This Italian pasta salad recipe is rustic, delicious and hearty enough to be a main meal!
This lovely side dish can easily accompany a main course. But it’s also great as the main course if you are plant-based or even just enjoying a meat-free Monday night dinner.
I love a pasta salad that comes together easily, and one of the easiest dishes to put together is a cold pasta salad.
When the pasta is warm, any additional ingredients behave somewhat differently due to the heat. But when you use a cold pasta, each of the ingredients added really shines in it’s own right, making for a wonderfully, hearty and delicious meal.
CAN YOU MAKE PASTA SALAD THE DAY BEFORE?
Some yes, and some, no. It depends on what you put in them. This particular salad does super well cooked ahead of time as long as you add the dressing and fresh basil last minute. In fact, this salad can actually benefit from sitting for a bit in the fridge. Without the dressing and basil, you could actually make this two days in advance and still be in good shape the day of. That makes this a great salad for taking to family functions and summer barbecues.
CAN YOU FREEZE ITALIAN PASTA SALAD?
Again, that will greatly depend on the recipe. In general, I don’t like to freeze salads that are already mixed together. While you could certainly freeze certain components of this salad, I don’t recommend it here.
This salad has a good strong dressing. If you tend to enjoy milder flavors, cut the dressing spices in half, and add the dressing a little at a time, adding more to taste as you mix. You don’t have to use all the spices or even all the dressing. It will still be delicious!
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RUSTIC ITALIAN PASTA SALAD RECIPE:
Rustic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1/2 lb. whole grain pasta (or gluten free if needed)
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 3/4 cup chopped basil (packed loosely for measuring)
Italian Pasta Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup oil (I used grapeseed oil)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning (found in the spice aisle)
- 1/4 tsp. salt (or more to taste at serving)
- Cook pasta to package directions. Do not overcook. For this salad, al dente is best. Rinse well with cold water after draining pasta. Pasta should be completely cold after rinsing.
- While the pasta cooks, combine the dressing ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl and whisk together.
- When the pasta is ready, combine everything in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.