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This Really Good Pasta Salad is a flavor-packed pasta salad recipe making it the perfect recipe for summer entertaining! Get my tips below for making it extra delicious.
Thank you to everyone who joined me yesterday at my little cactus-themed party. Today I’m continuing the fun with my recipe for the Pasta Salad featured in that post. It’s aptly called Really Good Pasta Salad.
You may remember that a few years ago I shared a recipe for Really Good Macaroni Salad (which, by the way, has become one of the most popular recipes here on IBC.)
The reason I described that salad and this one as “really good” versus something like “the best” or “the ultimate” is because I haven’t tried all of the pasta salads in the world. Plus, even if I did, what I think is best might be different from you think is best. Make sense?
How to Make a Really Good Pasta Salad?:
This pasta salad recipe is from my mom. While she often comes to me for new recipes, I always go to her for classic recipes from my past. We make a good team like that! I’ve loved this pasta salad for years, so I’m happy I finally have a chance to make it for you.
As you can see, this pasta salad recipe has a lot of delicious little goodies mixed in – cheese, olives, broccoli, pepperoni, salami, and so on.
I think the variety of ingredients creates a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. However, if you hate olives (or another non-essential ingredient), feel free to leave them out.
What do you put in Pasta Salad?
Honestly, it’s personal preference, but here are a few of my favorite pasta salad ingredients:
- sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
- salami, cubed
- cherry tomatoes, sliced
- green pepper, chopped
- banana pepper, chopped
- olives, whole and chopped
- red onion, diced
- broccoli, small florets
Also, when you’re chopping all of the ingredients, I recommend keeping the pieces pretty small. This is my trick for creating any really good pasta-type salad.
The goal is to get as many of those tasty flavors into a serving as you can. If you only have eight pieces of broccoli in the salad because you cut them so big, it’s likely that not every serving will have broccoli.
All right, let’s whip up a batch!
For more Easy Pasta Salad Recipes, Check Out:
- Southwest Pasta Salad
- California Cobb Pasta Salad
- Really Good Macaroni Salad
- Ramen Noodle Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Fall Harvest Pasta Salad
I could make a meal out of this stuff. That’s how much I like it!
Oh, and for those who were asking, you can find that fun light-up marquee-style cactus here and the wooden cactus cutlery here. The adorable mini clay cacti were a DIY. You can learn how to make those here. The white ceramic cactus was a HomeGoods find. You can find the recipe for the Prickly Pear Margarita here.
I hope you enjoyed this Really Good Pasta Salad recipe! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
The Best Pasta Salad Recipe:
Really Good Pasta Salad
- 1 pound cellentani pasta prepared al dente and cooled
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 1 cup broccoli chopped
- 1 cup green olives sliced or whole (I did a mix of both.)
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese cubed
- 1/2 cup banana peppers chopped
- 1 cup mini pepperoni or pepperoni cubed
- 1/2 cup salami cubed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
- 1 medium green pepper diced
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, add the cooled pasta, red onion, broccoli, green olives, cheese, banana peppers, pepperoni, salami, cherry tomatoes, and green pepper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (About 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.)
- Add the dressing to the bowl of pasta. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Toss again before serving.
I will be trying this version, I have had something similar to this and yours look like a better fit for me. Thanks for sharing.
Love your recipes and instructions! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing yet another amazing recipe! Everyone of your recipes I try are always spot on! I also appreciate the stories you have that go along with each carefully selected recipe!
You don’t have to put meat in it it’s still good
You must be reading my mind! I’ve been craving a pasta salad for a couple weeks now!
This is happening next week for sure — when I get back to my own kitchen!
5 stars just looking at it.
I made this today. I added kalamata olives as well. It’s very good. Lots of chopping but well worth it.
Are the banana peppers fresh or pickled? Just need to clarify 🙂
The jarred variety at the store. 🙂
I’m now hungry! Your photos really make me want to try this. I’ve never tried this type of pasta. I’ll have to see if a local deli carries it. I think that would make the salad taste better.
How many servings does this make??
Excellent recipe, especially the dressing! Thanks for sharing.
I made this pasta salad for my husband’s lunches and he enjoyed it very much. I thought it was very tasty too !
I’ve made this several times and it’s delicious – even better that my friend’s recipe and she is an awesome cook!
Made this today for Memorial Day picnic – dressing is way too sweet for my taste!! I would recommend using just 1 or 2 tbsp of sugar instead of 1/3 cup.
Why does the recipe say to slice the olives??? Every single photo shows the olives whole!!!
I think I sliced half and left half whole. My apologies. I can update the recipe to note that.
Exceptional salad, everyone loved it😀Thank you Michael!! Be well…
So glad it was a success! Thanks, Connie!
This pasta dish looks delicious and attractive with vegetable. I will try to make it. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I remember eating this at your Mom’s house for several events. This recipe is delicious! You and your Mom are very talented in the kitchen.
Yum!!!! Will be making this for sure! Love the dressing! Thank you and oh my…. cactus party? How cool!
Looks delish! I will be making this soon!