35 Energizing and Healthy Summer Salad Recipes


Pasta salads are a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed all year round. One of the most popular variations is the zesty Italian pasta salad. Packed with vibrant flavors and textures, this recipe is perfect for picnics, barbecues, or as a quick and easy weekday meal. In this blog post, we will share a simple yet flavorful zesty Italian pasta salad recipe that you can easily make at home. Get ready to wow your taste buds with this refreshing and tangy dish!


To make this zesty Italian pasta salad, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of rotini pasta
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup of black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

For the dressing, you will need:

  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Feel free to add or substitute any ingredients based on your personal preferences or dietary needs.


Follow these simple steps to create your own zesty Italian pasta salad:

  1. Cook the rotini pasta according to the instructions on the package. Make sure to cook it al dente, so it has a slight bite to it. Once cooked, drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, black olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, and parsley.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until well combined.

  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss gently to coat all the ingredients evenly.

  5. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the salad and toss again lightly.

  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

  7. Give the pasta salad a final toss before serving, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

  8. Serve the zesty Italian pasta salad chilled and enjoy!


Can I make this pasta salad in advance?

Yes, you can prepare this zesty Italian pasta salad ahead of time. It actually tastes even better when the flavors have had a chance to marinate together. Just make sure to store it in the refrigerator and give it a good toss before serving.

Can I add more vegetables to the salad?

Absolutely! This recipe is quite versatile, and you can add more vegetables to suit your taste. Some popular additions include diced cucumber, chopped broccoli, or sliced pepperoni for an extra kick of flavor.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer or have on hand. While rotini works well in this recipe, other short pasta shapes like penne or fusilli can also be used. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions.

Can I make a vegetarian version of this salad?

Yes, this zesty Italian pasta salad can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the Parmesan cheese or using a vegetarian-friendly alternative. Make sure to check the labels of the Italian seasoning and Dijon mustard to ensure they are suitable for vegetarians as well.

How long will this pasta salad keep in the refrigerator?

This pasta salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container. Just remember to give it a good toss before serving, as the dressing may settle at the bottom.

Now that you have the recipe for a delicious zesty Italian pasta salad, it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. This versatile dish is perfect as a side dish or a light main course. Enjoy the fresh flavors and tangy dressing in every bite!

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