Picnic Perfect Italian Pasta Salad

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This Picnic Perfect Italian Pasta Salad will not disappoint. It's the perfect side dish for parties and picnics. Or eat it by itself for a light, delicous and filling lunch.

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A few days ago I shared my Broccoli Salad recipe with you and today I’m going to share another party favorite – Italian Pasta Salad. This is perfect as a side dish for a summer BBQ or you can give yourself a larger bowl and make this your whole meal. It’s really that good. It has been so popular at our parties that we have even tripled the recipe and sold it as a catering dish in our restaurant. (Don’t tell my husband that I’m giving away all the secrets!)

What You’ll Need:

  • 16 oz Tri-Color Pasta
  • 7 oz Pepperoni
  • 8 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Can Sliced Black Olives (3.8 oz)
  • 8 oz Italian Salad Dressing
  • 1 Bell Pepper (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and place in storage container or bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, cut your pepperoni and cheddar cheese into bite-size cubes. 

Add the pepperoni, cheddar, olives and Italian dressing on top of the pasta. Mix until well combined. 

The pasta salad is best served cold. I chill for at least six hours, but usually overnight.

You may need to add additional dressing after it has chilled as the salad can absorb it. Some people like it more wet than others, so for parties and picnics I leave the remainder of the dressing in the bottle beside the salad on the serving table. That way the guests can add their desired amount. 

That's it! You've got your Picnic Perfect Italian Pasta Salad. Enjoy!

Italian Pasta Salad

Perfect for a picnic side dish or even a full lunch. Your guests will love this party favorite.
Prep Time20 mins
Cooling Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: BBQ side dish, pasta salad, salad, side dish
Servings: 6
Calories: 661kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 box Tri-Color Rotini 16oz box, cooked and drained
  • 7 oz Pepperoni Stick
  • 8 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese Block
  • 1 Can Sliced Black Olives 3.8oz can
  • 8 oz Italian Dressing May need more to desired coating
  • 1 Bell Pepper Optional

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and move to storage container.
  • Cut pepperoni into small squares and add to storage container.
  • Cut extra sharp cheddar into small squares and add to storage container.
  • Drain the olives and add to storage container.
  • Pour dressing into storage container and mix all ingredients together.

Notes

The pasta salad is best served cold. After everything has been mixed, put the container into the refrigerator for at least six hours. 
You may need to add additional dressing if you want a more wet salad. Some people like it dry and some like it wet, so you can leave the extra dressing on the side for party guests to add their desired amount.
When I am making this for a group I add a bell pepper, diced. When it's for home I don't add it because my family doesn't like them. 

Looking for more picnic and party food recipes? Check out my Easy & Delicious Broccoli Salad recipe.

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