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Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

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Zesty Italian Pasta Salad is a light, flavorful side dish that goes perfectly with just about every meal. With a simple ingredient list, it’s easy to personalize by changing the veggies and seasonings.

If there is a cold salad that I could eat all the time, it would be this pasta salad with zesty Italian dressing. The taste is out of this world but it’s also easy to make, a crowd-pleaser, and a real winner for the carb lovers!

Yep–that would be me (give me allll the carbs!), like this easy California Spaghetti Salad.

White bowl filled with pasta salad with fresh veggies, cheese & pepperoni

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This pasta salad has simple ingredients that you can grab at your local grocery store. If you want to kick up the flavors, try using fresh herbs.

Any way you serve it up, everyone will be asking you to make this side dish again and again!

Ingredients for Zesty Italian Pasta Salad 

Pasta – I love using Rotini for this salad but feel free to substitute your favorite pasta.

Broccoli – if you’re short on time, look for pre-cut broccoli in the produce department. I don’t recommend using frozen because the thawed veggie gets too soggy after sitting in the refrigerator.

Bell Peppers – multi-colored peppers add a festive look to this easy pasta salad.

Mozzarella Cheese – cubes work best here. I buy the blocks and give them a quick chop. Shredded cheese will work in a pinch, but you may want to use a little more to balance out all of the flavors.

Pepperoni – I like using the mini ones because they are less work, convenient (and well, cute!). You can also cut full-size pepperonis into quarters. Salami is another option if you’re not a pepperoni fan.

Zesty Italian Salad Dressing – Feel free to use a creamy version if that’s what you have. Or try my Creamy House Dressing recipe if you prefer a homemade dressing.

Other Ingredients: black olives, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

All the ingredients needed for zesty italian pasta salad on a cutting board

Tips for Making Pasta Salad with Zesty Italian Dressing

  • Feel free to add or omit ingredients based on what you have on hand. This is a dish that can be easily customized without compromising the flavor.
  • If you’re tight on kitchen storage, you need a colander like this. It’s collapsible, making it a huge space saver, and it fits most sinks.
  • Pasta salads are much better after they’ve chilled (unless they are meant to be served hot). I recommend chilling for at least 2 hours before serving.
close up of italian pasta salad after it has been chilled

What to Serve with Italian Pasta Salad

If you are looking for dinner ideas, I highly recommend these tasty main dish meals:

Easy Lunch Ideas:

How to Store Leftover Pasta Salad

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Longer than that, the cheese starts getting a little soggy and the dressing becomes a little tangier.

More Salad Recipes to Try

Closeup view of pasta salad with vegetables, cheese & pepperoni with Zesty Italian Pasta Salad graphic overlay.
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Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad is a light, flavorful side dish that goes perfectly with just about every meal! A simple ingredient list that's easy to personalize by changing or adding more veggies, proteins and seasonings.
4.60 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 149kcal
Author: Lori @ A Reinvented Mom


  • 1 16 oz box Rotini
  • 1 small head fresh broccoli, (about 1 cup) chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large bell pepper , or 1 cup of multi-colored peppers, diced
  • 1 8 oz can black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes, halved, about 8 ounces
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup English cucumber, quartered & sliced thinly
  • 1 5 oz mini pepperoni , or 1 cup quartered pepperoni or salami pieces
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley , plus a little extra for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 16 ounce bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
  • Fresh basil, chopped, for garnish if desired


  • Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Add drained pasta to a large bowl.
  • Add all vegetables, cheese, meat, salt & pepper and stir to combine.
  • Add salad dressing and toss to coat well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator.


  • Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently.
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Nutritional Estimate

Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 295mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 975IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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4.60 from 10 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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