This Italian Pasta Salad is loaded with all the best ingredients. It’s brimming with juicy sweet cherry tomatoes. Crunchy crisp cucumbers. Savory black olives. Zesty Parmesan cheese. Sharp red onions. Fire-roasted red peppers. Spicy and savory salami. And tender rotisserie chicken. Everything combines to create a flavor explosion! The salad is dressed in a homemade creamy Italian dressing. However, if you prefer, you can pick up bottled dressing at the grocery store.
Keyword Italian Pasta Salad
Prep Time 25minutes
Total Time 25minutes
Servings 8as a side
3cupsuncooked pasta(such as small shells or rotini)
1cup (4 oz; 110g)rotisserie chicken,shredded and coarsely chopped
1/2cup (3 oz; 65g)salami,thinly sliced
1cup (160g)cherry tomatoes,halved
1/4cup (10g)flat leaf parsley,finely diced
1/2cup (63g)black olives,halved
1/2cup (90g)roasted red bell pepper,coarsely chopped (See Note 1)
1cup (125g)English cucumber(or Persian cucumbers) cut into half moons
1/4cup (30g)red onion,finely diced
1/3cup (20g)freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3cup (73g)red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2teaspoonDijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried oregano, Italian seasoning
1teaspoonwhite granulated sugar
1/2cup (104g)olive oil
2tablespoonsgood-quality full fat mayonnaise(I like Best Foods/Hellmans)
DRESSING: In a large mason jar, add all the dressing ingredients: 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon white sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons mayo, and salt & pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Put on the lid and shake to combine. It might take a minute of good vigorous shaking, but the mayo should completely integrate (keep shaking until it does). If you have time, make this ahead and chill in the fridge to intensify the flavors. Shake again right before mixing in to the salad.
PASTA: Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Make sure to generously salt the water (I add 1 teaspoon to every 4 cups of water). Don't forget to salt the pasta water or the whole salad will taste under-seasoned. Drain, rinse under cold water, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the prepared Italian dressing. Set aside.
SALADINGREDIENTS: Chop the rotisserie chicken, chop or thinly slice the salami, halve the tomatoes, finely chop the parsley, halve the olives, chop the pepper, chop the cucumber, and dice the red onion.
DRESSSALAD: Toss all the prepared veggies/meats with the pasta. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Add dressing to preference (we use it all, but you may like less!). Toss the salad. Season with any additional salt and pepper if needed.
ENJOY: Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Toss again and enjoy!
Note 1: You can buy jars of roasted red peppers at the store; they are usually near things like pickles, capers and artichoke hearts.