Rustic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

A side view of this healthy, Rustic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe shows the pasta, red peppers and fresh basil in a white bowl.

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 its 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.

A white bowl sits filled with this Clean Eating Rustic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe. You can see bits of olives, red peppers, fresh basil and a bit of the dressing scattered throughout the pasta.

Can You Freeze Italian pasta Salad?

Again, that will greatly depend on the recipe. In general, I don’t like to freeze pasta 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!


Remember to subscribe to my free, Gracious Pantry Newsletter to receive all my latest recipes in your inbox! Click here to sign up!

More Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes

Rustic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Copyright button.
A white bowl sits filled with this Clean Eating Rustic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe. You can see bits of olives, red peppers, fresh basil and a bit of the dressing scattered throughout the pasta.

Rustic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

A delicious pasta salad that tastes like it came from Grandma's rustic Italian kitchen.
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 385kcal


Italian Pasta Salad

  • ½ lb. whole grain pasta (or gluten free if needed)
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup chopped red bell peppers
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¾ cup chopped basil (packed loosely for measuring)

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning (found in the spice aisle)
  • ¼ 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 cooled 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.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 0.25the recipe | Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 394mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 930IU | Vitamin C: 25.3mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 3.5mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I make mine with squeeze of lime,grape seed oil,red wine vinager, tomatoes,onion,cucumber,olives and green beans balanced and chopped. All from my garden today.