This Italian Style Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Tomatoes is loaded with Italian flavors for a light and refreshing meal. It’s a super quick and easy pasta salad recipe that takes just 20 minutes to make.
Why This Recipe Works
It couldn’t be easier to toss together this cold pasta salad with salami. While your pasta cooks to al dente, you’ll chop some veggies and jarred ingredients, then toss everything together. That’s it! If you love quick and easy recipes, you’re going to want to keep this one.
- The dish is easy to make ahead, just like this Easy Veggie Burger Recipe
- It’s also loaded with Italian flair, much like the Creamy Italian Chicken in Tomato Sauce.
- The pasta soaks up all the salty and savory flavor from the easy homemade Italian dressing.
- You can also easily swap out the ingredients to use what you have on hand.
- Finally, this is a simple 20-minute (or less) dish for entertaining or a weeknight. You can serve it with Keto Shrimp Scampi With Zucchini Noodles for a well-rounded, healthy meal.
What Goes Into This Recipe
To start out, here’s what you need for this easy Italian pasta salad recipe:
- Pasta. You can use any short-cut pasta you like.
- Italian salami. For the best texture, choose a whole salami that you can cut into cubes, rather than pre-sliced salami.
- Marinated artichoke hearts. These should be well-drained before adding them to the salad.
- Mozzarella pearls. These are the small fresh mozzarella balls, but you can also use larger ones and cut them into small pieces.
- Parmesan cheese. This adds wonderful saltiness and creaminess to the pasta salad.
- Black and green olives. Make sure they’re pitted!
- Cherry tomatoes. For added color, use multi-color tomatoes.
- Red onion. This adds a nice bite to the dish.
- Parsley for an herby finish.
If you don’t have every ingredient in this recipe, no worries. Here are a few simple ingredient swaps that work like a charm:
- Feel free to use any type of short cut pasta. I find that dry pasta works better because it has more body and structure to hold up to the hearty ingredients in this Italian style pasta salad. Any of these small pasta shapes will work great: fresh tortellini, rotini, penne, orzo, orecchiette, macaroni, fusilli, farfalle, elbow macaroni, ditalini, bow tie pasta.
- You can also substitute the mozzarella for crumbled feta cheese. But don’t tell Italians, they might not like that 🙂
- Swap the Italian salami for pepperoni or chorizo, which adds a nice spice. Or use crunchy bacon, YUM.
- You can even use leftover shredded chicken to make this salad even more filling.
- In addition, you could add juicy grilled or sauteed shrimp on top!
- Feel free to mix up the veggies, too. However, if you’re not a fan of olives, use pickled or roasted red peppers. Hearts of palms and sundried tomatoes are also delicious.
How to Make This Cold Pasta Salad with Salami
Start by cooking the pasta to al dente. Use a large, well-salted pot of boiling water and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, make the Italian dressing. I like to use a small jar. Simply add all the dressing ingredients and shake until the dressing is smooth and uniform.
Next, chop all the ingredients for the salad. You want things to be roughly the same size and small enough to eat in one bite. I also like to include some tiny chopped pieces for extra flavor.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Then let it cool for a few minutes. Finally, add all of the chopped salad ingredients to the pasta, drizzle with the Italian dressing, and toss to coat. Mangia!
How to make the best pasta salad dressing?
This Italian pasta salad dressing is simple. I think the best version is a bit creamy, but the important thing is the flavor. So make sure to use high-quality olive oil and vinegar; it will make the difference, I promise!
To make an easy Italian dressing for pasta salad or any salad, you need a few simple ingredients like EVOO, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add everything to a small jar. If you want the dressing creamier, you can add mayo. Adding a sweetener like honey or maple syrup will help balance all the flavors. Add the lid tightly and shake to emulsify.
Can you make the dressing without mayo?
Yes, you can leave the mayo out of the dressing. But since it adds delicious creaminess, I recommend replacing it with plain yogurt or sour cream.
Can I make this easy pasta salad recipe vegan?
Yes! I’ve tested it as a vegan Italian pasta salad and loved it! Here’s what I changed to make it vegan:
1. First, I used vegan mayo for the dressing and substituted honey for maple syrup.
2. Next, I substituted the Italian salami for chopped vegan sausage. You could also use chickpeas or another bean.
3. Finally, swapped out the parmesan for nutritional yeast and used vegan mozzarella.
Can I make the salad with leftovers?
Oh yes! Leftover shredded or diced chicken or turkey work very well in this easy pasta salad recipe. Also try grilled veggies! I love the salad with grilled peppers or zucchini!
Can you make the Italian style pasta salad gluten-free?
It’s so easy to make it gluten-free! Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
Can you make this easy pasta salad recipe for meal prep?
If you ask me, this makes the perfect pasta salad for meal prep. That’s because it doesn’t include any greens that get mushy. So go ahead and double or triple the recipe so you can enjoy it all week long. Then simply store the salad in air-tight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
However, I do not recommend freezing the salad. That’s because cooked pasta and cheese will lose their nice texture after freezing and defrosting.
Here are the expert tips to keep in mind when making this quick and easy pasta salad recipe:
- Be sure to only cook the pasta to al-dente, which usually means 1-2 minutes less than the time on the package. Nobody likes a mushy salad! Also, if your pasta noodles tend to stick together, you may want to add a tablespoon of oil to the cooking water.
- When it comes to cutting the artichokes, olives, and tomatoes, I recommend cutting some into very small pieces and others into larger pieces. The tiny pieces will mix up very well and infuse the dish with flavor, and the bigger ones will give the salad more texture.
- For even more freshness, you can add greens. Arugula, spinach, kale, or chopped cucumber are all great. I would even go for some blanched asparagus! I love asparagus in salad, like this salad with asparagus, avocado, and tomatoes. Blanched broccoli would be a great addition as well.
- Letting the pasta cool a bit before you add the other ingredients will help make sure the cheese doesn’t melt. You can pop it into the fridge if you’re in a time crunch. Toss the pasta every few minutes to release more steam and heat.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Creamy Chicken Mushroom Pasta with Alfredo Sauce
- Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta
- Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes
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Italian Style Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Tomatoes
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 8 oz (226g) short-cut pasta of choice
- 6 oz (170g) Italian salami - chopped
- 1 14-ounce (396g) jar marinated artichoke halves - drained and chopped
- 8 oz (226g) fresh mozzarella pearls - drained
- 1/4 cup (25g) Parmesan Cheese - finely grated
- 1/2 cup (90g) black olives - pitted and sliced diagonally
- 1/2 cup (90g) green olives - pitted and sliced diagonally
- 10 oz (283g) cherry tomatoes - halved
- 1/2 medium red onion - finely diced
- 1/3 cup parsley - finely chopped
- 3 tbsp (45ml) white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp (45ml) mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning mix
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 garlic clove - finely grated or pressed
- Sea salt and ground pepper - or to taste
- Fill a large pot with water and add 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Bring to a boil over high.2 tsp sea salt
- Once bubbling, carefully add in the pasta and cook according to package instructions.8 oz (226g) short-cut pasta of choice
- Meanwhile, in a small jar, add all the dressing ingredients and shake vigorously to emulsify.3 tbsp (45ml) white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp (45ml) mayonnaise, 2 tsp Italian seasoning mix, 1 tbsp raw honey, 1 garlic clove, Sea salt and ground pepper
- Chop all the ingredients for the salad.
- Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and set aside in a large bowl. Allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Add the remaining prepped ingredients to the bowl with the pasta.
- Drizzle with the dressing.
- Toss to combine and serve!
- You can use any kind of short-cut pasta you like for the salad.
- Only cook the pasta to al dente to avoid a mushy salad.
- Feel free to swap out the mozzarella for another kind of soft cheese, such as feta.
- Add extra protein to the antipasti salad with shredded chicken or grilled shrimp.
- To make the pasta salad vegan, omit the meat and use plant-based mozzarella. Skip the mayo in the dressing as well, or use dairy- and egg-free mayo.
- To make a gluten-free version, use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- I recommend cutting of the veggies into very small pieces and others into larger pieces. The tiny pieces will mix up very well and infuse the dish with flavor. The larger pieces add texture.
- Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days. This salad is great for meal prep, and it won’t wilt after you add the dressing, because there are no tender greens.
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