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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. Our cousin, Jill, first introduced us to this pasta salad when she made it for one of our big family reunions. I’m so glad she let me steal her recipe and I always think of her when I make it. 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!
Ingredients in Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
- 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 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.
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! Some of our favorites are:
- artichoke hearts
- diced tomatoes
- cherry tomatoes
- black olives
- Kalamata olives
- fresh mozzarella cheese pearls
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- feta cheese
- red onion
- green onion
- green or red peppers
- cooked zucchini
- diced avocado
- baby corn
- seasoned chicken
- diced ham
- fresh herbs like parsley and basil
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 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:
- Steak Salad
- Snickers Apple Salad
- Nuts About Berries Salad
- Blackberry Fruit Salad
- Grilled Caesar Salad
How to Make Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
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.