During the summer there’s always a ton of holiday pot lucks, picnics, or family vacations that need to be catered. That’s where this Six Ingredient Pasta Salad comes in.
It takes less than 30 minutes to bring together and that’s mostly just waiting for the water to boil and pasta to cook! You really can’t beat that.
I have made this pasta salad countless times to bring to different events and have been asked for the recipe every single time. When I tell people how easy it is, they immediately jump on board with keeping this recipe around for themselves!
In college, it was simple and cheap enough that we made it for tailgates or on our excursions. I remember taking it to a theme park one day when we packed our own lunch in a cooler in the trunk because we couldn’t afford both the theme park tickets and buying lunch there.
It’s a great option to get out of the heat and out of the way of the crowds! We found a spot under a tree, put out a blanket and enjoyed a little picnic.
I froze juice boxes and used those as ice packs to keep our lunch cold. They’re also super refreshing when it’s super hot outside! Anyways…back to the pasta salad!
I personally love using the tricolor rotini just for a little bit of extra color and texture, but you can really use any type of pasta you would like. Maybe try ziti, orzo, penne, or bowties if you’d like to change it up!
The great thing about making this is how easy you can pull it together. Cut up some pepperoni and grape tomatoes, open and drain a can of olives, toss with some shredded mozzarella and Italian dressing and ta-da! You’re done! You can make it even simpler by buying those adorable mini pepperonis too!
Obviously doing it that way is just to make it as simple and as quick as possible. I know how crazy the summer gets and sometimes simple is the best especially with hectic schedules and long days. Keep these ingredients on hand for when a couple minute hangout turns into a dinner party!
I usually make the whole box of pasta whether I bring it to an event or just eat it as a side dish for myself. The great part about it is if you add a few pieces of grilled chicken you can call it dinner for the week!
I have definitely done that before so as a recommendation, add a little bit more dressing to it if you have it as leftovers. The pasta usually soaks up all of the goodness from the dressing.
You’re free to use fresh olives or add more ingredients to it as well! The versatility of this dish is wonderful!
I typically associate pasta salad with Italian flavors so you can try using pesto sauce instead of Italian dressing. Maybe add roasted red peppers or cut up some sun-dried tomatoes for even more layers of flavor!
Now with all of the wonderful summer vegetables growing you can make it really fresh with cut up peppers, squash, green beans and herbs. A simple vinaigrette made up of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette would make for a great pairing.
You could even try Mediterranean flavors with feta, olives, red onions, cucumbers, dill, and lemon juice! The options really are endless which is why I love this dish so much.
If you’re looking to try to impress your guests even more, make your own Italian dressing! It can be as simple as 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup vinegar, a few tablespoons of Italian herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley, a few dashes of salt and pepper, and some grated parmesan cheese to top it!
Be sure to shake it up well and mix thoroughly when you pour it on top of the remaining ingredients.
Watch the video on making this pasta salad:
- 1 box tricolor rotini
- 1 2.25 oz can of olives, drained
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- ½ cup pepperoni, cut into quarters
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add in rotini. Cook 8-10 minutes and drain. Let cool
- Once rotini is cool add in olives, shredded mozzarella, pepperoni, tomatoes, and drizzle with Italian dressing.
- Mix thoroughly and enjoy! Refrigerate any leftovers.