Recipe summer pasta salad

Easy Summer Pasta Salad-a simple pasta salad recipe that is perfect for all of your summer BBQ’s and potlucks!

Every summer our neighborhood has a huge BBQ at the park across from our house. We attend every year and this year Josh and I were asked to help with the food. I wonder why…ha! The menu was easy: hamburgers, hot dogs, green salad, pasta salad, chips, watermelon, and ice cream bars for dessert. The only tricky part was making all of this food for 200 people. We had a busy day in the kitchen! It was worth it though because everyone had a great time and enjoyed the food.

The party was a few weeks ago and I am still getting requests for the pasta salad recipe. So instead of writing it down or emailing it out to our neighborhood, I decided to share the recipe on our blog. That is why we have a blog:)

So today you are all getting the Easy Summer Pasta Salad recipe we made for our neighborhood BBQ. I hope this makes you feel like you are part of our neighborhood. I wish you could all really be our neighbors. I could sure use some more cookie samplers:)

I love this pasta salad because it is loaded with fresh summer vegetables. It is a great recipe for using up all of the vegetables from your garden or farmers market haul. The vegetables make the salad bright and colorful!

For the salad, we used DeLallo’s Farfalle pasta. I love using butterfly pasta because it is pretty and fun to eat! To the pasta, we added tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, artichokes, fresh basil, and feta cheese. We tossed the salad with balsamic dressing. I cheated and used store bought balsamic dressing since we were making pasta salad for 200 hundred people. You can easily make your own dressing if you wish, but sometimes it’s nice to cheat:)

This Easy Summer Pasta Salad is a great recipe to take to summer BBQ’s and potlucks. It transports well and can be made for the masses. You can easily double, triple, or times this recipe by 10 if you need to. Just make sure you have a big bowl:) We also love eating this pasta salad for lunch or dinner. It is good for any summer meal! Enjoy!

Easy Summer Pasta Salad

This Easy Summer Pasta Salad recipe is loaded with summer vegetables and perfect for summer BBQ’s and potlucks. 5 from 2 votes Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound dry pasta we used farfalle
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper seeds removed and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper seeds removed and diced
  • 1 small orange bell pepper seeds removed and diced
  • 1 large seedless cucumber chopped
  • 1 12 oz jar artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup store bought balsamic dressing use your favorite brand
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped basil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. Pour the balsamic dressing over the pasta salad and gently stir to combine. Add the feta cheese and basil and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

This summer pasta salad is perfect for your BBQ, picnic or summer parties!

With the summer heat in full swing, I am all about finding ways to put together meals that are easy to make, delicious and don’t heat up the whole kitchen (I have the Arizona heat for that!). One meal that we always enjoy during summer months is pasta salad. One of the things I love about pasta salad is that it is so flexible, you can really get creative with it, you can make it up ahead of time, it can be a side dish or a main dish and it’s perfect to bring to a summer bbq, 4th of July get together or pool party.

Pasta salads are one of those things that can be made to fit almost any taste, both kids and adults enjoy them. I love to fill my pasta salads with color, which is easy to do with lots of fresh veggies such as broccoli, carrots and tomatoes, and sometimes I’ll throw in peppers and even fresh roasted corn.

I also like to add chicken or turkey to a pasta salad, turning into a meal. Sometimes I’ll use leftover grilled chicken, other times I’ll use deli chicken or turkey. Have to love an all in one meal.

We are all olive lovers in my house, so those are a must in our pasta salads. My girls are both big cheese eaters, so two kinds of cheese are the way to go. I even whip up some Italian dressing with a GOOD SEASONS Dressing Mix. It seriously takes all of about a minute to make, you simply add water, oil and vinegar, and you have fresh dressing.

Truly one of my favorite and easy summer meals. I especially love that I can make it in the morning and stick it in the fridge, ready to pull out and serve when we are ready to eat.

I even have a fun way to bring these to summer cookouts and bar-b-ques. I fill individual cups with pasta salad, close with a lid on top and then place into a cooler filled with ice.

Enjoy this easy meal on a warm summer night!

Summer Time Pasta Salad Recipe

Pin Servings: 8 servings

  • 2 cups pasta such as rotini, fusilli, penne or farfalle, uncooked
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 6 oz . chopped cooked chicken or turkey breast (approximately two small chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato cut into chunks
  • 1 cup chopped or grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup prepared GOOD SEASONS Italian Dressing Mix
  • 4 oz . KRAFT Cheddar Cheese Cubes
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup KRAFT Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend
  • leaves Optional: A few of fresh herbs such as basil for garnish
  • COOK pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the cooking water for the last 2 min. of the pasta cooking time; drain and rinse with cold water.
  • TOSS chicken, tomatoes, carrots, dressing, cheddar cheese and olives in large bowl. Add pasta mixture; mix lightly.
  • SPRINKLE with Shredded Italian cheese.
  • If not serving immediately, store in refrigerator. Enjoy this easy meal on a warm summer night!

Tried this recipe?Mention @lovefromtheoven or tag #lovefromtheoven!

Looking for something a little different? Barefeet In The Kitchen has a great Creamy Pasta Salad recipe.

She also has a great Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe.

You can also find my recipe for this summer pasta salad on Kraft website.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kraft. All opinions however are mine and mine alone.

Originally published June 2014

Pasta Salad is one of those staple recipes that’s been around for as long as we can remember, and for good reason — it’s amazingly delicious! This veggie packed version is easy thanks to the shortcut of zest bottled Italian salad dressing.

So all you have to do is boil the pasta, chop the veggies and toss everything together.

Easy Pasta Salad

This is a cold pasta salad, which means it’s perfect for summer. I also love that it can be made up to a day in advance, so if you are planning a summer get together you can check this off the list a day ahead.

And let’s not forget the main reason this is perfect for summer — all those colorful garden veggies (and some that are technically fruit). It’s such a great way to use up the abundance of veggies in season from either your garden, the farmers market or the grocery store.

Even though it uses a bottle of dressing, I’d still consider this one of the best pasta salads. Maybe it’s because it’s one of those sides that was always there in the summer growing up but it will always be one of my favorites.

Vegetarian Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Tri-color rotini
  • Bottled Italian dressing
  • Parmesan
  • Olives
  • Red onion
  • Baby carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Grape tomatoes
  • English cucumber
  • Yellow bell pepper

How to Make Pasta Salad

First, you’ll start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, then boil the pasta just to al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta under cold water.

Meanwhile while the pasta is cooking, you’ll chop up all those crisp colorful veggies.

To finish, you’ll add the well drained noodles, all the veggies and the Parmesan to a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss to evenly coat.

Could it get any easier? And it’s so tasty too! You’ll be lucky if you have any left.

Can I Use a Different Type of Pasta for This Cold Pasta Salad?

Yes, you can use any short and sturdy pasta you have on hand. Penne pasta or elbow macaroni would work in this recipe too.

Can I Add Different Veggies to This Recipe?

Yes, feel free to use up whatever veggies you have in your fridge. Likewise, you can omit any veggies in this recipe if you’re not a fan of them.

Can I Make This Pasta Salad in Advance?

Yes, this cold pasta salad can be made up to a day ahead of time. You don’t want to make it further in advance than that, as the veggies lose their crispness over time.

What to Serve with Pasta Salad

This easy pasta salad goes well with just about anything. You just can’t go wrong with a zesty homemade pasta salad.

You can serve it with:

  • Grilled chicken or steak
  • Skillet seared salmon or other fish
  • Fried chicken
  • Burgers
  • Pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwiches
  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Cold turkey sandwiches or warm paninis

Tips for the Best Pasta Salad

  • I prefer using Kraft Italian dressing for this vegetarian pasta salad, but any Italian dressing you like will work.
  • If you like cheese, try adding a cup of cubed mozzarella cheese to this salad.
  • Toss this salad just before serving to redistribute the Italian dressing.

More Pasta Salad Ideas You’ll Love:

  • Best Macaroni Salad
  • Greek Orzo Salad
  • Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
  • Avocado Caprese Pasta Salad
  • Mexican Macaroni Salad
  • Poppy Seed Chicken and Grape Pasta Salad

Follow Cooking Classy

Garden Veggie Pasta Salad

5 from 8 votes

The perfect easy shortcut pasta salad! Loaded with veggies and parmesan and finished off with a zesty dressing. This is a classic, go-to summer side dish.

Servings: 8 Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Chill time 30 minutes Total Time 45 minutes

  • 1 (12 oz) box tri-color rotini pasta
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
  • 1 1/2 cups tiny chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced baby carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups bottled Italian salad dressing (I prefer Kraft with this recipe)
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente but do not season water with salt (the dressing has plenty). Drain an rinse until cold water.

  2. Pour pasta into a bowl, add tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper, olives, cucumber, carrots, red onion and parmesan.

  3. Pour dressing over and toss to evenly coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day). Add a little more dressing if needed.

Recipe Notes

Do you love cheese? Try adding a heaping cup of small cubed of mozzarella to this recipe.

Nutrition Facts Garden Veggie Pasta Salad Amount Per Serving Calories 322 Calories from Fat 117 % Daily Value* Fat 13g20% Saturated Fat 3g19% Cholesterol 4mg1% Sodium 773mg34% Potassium 408mg12% Carbohydrates 44g15% Fiber 4g17% Sugar 9g10% Protein 10g20% Vitamin A 2441IU49% Vitamin C 59mg72% Calcium 121mg12% Iron 1mg6% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Course: Salad Cuisine: American Keyword: Pasta Salad Author: Jaclyn

Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite cold pasta salad dishes! Fresh and colorful vegetables, cheese, salami, and Italian vinaigrette are tossed with your favorite pasta to create an unforgettable dish for just about any summer occasion.

Pasta salads are one of my go-to potluck dishes from easy and fresh Greek Pasta Salad to a delicious Caesar Pasta Salad and of course my famous Dill Pickle Pasta Salad! Not only does everyone love them, but pasta salads are super easy to make and they’re even better when made ahead of time!

Potluck Perfect Pasta Salad

Whenever summer rolls around, we always seem to be headed to barbecues, potlucks, and patio parties. Of course, I’m always asked to bring a big pitcher of Classic Mojitos (it’s the drink I’m known for) but I almost always bring a cold pasta salad recipe along too! This Italian Pasta Salad recipe is a really fun twist on a classic pasta salad because it’s loaded with so many goodies. It travels well and goes with pretty much anything.

Big Bold Flavors

This easy pasta salad recipe is loaded with flavor, you can add in your own favorite Italian inspired ingredients; diced artichokes and sundried tomatoes also make great additions!
Ingredients for pasta salad:

  • Bold Flavors: cheese, salami, olives, and Italian seasonings add a big punch of flavor
  • Crunch: Bell pepper adds great for color, crunch, and flavor
  • Veggies: I love the juicy tang tomatoes add, throw in some cucumbers or any veggies you have on hand

Noodles for Pasta Salad

Tri-color rotini does an amazing job at holding the cheese and Italian dressing in the crevices for max flavor, but you can use shells, or whatever medium noodles you happen to have handy!

Cook the pasta al dente so it isn’t mushy and it holds up well to the dressing.

Tips to Make the Perfect Italian Pasta Salad

  • Cut your veggies small: Cutting your vegetables into pieces slightly smaller than bite-sized will ensure that you get a taste of everything in each bite!
  • Don’t overcook your noodles: Overcooking will make a mushy pasta salad as the acids from the dressing will break down the starches farther. Shock your noodles once they are cooked al dente in cold water for best results!
  • Cool your pasta before adding the toppings: You don’t want to begin to cook your vegetables while you toss everything together!
  • Let your pasta salad sit before you serve it: This gives the dressing a chance to really permeate your veggies and pasta, resulting in a more flavorful and delicious Italian pasta salad!
  • Keep it colorful: If you are adding some extra veggies you have on hand, keep your pasta salad fun and colorful! I love adding things like artichokes, shredded carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, etc.

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing

To make this recipe quick and easy, I use a bottled Italian dressing but of course, homemade Italian Dressing is amazing if you have the ingredients on hand.

Make ahead… The best thing about this pasta salad recipe is that it gets better as it sits and the flavors blend! It’s the perfect make ahead side dish, it takes 20 only about minutes to prepare. What could be better than that?

As this Italian pasta salad sits in the fridge, the acids in the dressing actually work to help break down the starches in the pasta and the proteins in the veggies, resulting in a more flavorful and tender pasta salad (so be sure not to overcook your noodles)!

Make Homemade Italian Dressing combine the following:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or use half olive oil, half vegetable oil)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or your favorite)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Favorite Pasta Salad Recipes

  • Caprese Pasta Salad
  • Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad
  • Bow Tie Pasta Salad
  • BLT Pasta Salad
  • Easy Greek Pasta Salad
  • Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

4.72 from 14 votes Review Recipe

Italian Pasta Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 20 minutes Servings 12 servings Author Holly Nilsson Course Side Dish Cuisine Italian Tender pasta, ripe juicy tomatoes, crisp bell peppers, salami and mozzarella cheese are tossed in an Italian dressing for the perfect make ahead side dish.

  • 16 oz tricolor rotini
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese cubed
  • 1/3 cup red onion diced
  • 8 oz salami chopped
  • 1 cup bottled Italian vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest

  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Nutrition Information Calories: 324, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 817mg, Potassium: 314mg, Carbohydrates: 34g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 12g, Vitamin A: 855%, Vitamin C: 23.8%, Calcium: 104%, Iron: 1.1%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword Italian Pasta Salad © Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.

Repin this Super Summer Salad!

From my blog description, you know that I tend to alter recipes to be healthier and cheaper. Based on these guidelines I was hesitant to use a Paula Deen recipe. While this recipe didn’t end up being the healthiest, I was able to use cheaper ingredients to make a delicious side dish.

Before I share this recipe, I’m going to forewarn you that measurements listed below are estimates. I encourage you to alter these amounts based on your personal tastes. Ok, here it is:

Nicole’s Variation of Paula Deen’s Italian Pasta Salad:

  • 1/2 box of farfalle noodles
  • 1 cup of store bought balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small can of sliced black olives
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 10 slices of dry italian salami, diced
  • 1/4 white onion, diced
  • Grated parmesan cheese (about a handful)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add farfalle noodles and cook according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the balsamic dressing, mayonnaise and sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water until noodles are cool. Add noodles to large mixing bowl.
  4. Add olives, green bell pepper, salami, onion, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to pasta. Mix well.
  5. Pour half of the dressing mixture over the pasta salad and mix well. If desired, add remaining sauce.
  6. Eat or refrigerate for later!

Paula’s original recipe: