Italian Pasta Salad | This cold pasta salad is great for an easy dinner, or a side for a picnic or BBQ. This recipe is based around simple pantry items like pasta, vinegar, oil, and spices plus some jarred additions like artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives, and pepperoncinis.
If you're looking for a great pantry staple dish, this is it. You might be looking for a two week meal plan for eating all of your meals at home or the perfect side dish for a picnic or backyard BBQ. Whatever your needs are, this easy pasta dish is perfect alongside a burger, grilled chicken or simply with some steamed or roasted vegetables on the side.
How to make easy pantry meals
If you find that you can't get to the store for fresh produce but you don't want to eat frozen meals you can still make great meals with pantry items all while keeping ultra-processed foods out of your diet. A jar of roasted red peppers can contain only peppers, water, salt and citric acid such as these peppers by Mezzetta. (Not sponsored and I did not use this brand in this recipe, it's just an example).
Pantry items used in this recipe:
- pasta - the shape of your choice! This does not matter so use whatever is available to you
- oil + vinegar - this is the beginnings of many salad dressings. From here you can add a variety of items to end up with different dressings - things like mustard, honey, spices, herbs, etc.
- jarred red peppers, pepperoncinis, olives, and artichokes
- a homemade spice mix - I love my homemade spice mixes, I've posted a few of them and this is one of the ways I use them
- if you have access and have these ingredients in your fridge, the tomatoes, mozzarella, and salami are great in this recipe. Leave the salami out for a vegetarian dish!
Let's make a cold Italian Pasta Salad
You'll first need to boil and drain your pasta. Cook whatever pasta shape you're using according to the package directions and then drain it and rinse with cold water. This will stop the cooking process and help your pasta to not stick together.
While the pasta boils, you can make the dressing. In a small bowl or in a container with a lid, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, my homemade Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir the ingredients in the bowl or shake them if you're using a lidded container. (I like this way best, it helps the mustard emulsify the mixture, keeping it together.)
Now chop everything you need to - the tomato, artichokes, olives, pepperoncinis, red peppers, salami, and basil.
Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add all of the ingredients and mix together. Eat immediately, or refrigerate until needed. Keeps a few days in the fridge, covered. Stir before eating.
Other Easy Pantry Meals
- Pasta + sauce + frozen or canned vegetables
- Canned tuna or chicken salads
- Oatmeal fortified with flax seeds, chia seeds, nut butter, dried fruits or overnight oats like these Cinnamon Roll Overnight Oats
- Homemade Soup - this is great for pantry items like stock, frozen or canned vegetables, spices + herbs, and pasta or rice, check out my Free Printable Guide on How to Make Homemade Soup with what you have on hand
- Sesame Noodles
- Easy Chow Mein Noodles with frozen vegetables
- One-Pot Chipotle Pumpkin Bucatini
- Pad Thai
- Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken with frozen chicken and brown rice
- Instant Pot Curries like this Chickpea Curry
- Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken with Orzo
- Homemade bread, like Focaccia Bread - homemade bread is a great pantry recipe because it takes simple items like flour, yeast, water, salt, and sugar. You can also add pantry items like olives and herbs to change it up a bit
Share your favorite Pasta Salads or Pantry Meals with me in the comments.
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 lb short pasta shape of your choice (I used Radiatore)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- ½ cup fresh mozzarella balls
- ¼ cup artichokes (chopped)
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers (chopped)
- ¼ cup green olives (halved)
- ¼ cup pepperoncini (chopped)
- ½ cup genoa salami (chopped )
- fresh basil
- Boil your noodles according to package instructions. Drain them and then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set the noodles into a large mixing bowl.
- Mix together all of the dressing ingredients, measure ½ cup and set aside.
- To the bowl of pasta, add the sliced tomato, mozzarella balls, artichokes, roasted red pepper, green olives, pepperoncini, and salami. Add some chopped basil. Add the half cup of the dressing and then toss everything together. Garnish with more fresh basil.
- Use whatever short pasta shape you have on hand.
- I used only ½ cup of the dressing recipe, use however much you like.