ITALIAN PASTA SALAD
If you're look for an easy Italian pasta salad recipe then you found it!
I have found that the best & easiest to make pasta salads use bottled salad dressing. It sounds crazy and I know some may totally disagree because it's not "homemade" but I am telling you that it really does make pasta salad so easy to make and so flavorful.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN PASTA SALAD
Cook up a box of tricolor rotini pasta noodles according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, chop up a cucumber, red onion, and cut some grape tomatoes in half.
When the pasta is done transfer it to a colander (that's sitting in the sink) and let it drain. Turn the faucet all the way to cold and let it run over the pasta for several minutes so the pasta can cool down. You don't want to add hot pasta to the bowl!
It's easy from here. Add all your ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir together. This easy Italian pasta salad is good served right away or let it refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Just be sure to give it a good stir and you may need to add a tablespoon or two of Italian dressing to moisten it back up again.
MY TIPS FOR MAKING EASY ITALIAN PASTA SALAD
- Be sure and salt the pasta water before adding the dry pasta
- Use an Italian dressing that you LOVE. I really like the Olive Garden Italian dressing so that is the one that I buy. There are so many options. Zesty Italian dressing, creamy Italian dressing, parmesan Italian dressing. Pick one you love or one that sounds yummy!
- It's best to seed the cucumbers for this pasta salad. Peel the cucumber and then cut it in half vertically (so you end up with two thinner, longer pieces). Take a metal dinner spoon and scoop out the seeds and flesh. Then cut and dice the cucumber.
- Use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. Either one will work great.
- Eat this pasta salad right away or let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. It's best not to make pasta salad the day before, because pasta salad tends to dry out as it sits in the fridge for a long time. When you are ready to serve, or are eating leftovers, give the salad a good stir and add a tablespoon or two of the dressing to moisten it all back up again.
- The recipe calls for 3/4 cup Italian dressing but feel free to use more or less depending on preference.
TRY THESE OTHER PASTA SALAD RECIPES
- dill pickle pasta salad
- caesar pesto pasta salad
- easy greek pasta salad
- southwest pasta salad
- summer vegetable pasta salad
Easy Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 box (12 oz) tricolor rotini pasta
- 1 cup chopped cucumber (peeled and seeded, about 1 cucumber)
- 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomates
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives drained
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/2 - 1 cup Italian salad dressing
- Cook pasta according to box instructions. Remember to salt your pasta water with 1-2 teaspoons of salt. When pasta is done, drain it and run cold water over it so the noodles can cool.
- Combine the cooked and cooled pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and red onion. Pour Italian dressing over it and stir together. *Start with 1/2 cup Italian dressing and go from there. I put about 3/4 cup dressing on the salad and then reserve the rest to add to the salad before serving to moisten it back up.
- Can be eaten right away or refrigerated for a few hours before serving.* I like it cold so I refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving.