Italian pasta salad with basil, veggies, cheese and salami, with lemon dressing

Ultimate Italian Pasta Salad (video)

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Seriously amazing Italian pasta salad recipe! This easy and delicious Italian salad has so many flavors and textures and the aroma is mouthwatering! It’s made with al dente rotini pasta, loads of refreshing veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and onion; combined with salami, cheese, olives and more! I use an easy, homemade lemon dressing with dried herbs to bring everything together! You’ll love everything about this easy salad recipe! It’s perfect for picnics, barbecues or as a side to just about any meats!

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Preparing the Veggies

While your pasta is cooking away, it’s the perfect time to start on the veggies! This Italian pasta salad is packed with refreshing cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and bell pepper, onion and so much more! For the cucumbers, I like to use Costco’s cocktail cucumbers but a large English cucumber will also work great for this recipe. Chop the cucumber into rings, chop the cherry tomatoes in half, and cut the bell pepper and red onion into small chunks. I love the flavor of heirloom cherry tomatoes – they’re so sweet and delicious!

Next, slice up some olives and pepperchinis! I use an olive blend with green, kalamata and black olives. Use all three olive varieties or just one, all based on your preferences! Pepperchinis are a must for this Italian salad recipe! They’re just mildly spicy and add great flavor!

Italian salad recipe with pasta, veggies, cheese and olives

All the Best Fillings!

This incredible pasta salad wouldn’t be complete without some cheese, salami and nuts! I love to use cubed feta cheese for pasta salads – it holds its shape very well and the creamy texture is the perfect complement to the rest of the ingredients. The salami is also a must! I recommend purchasing a small log of salami and chopping it into small bites. This way, you’ll have a bit of salty salami flavor in every bite!

To add some unique nut flavor, I use toasted pine nuts for my Italian pasta salad. Just place 1/4 cup of plain pine nuts into a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Toss the nuts often and toast for about 2 minutes, until the nuts are fragrant and golden. Toasting the pine nuts really brings out their flavor!

Homemade Lemon Dressing

To bring all the ingredients and pasta together, I make an easy, herbed lemon dressing! I’m using all the best flavors of Italy: parsley, basil and oregano. This dressing is made simply with freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Just whisk everything together and the dressing is ready!

pasta salad recipe with lemon dressing, veggies, cheese, salami and olives

Bringing it Together!

Once you have all your veggies and fillings chopped, add them into an extra-large mixing bowl. Chop a small bunch of basil leaves and add those to the mix, too! The fresh basil will add so much incredible flavor! Add in the prepared pasta next. Pour the prepared lemon dressing over the top and use two large spoons to toss everything together!

I enjoy my pasta salad warm because the heat releases more aroma and flavor, but you can absolutely enjoy it cold, too! This salad will stand in the refrigerator for days so you can enjoy the next day, too!

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