Cold Italian pasta salad is one food staple that can wow anyone at the dinner table. Loaded with cheese and fresh veggies, this pasta salad also makes for an ideal side dish at parties or special events. Well, you don’t have to settle for those over-processed pasta salads brought from the store that are generally unhealthy. Try this home-made cold Italian pasta salad recipe to delight family and friends anytime.
Easy Cold Italian Pasta Salad
This cold Italian pasta salad has the goodness of fresh vegetables, salami, and mozzarella cheese balls. It is tossed in hot and tangy vinaigrette prepared with Italian seasoning, honey, mayonnaise, pepper, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar.
For The Cold Salad
3 cups rotini pasta
5 oz. mozzarella cheese balls (halved)
3/4 cup baby tomatoes (halved)
4 oz. sliced salami
1 cup mixed bell peppers, diced
½ cup diced black olives
1/3 cup pepperoncini (sliced)
3/4 cup diced red onion
Parsley and basil
For The Italian Salad Dressing
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 Tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. or more Dijon mustard
4 Tsp. mayonnaise
3/4 Tsp. garlic (crushed)
1 1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper
To Make The Cold Italian Pasta Salad
Take enough water in a large pot along with some salt. Bring to boil and then cook the rotini pasta until soften. Rotini pasta will generally take about 10 minutes to cook. Next, drain the cooked rotini pasta and then rinse it water. You need to drain the water from the pasta entirely and then transfer it to a clean salad dish. Now top the rotini pasta with salami, tomatoes, peppers, olives, and onion. Next, stir in pepperoncini and cheese. Mix well and top with basil and parsley in the end. Combine the pasta mixture well.
To Make The Italian Salad Dressing
Whisk the honey, mayonnaise, and red wine vinegar in a shallow dish. Now add the black pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, and pepper flakes. Pour the oil and combine the dressing ingredients until emulsified. It’s better to taste the dressing and add more seasonings if desired.
Tips To Make Perfect Cold Italian Pasta Salad
Follow these tips to make the perfect Italian pasta salad. Also, learn how to serve your cold pasta salad along with some other variations.
Use short pasta for making cold Italian pasta salad. This is because short pasta shapes blend well with salad dressings. You can use elbow pasta, rotini, or fusilli.
It is important to add honey and Dijon mustard to balance the taste of acid ingredients. Make sure the red wine vinegar you are using has a pungent taste.
Try other versions of cold Italian pasta salad by experimenting with ingredients like spinach, artichokes, green olives, peanuts, tofu, and avocados. Adding nuts will give the salad a crunchy taste.
Add the oil to the dressing ingredients slowly and whisk consistently until they get emulsified well.
Serve cold pasta salad with meatballs, cheesy chicken dishes, or soups.
Prepare this cold Italian pasta salad a day in advance before you mix it with the dressing. Also, the Italian dressing has to be prepared right before serving to keep it emulsified.
Make homemade Italian seasoning with dried oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, and thyme. Keep the quantity of rosemary and thyme lower than the rest ingredients.
Refrigerate this pasta salad and consume it within 2 days. You can prepare a fresh dressing every time and drizzle it over the salad for better taste.
Sprinkle some goat cheese, feta cheese, or blue cheese on the top of this cold pasta salad for extra flavor.