Nothing screams summer quite like pasta salad! This Grain-free Italian Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish to serve with all your summer meals. It is full of vegetables and has a sweet and tangy dressing. This recipe can be adapted to be gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan.
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- Jovial grain-free pasta - Jovial cassava pasta is my favorite paleo and AIP-friendly pasta. It is cassava-based and is the main star of this recipe.
- Genoa salami or pepperoni - adds some protein and a little spice to this recipe. They can be left out for a vegetarian or vegan option.
- grape tomatoes - grape tomatoes are juicy and sweet during the summer months. They add beautiful color and flavor.
- kalamata olives - slightly tangy; these smooth and meaty olives provide texture and color.
- red and green bell pepper - yellow and orange bell peppers may also be used. Bell peppers are a nice crunch, freshness, and color.
- red onion - because red onion makes everything better!
- pepperoncini peppers - these mildly spicy peppers are a bright green color and have some heat.
- fresh parsley - parsley adds freshness and brightness to the pasta salad.
- olive oil - the main ingredient in the pasta salad dressing. I recommend using organic and high-quality olive oil.
- red wine vinegar - is the sharp and tangy component of the vinaigrette.
- garlic - use a Microplane to make sure the garlic is paste-like. This will allow all that garlicky flavor to absorb into the oil and vinegar. Finely mincing the garlic will also work if you don't have a Microplane.
- honey or maple syrup - adding a slight sweetness to the salad dressing to contrast with the vinegar.
- dried oregano - this favorite Italian herb adds depth and a robust flavor to the vinaigrette.
- optional: fresh mozzarella balls
- optional: freshly chopped basil
How to make
The pasta is cooked in boiling water, drained, and rinsed with cold water. The vegetables are chopped and then placed in a large bowl with the cooled pasta.
Next, the salad dressing ingredients are combined in a small Mason jar and shaken until well mixed. A small bowl also works if you do not have a Mason jar.
Next, the pasta salad dressing is poured over the top of the vegetables and pasta.
Lastly, they are all tossed together. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh basil and serve.
Tips & tricks for a delicious pasta salad
- Salt the water - adding salt to water adds flavor to the water which is absorbed by the pasta.
- Rinse the pasta - allows rinsing your cooked pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process. This also removes any starches that could make the pasta stick together.
- Regular pasta or gluten-free pasta - this recipe can be adapted to be made with regular pasta or gluten-free pasta. Just make sure the weight measurement of the pasta is the same.
- Vegetarian - to make this recipe vegetarian, remove the salami and/or pepperoni. The optional addition of fresh mozzarella balls will add some protein.
- Vegan - remove the salami and/or pepperoni.
What to serve with Italian Pasta Salad
Here are some of my favorite recipes to serve alongside Italian pasta salad:
- The Best Grilled Chicken
- Beef Skewers
- Grilled Romaine
- Grilled Mango Lime Chicken
- BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
How to make pasta salad ahead of time
This recipe can be made a day or two in advance. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta salad ingredients except for the vinaigrette. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Right before serving, toss the pasta salad with the salad dressing. Ideally, allow the pasta salad to sit and marinate for 15-20 minutes before serving so the pasta can soak up all the dressing.
How to store leftovers
Grain-free Italian Pasta Salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Unfortunately, this pasta salad recipe does not freeze well.
The photos for this recipe were taken by Raquel Lauren of Raquel Lauren Photography. To learn more, sign up for her email list where insiders will get exclusive photography and content tips. You can also follow her at @raquel.lauren on Instagram.
Grain-free Italian Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad:
- 1 Jovial grain-free pasta such as fusilli or penne
- 4 oz Genoa salami or pepperoni or a mixture of the two
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
- ½ red bell pepper, small diced
- ½ green bell pepper, small diced
- ⅓ cup red onion, small diced
- ½ cup pepperoncini peppers, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the dressing:
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- pinch of salt
- Place a stock pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. While the water is heating up, make the salad dressing by combing all the ingredients into a small mason jar and shake. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to the instructions. Strain and then rinse with cold water. Give the pasta a good shake to remove any excess water and then place it in a large serving bowl.
- Next, add the chopped salami, pepperoni, or a combination of the two along with the chopped grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, bell peppers, red onion, pepperoncini peppers, and fresh parsley.
- Lastly, pour the dressing over the top and toss the pasta salad together until everything is well combined. Serve right away or place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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