to make. Set it in the fridge to chill and enjoy it within a few hours!
- Boil – Cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Prepare – While pasta is cooking, chop and dice any ingredients that need preparation.
- Combine – Gently toss the pasta, dressing, and all other remaining ingredients together.
- Chill – Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
What I love about this recipe is that you can customize it to include your favorite ingredients to complement the noodles and the dressing. Add or subtract any ingredients you like! Start with some of our favorites and see what else you love to add in too!
- Protein – Pepperoni, salami, seasoned chicken, bacon, and diced ham.
- Fruitish – Diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, or diced tomatoes.
- Canned – Black olives, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and baby corn.
- Cheese – Feta cheese, freshly grated parmesan cheese, or fresh mozzarella cheese pearls.
- Veggies – Red onion, green onion, green or red peppers, cooked zucchini, and broccoli.
- Fresh herbs – Parsley and basil are great to start with.
“Such a great summer recipe and fairly easy to make! Thank you!”-Nellie
Frequently Asked Questions About Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Kraft or Wishbone Zesty Italian Dressing is our favorite bottled pasta salad dressing. It has a light, tangy, bright flavor that pairs perfectly with pasta.
You can make this salad a few days ahead of time, just omit any cheese or avocado. Add those things on the day of serving. Leftovers should be eaten within 5 days.
Yes! Rinsing pasta in cold water helps stop the cooking process immediately so the pasta doesn’t get mushy.
Read More: 35+ Best BBQ Side Dishes
More Favorite Summer Salads
Summertime is a wonderful time to serve up chilled salads as a simple meal or a side dish to your favorite grilled meat. Try some of these delicious recipes for your next potluck or barbecue.
Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
- 16 ounces tri-colored spiral pasta
- 16 ounces Zesty Italian Salad dressing
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
Now here’s the fun part, add a few or all of the following:
- Cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
- While pasta is cooking, chop and dice any ingredients that need preparing.
- Gently toss the pasta, dressing, and all other remaining ingredients together. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Nutrition Facts only include pasta and dressing.
- If you make it the day before you plan to serve it, wait until just before serving to add cheese or avocado to the salad.
- See post for even more topping ideas.
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