Italian Pasta Salad
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Italian Pasta Salad is bow tie pasta tossed with grilled vegetables, salami, olives, chickpeas and a zesty Italian dressing. It’s the ultimate pasta salad!
We’ve passed the 4th of July, so you know what that means…summer is in a downward spiral. Do you feel like the bottom falls out after the 4th and summer flies after that? I sure do.
It goes faster every year, too, so I intend to enjoy what’s left of summer to the fullest. That includes indulging in plenty of summery food and beverage, and this Italian Pasta Salad is something that falls into that category perfectly.
Italian chopped salad has always been a favorite of mine, which is why I decided to do a pasta salad spin here. I love this version because it’s full of fresh ingredients like grilled zucchini, bell peppers and fresh basil, but it’s still plenty hearty with salami, fresh mozzarella, chickpeas and olives.
Toss it all up in my homemade Italian dressing, and it’s the perfect summer side dish that will be perfect with whatever you’re grilling up.
This Italian pasta salad would be nothing without the pasta (obviously!), and I used Barilla pasta for my dish because it’s my go-to.
Barilla happens to be Italy’s #1 brand of pasta, probably because it cooks up perfectly al dente every time. It always makes dinner quick and easy!
If you’re making grilled bbq chicken or burgers or some other type of protein, grill them right along side the veggies, let the meat rest for 10 minutes, and your dinner will be ready in about 30 minutes.
This pasta salad with Italian dressing is about being as effortless as possible with maximum flavor. It is summer after all, so we need time to relax and enjoy!
This Italian pasta salad is totally customizable, which is one of the best parts. If you don’t have zucchini or bell peppers, you can grill up whatever veggies you have on hand. Have some cherry tomatoes lying around? Add those too! No fresh mozzarella? Use parmesan cheese instead. You can truly make this pasta salad your own by customizing it to your liking with ingredients you love.
A big bowl of this Italian Pasta Salad and a big glass of icy cold tea were just what I needed to enjoy my summer evening.
More summer side dishes you’ll love:
The best potato salad recipe by A Spicy Perspective
Italian Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad:
- 1/2 lb. Barilla farfalle pasta
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium zucchini sliced lengthwise into 1/4" thickness
- 1 red bell pepper cored (cut from top to bottom on each side of the pepper)
- 1 yellow bell pepper (cut from top to bottom on each side of the pepper)
- 15 ounces chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cubed (or mozzarella balls halved)
- 3.3 ounces black olives
- 4 ounces salami cut into 1" pieces
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 cup basil sliced into chiffonade*
- Homemade Italian Dressing
Prepare the pasta salad:
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Place in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain.
- While the pasta water is coming to a boil, preheat the grill to medium high. Toss the zucchini with the 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and place on the grill. Grill 2-3 minutes per side until charred and softened and remove from heat. Cut into 1" pieces.
- Place the red bell peppers cut side UP and cook until the outer skin is almost completely blackened, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, place in a bowl, and cover with foil. After 5 minutes, remove from the bowl and peel off the blackened skin and chop into 1" pieces.
- Place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the grilled zucchini, peppers, chickpeas, cheese, olives, salami, red onion, and basil.
Prepare the vinaigrette:
- Whisk the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice, and oregano in a small bowl until combined. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add the desired amount of vinaigrette to the pasta salad and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or make in advance and serve chilled. Enjoy!
- *To chiffonade basil, place the fresh basil leaves in a stack, and roll lengthwise, then cut perpendicular to the roll.
- This salad may be made in advance and stored covered in the fridge. Use just enough dressing to coat, then add a bit more before serving if it seems a bit dry.
- This salad is very customizable and perfect to make with whatever you have on hand!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.