Italian Pasta Salad

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Pasta salad is a summer cookout classic, but if you’re tired of the same old mayo-laden macaroni salad, try this lighter, more flavorful Italian pasta salad.

With loads of salami, provolone, juicy cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini, and a tangy, creamy-but-not-heavy Italian dressing, it’s an easy summer side that’s also great for lunches!

This Italian pasta salad is a meal prep staple in our house. It keeps well for days and I like to make a big batch and portion it out for lunches throughout the week.

Although we usually like a lot of variety in our meals (well except for the 3-year-old who could live on peanut butter alone), this is one of those salads we never seem to tire of.

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Italian pasta salad in a bowl

It’s tangy, super flavorful and full of fun textures. It’s great as a side, but with some chopped romaine tossed in, it also makes a great main course salad.

Here’s how I make it!

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

Make the Dressing

1. Using an immersion blender, or just a whisk, blend together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mayo, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.

Ingredients for creamy Italian dressing, and overhead view of prepared dressing in a measuring cup

2. Cook the pasta noodles according to the package directions, and drain. Rinse the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking. We prefer short noodles like penne or rotini, but use what you like!

3. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes, thinly slice the red onion, chop the parsley, salami and provolone (mozzarella or bocconcini works too!).

Cooked penne pasta in a colander and chopped salami cheese and tomatoes for Italian pasta salad

4. In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the vegetables, meat and cheese.

5. Add dressing to taste, and toss to combine. The recipe makes 1 1/4 cups of dressing and I usually use about 1 cup. I would start with 3/4 cup and add more to taste.

Ingredients for Italian pasta salad in a large salad bowl with prepared dressing in the background

I like to let this salad marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Closeup of Italian pasta salad in a large bowl

Enjoy! xx

Sound good to you? If you make this Italian pasta salad, I would be thrilled and honored if you would take a pic and tag me on Instagram @ourhappymess!

Or pin for later! ↓↓↓

Ingredients for Italian pasta salad in a large salad bowl with prepared dressing in the background

More Easy Pasta Salads

Taco Macaroni Salad

Summer Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Curried Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Salad

Closeup of Italian pasta salad in a large bowl

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta salad is packed with good stuff like salami, provolone, and mild and tangy pepperoncini, and dressed in a creamy Italian dressing. Perfect for cookouts and lunches.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 servings (as a side)
Calories: 337kcal
Author: Ann Otis



  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pasta Salad

  • 3/4 lb pasta shapes such as penne or rotini
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 6 pepperoncini peppers thinly sliced
  • 3 oz sliced salami or pepperoni, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 oz sliced provolone cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped



  • Using an immersion blender or a bowl and whisk, blend together the lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, sugar, and mayo.
  • Slowly drizzle in the oil while blending or whisking until dressing is creamy and emulsified. Set aside

Pasta Salad

  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a large salad bowl or mixing bowl.
  • Add the onions, tomatoes, peppers, salami, provolone and parsley to the pasta, pour 1/2 the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add more dressing to taste.


This recipe makes 1 1/4 cups of dressing. We usually use about 1 cup to dress the salad, but you can add more or less to taste.
If you can't find provolone, try substituting mozzarella or bocconcini.
Letting the salad sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving is optional but I find it helps to meld and mellow out the flavors.


Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 339IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1mg
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