This Easy Italian Veggie Pasta Salad is simple to prepare and perfect for Summer! This recipe is easily adaptable and serves a crowd. So it’s the perfect side dish for parties, potlucks, and large get togethers!
Cold Italian Veggie Pasta Salad
I’m not one to typically talk about the weather. But holy moly it’s so hot right now. There’s a heatwave sweeping the nation this weekend, and since we currently do not have the luxury of central air conditioning, my kitchen is SMOLDERING! But I can’t complain. Because this crazy heat inspired me to make us a new pasta salad recipe and it’s so SO sooooo delicious. Even my future hubby (who’s not the biggest pasta salad fan) loved this one! He didn’t verbally admit it. But the 3 bowls he ate for lunch were plenty of proof for me.
Here’s what we love so much about this recipe:
- It serves a crowd! If you’re serving this as a side dish, you can get 8 to 10 servings out of it! And maybe more if your friends are light eaters.
- It’s loaded with veggies! Making it healthy and flavorful.
- Like most cold pasta salads, this easy veggie Italian pasta salad is very adaptable! So you can add and omit ingredients to really make it your own.
- It’s can be made ahead of time and enjoyed all week long.
- On a steamy Summer night, there is truly nothing better than a big bowl of cold pasta salad and a glass of white wine.
Italian Veggie Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Farfalle: or any small pasta noodle shape! I’ve used elbow noodles, shells, and penne in the past. All yummy! Gluten free noodles can also be used.
- Grape or cherry tomatoes: sliced in half.
- Black Olives: I used the ones that come in a can. But you can use any variety you like!Cucumber: English cucumber or regular will work. If using a traditional cucumber, you may want to peel it.
- Marinated Artichokes: Chopped!
- Roasted Red Bell Pepper: use store bought or try roasting your own!
- Red onions: you can omit if need be! But they add a nice kick!
- Cheese: I used cubed pepper jack cheese, but feel free to use mini mozzarella cheese balls instead. You’ll also need Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling. For a Vegan Italian Pasta Salad, simply omit the cheese.
- Salad Dressing: Make your own using my recipe for basil Italian dressing or use store bought Italian dressing.
I also made a homemade Italian dressing using basil, parsely, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. You can use my recipe or use store bought Italian dressing to save time!
How to Make Italian Veggie Pasta Salad
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. But instead of cooking the pasta according to package, cook it for 8 to 9 minutes, or until al dente. The pasta will soften more when it absorbs the salad dressing, so you want to undercook it a bit. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cool. Then place pasta in a large bowl and set aside.
- Add veggies, cheese, and dressing to the pasta bowl and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve at once, or chill until needed.
And that’s it! Full recipe notes are in the recipe box below, as well as the option to print the recipe. but honestly, this one is so easy even my teenage nephews can make it! And it’s ready in about 20 minutes.
Can Pasta Salad be made ahead of Time?
Absolutely it can!!! Just be sure to cook your noodles al dente so they don’t get soggy. And toss the pasta occasionally to rotate the ingredients and keep things looking fresh.
How long does pasta salad last?
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days. If I know it’s going to be wicked hot, I’ll make a batch at the beginning of the week so I can enjoy a bowl everyday for lunch!
What to Serve Pasta Salad with
While this is delicious enough to serve on its own, you can bulk it up by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or even salmon. You could also toss in some sliced pepperoni or salami if you’re not serving vegetarians. Or try serving it with:
- Easy baked meatballs
- Tomato pie
- Italian hoagies
- Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Baked Chicken Wings
- or some Homemade Garlic Knots
Italian Veggie Pasta Salad Recipes
- 1 pound farfalle pasta
- 1 english cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise then cut into half moons
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup black olives, thinly sliced
- 1 roasted red pepper, seeds removed and diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- (1) 12 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Basil Italian Dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 9 minutes.
- Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cool.
- Place pasta in a large serving bowl and set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare the vegetables and dressing.
For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
- In the body of a food processor or blender, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, zest, mustard, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pulse until completely combined. It should be green and smooth. Add dressing to pasta.
- Add vegetables and cheese to the bowl and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Serve at once, or chill until needed.