Pasta salad
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5 from 1 vote

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta salad is a fresh and vibrant summer salad with nutritious wholegrain pasta and a delicious Italian dressing. This classic pasta salad recipe is easy, healthy and packed full with Italian ingredients and flavour.
Course Dinner, lunch, party food
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 398kcal
Author Debbie


For the pasta salad

  • 250 g Wholewheat fusilli pasta dried, uncooked
  • 500 g heritage and/or baby tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 100 g cucumber chopped into small cubes
  • 80 g Red bell pepper chopped into small cubes
  • 60 g Black olives halved
  • 100 g Mozzarella pearls or large ball torn up
  • Handful of basil leaves roughly torn
  • Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped

For the Italian dressing

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider or any alternative cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Wholegrain mustard
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

For the topping

  • 10 g Freshly grated pecorino cheese or alternative hard cheese
  • Extra basil leaves


To make the pasta salad

  • Start by filling a pan half way with water. Bring the water to a gentle rolling boil then carefully add the pasta. Stir the pasta well after adding to the water. This prevents the pasta sticking together and from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for around 10 minutes until al dente. If using wholegrain pasta, this usually takes 2 or 3 minutes longer to cook than white pasta.
  • Once cooked, drain the pasta into a sieve and then rinse under the scold water tap to stop the cooking process. Pasta should be completely cold to the touch.
  • Add the cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, olives, mozzarella, torn basil leaves and chopped parsley. Carefully mix everything together.
    adding pasta salad ingredients to a mixing bowl

To make the dressing

  • In a small bowl mix together the oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, wholegrain mustard, juice from half a lemon and 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and mix in to fully coat all the ingredients.
    pouring italian dressing over the salad

To serve

  • Top with freshly grated pecorino and basil leaves
    top pasta with grated pecorino and fresh basil leaves



Click here to see traffic light Nutritional info for this recipe


To boost the protein content of this salad add in a tin of drained cannellini beans.

How do you cool pasta down for pasta salad?

Once the pasta is cooked it must be fully cooled, to do this drain the pasta into a sieve and then rinse under the cold water tap until the pasta is cold to the touch. There are 2 reasons for doing this. Firstly, to stop the cooking process and ensure the pasta doesn't go soggy. Secondly, to make sure that the rest of the ingredients stay crisp and fresh and don't become warm and soft from the residual heat in the pasta.
If you are cooking pasta for a warm dish, then it is not necessary to rinse the pasta. Instead add straight to the sauce.

How do you keep pasta from sticking together?

To ensure the pasta doesn't still together make sure the cooking water is boiling and stir the pasta well as soon as its placed into the water. After cooking rinse under cold water. If you aren't using the pasta right away it may eventually start to stick together. All you need to do is rinse the pasta under cold water again and toss until the pieces separate.

Can I make pasta salad ahead of time?

Yes pasta salad can be made well in advance then covered and stored in the fridge until ready to serve.

How long does pasta salad last?

Pasta salad will last 3 to 4 days if covered properly and kept in the fridge. This recipe a great option for meal prep and will easily provide meals for 3 or 4 days.


Serving: 296g | Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.4g | Protein: 15.8g | Fat: 16.2g | Saturated Fat: 5.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7.1g | Sodium: 360mg | Fiber: 9.6g | Sugar: 9.4g