Easy Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni

This is the BEST Italian pasta salad recipe that is an absolute crowd pleaser. It is a bright and flavorful cold pasta salad that features fresh vegetables, parmesan cheese, and of course, pepperonis all in one large bowl.

pasta in a bowl with tomatoes and pepperoni

Summertime is the perfect time to get in the garden and pull out your seasonal veg, such as green peppers, red onion, and cherry tomatoes.

This easy Italian pasta salad boasts the best of what summer has to offer, but is also completely customizable depending upon what season it is and what’s at your local grocery store.

My family loves this served as an easy side dish at a church potluck dinner, summer barbecues, and for our regular ol’ easy family dinners.

If there are leftovers, it keeps well so you can enjoy it the next day!

ingredients laying on a wooden coaster

Why you’ll love this classic Italian pasta salad

  • It is a great recipe to toss together early in the day and eat later for those busy weeknights.
  • This is the perfect pasta salad to serve when you have an abundant harvest in your garden.
  • You can use whatever pasta you have on hand, such as rotini pasta, tri-color pasta, bowtie pasta, or even spaghetti.
  • This is, essentially, a pepperoni pizza pasta salad. What’s not to love?!
  • This classic pasta salad recipe is perfect for your next barbecue, such as this upcoming Memorial Day, since it is perfect for feeding a large crowd!
  • Add in some meat and enjoy it as a main dish or keep it as the perfect side dish for your summer dinners.
  • It’s an easy recipe that tosses up in one large mixing bowl, keeping the kitchen clean and making after supper cleanup a cinch!
pasta in a bowl with tomatoes and pepperoni

Tell me about this easy pasta salad

  • Texture– As with every good pasta salad, you get the crunch of the raw veggies, the chew from the pepperoni, and the creaminess of the mozzarella cheese.
  • Taste– It happens to be one of our favorite pasta salad recipes because the homemade Italian dressing paired with the flavors of fresh ingredients is simple yet extremely satisfying. It’s all of the classic Italian flavors in one creamy pasta salad.
  • Ease– My favorite thing about this perfect recipe is that, aside from cooking the pasta al dente, all you have to do is throw the simple ingredients into a bowl and enjoy!
  • Time– While your pasta of choice cooks according to the package directions, chop your bell peppers, onions, black olives, slices of pepperoni, and grape tomatoes. Whip up this simple zesty Italian dressing and you will have a delicious pasta salad in the time it takes to boil your pasta!
vegetables and pasta laying on a wooden board

Ingredients for Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni

  • Pasta– I prefer a spiral pasta or a bowtie pasta so the yummy dressing can get nestled down into the crevices, but use what you have on hand. Be sure to cook it until al dente and then stop the cooking of the pasta by running a bit of cold water over top.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese- There’s nothing better than tender mozzarella balls paired with Italian seasonings and flavors. If you don’t have fresh mozzarella pearls opt for a brick of mozzarella cheese and grate it fresh to get the best flavor!
  • Pepperoni– I use regular pepperonis for this dish most of the time, but my kids go crazy when I use the cute mini pepperoni. You can also use turkey pepperoni.
  • Bell Peppers– All of the colors of the rainbow… red bell pepper, green bell pepper, yellow or orange bell pepper.
  • Red Onion– I like the bite that red onions offer to this cold pasta salad recipe.
  • Sliced Olives– Drain a small can of sliced olives and toss them into this salad.
  • Parmesan Cheese– A good grated parmesan cheese is best. Steer clear of the powdery cheese in the green can.
  • Fresh Tomatoes– Use whatever you have available. Grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and even diced roma tomatoes work for this dish.
  • Zesty Italian Salad Dressing– Use yummy ingredients and whip up a homemade dressing (recipe can be found below) or grab your favorite tangy Italian dressing at the store and use that for ease. If you are looking for a super fresh dressing, turn this into a pesto pasta salad by adding a large jar of basil pesto in place of the creamy Italian dressing!
diced veggies and pepperoni on a bed of pasta

How to make this easy Italian Pasta Salad

  1. Boil Pasta– Cook your pasta until al dente.
  2. Chop your favorite veggies– Chop the veggies while the pasta cooks.
  3. Make the Dressing– Add the dressing ingredients to a mason jar, put on the lid, and give it a shake to mix it up!
  4. Assemble the Salad– Once the pasta has cooled to room temperature, toss all of the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!

Simple Italian Salad Dressing Recipe

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 11/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Add ingredients to a mason jar, put on the lid, and shake until combined. Pour over any of your favorite cold pasta salad recipes.

pasta in a bowl with tomatoes and pepperoni on a wooden spoon

Great Additions for Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni

  • Roasted Garlic Clove– Take your head of garlic and roast the garlic cloves to add a rich depth of flavor.
  • Cucumber– I love dicing or slicing up a fresh cucumber and adding it to this salad.
  • Artichoke hearts– If you love artichoke hearts, add in the zesty flavor with a few.
  • Green onions– If I don’t have red onion on hand, this is the next best onion for this pepperoni pasta salad recipe.

Other delicious Pasta Side Dishes

  • Lemon Garlic Pasta- Another summer favorite that can stand on its own as the main dish or served alongside your favorite grilled meat.
  • Smoked Mac and Cheese– This rich mac and cheese recipe is creamy and gooey as you’d expect any delicious mac and cheese to be.
  • Creamy Pesto Pasta- Go green and fresh with this amazing pesto pasta! It’s also as simple as it gets!
  • Creamy White Sauce Pasta– Add chicken and this becomes a meal in and of itself.
pasta in a bowl with tomatoes and pepperoni

Will pasta salad keep overnight?

Yes! I like to make the pasta salad and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over top to keep it from getting dry and sticky.

Then, right before I serve it, I toss it with the dressing.

Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni Recipe

pasta in a bowl with tomatoes and pepperoni

Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni

This is the BEST Italian pasta salad recipe that is an absolute crowd pleaser. It is a bright and flavorful cold pasta salad that features fresh vegetables, parmesan cheese, and of course, pepperonis all in one large bowl.
Prep Time 0 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Chopping Vegetables 7 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large pot for pasta

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ounces pepperoni slices, quartered
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bell pepper diced, green, red, yellow, or orange
  • 4 ounce can of sliced olives, drained
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup Zesty Italian Dressing, or homemade dressing below

Homemade Italian Dressing

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and cook your pasta until al dente.
  • While the pasta cooks, chop the veggies and add to a large serving bowl.
  • After the pasta is done, drain in a colander and allow pasta to come to room temperature.
  • While the pasta cools, make your dressing.
  • Add the dressing ingredients to a mason jar, put on the lid, and give it a shake to mix it up!
  • Add the pasta to the large serving bowl. Add the dressing to the large serving bowl. Toss the salad.
  • Add the cheese and pepperoni to the salad and toss once more. Serve immediately.

Notes

Will pasta salad keep overnight?

Yes! I like to make the pasta salad and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over top to keep it from getting dry and sticky.
Then, right before I serve it, I toss it with the dressing.
Keyword pasta salad, pasta with pepperoni

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