Easy Pasta Salad

Easy and delicious Italian Pasta Salad recipe that includes Rotini pasta, olives, tomatoes, & cheese in Italian dressing! It takes minutes to make and is perfect for any get together including BBQs and holidays.

We love having a go-to dish to bring to all summer parties and functions and this pasta salad is it! Other favorites include our famous potato salad, corn salad and tortellini salad. They’re all simple and great to enjoy all summer long.

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe in bowl

the easiest SIDE dish!

Summer is all about being lazy and enjoying time with family! We love to BBQ and gather for dinner with friends, and one of our go to salad recipes is today’s pasta salad.

Our family  has been making this pasta salad for our family functions for at least 10 years now, and it’s always a hit when we make and bring it to other events. Depending on the crowd you’re feeding, or what your family likes, you can customize the ingredients to your choosing. Regardless of what you decide to include, this pasta salad is easy and simply the best!

What is the best pasta for pasta salad? You want to choose a pasta that has nooks and crannies to little pockets of dressing and herbs. Choose the short pasta shapes like fusilli, farfalle, rotini, and penne. You can’t go wrong with any of those pastas. Their small size makes them perfectly easy to serve and eat small bites.

Pasta salad ingredients in bowl


We usually have this pasta salad with chunks of cheese, olives, mini pepperonis and Parmesan cheese BUT, you could easily take out or add in any of these ingredients:

  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Peppers
  • Ham Cubes
  • Green Onions
  • Bacon
  • Salami
  • Pepperoncinis
  • Mozzarella Cheese Balls

HOW TO MAKE pasta salad

We love that this recipe can be made in a jiffy. You can make a homemade dressing to go with it, but we love that Italian dressing is the perfect addition for this pasta salad.

Begin by boiling the pasta noodles as instructed on the package. When they’re cooked, drain and rinse pasta with cold water.

Add in your desired amount of other ingredients (we always use olives, cheese, and pepperonis, sometimes tomatoes and peppers). Pour at least half of the Italian dressing on the salad, and mix well.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and pour the remaining dressing on right before serving!


Can pasta salad be made ahead of time? Our easy pasta salad is best when eaten right after you put the dressing on. If you want to make it ahead of time, store the dressing in a separate container and toss it with the pasta salad before you want to serve/eat it.

How long does pasta salad last? Leftovers? Don’t worry- you can keep this pasta salad in an airtight container and it will last in the fridge for 5 to 7 days. You can have pasta salad for lunches and dinners all week!

Can pasta salad be frozen? One question that people as a lot is, can you freeze pasta salad?? Yes, and no. You shouldn’t freeze the pasta salad that has been tossed with all the veggies, cheese, and dressings. But you can freeze all the ingredients individually.

Make sure to cook the pasta al dente (cook it a minute or two before it’s suggested cooking time). Put the pasta and veggies in one freezer bag and the dressing in a smaller freezer bag. Freeze these together and then thaw them together when you are ready to serve and eat.

Pasta Salad recipe with Italian dressing in bowl

I just made this last week for a BBQ and everyone loved it! And I LOVE that it saves really well and leftovers taste just as good as when it was originally served. 🙂

For more salad recipes, check out:

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

4.73 from 18 votes
Easy and delicious Italian Pasta Salad recipe that includes Rotini pasta, olives, tomatoes, & cheese in Italian dressing! It takes minutes to make and is perfect for any get together including BBQs and holidays.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Refrigerating Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 525 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 16 oz box colored rotini pasta
  • 16 oz bottle italian dressing
  • 1 c colby jack cheese cubed
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1/2 pkg mini pepperonis
  • parmesan cheese to taste
  • chopped tomatoes optional
  • chopped cucumbers optional


  • Cook pasta as directed on package.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Add desired amount of olives, cheese and pepperonis to pasta.
  • Pour at least half of your Italian dressing and mix well.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Pour additional dressing (as much as you want) before serving. ENJOY!



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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Awesome, easy, delicious! We will probably make again and again. It’ll be fun to try variations of mix ins.

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