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Front shot of a bowl of creamy pasta salad with serving tongs
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4.5 from 4 votes

Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe

Full of fresh, flavorful ingredients, this Creamy Pasta Salad recipe is a quick and easy dish for picnics, potlucks with friends, or light and satisfying dinners.
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword creamy pastsa salad recipe, Italian salad, pasta salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 211.3kcal
Author Blair

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (about 7 ounces) uncooked rotini pasta (about 4 cups cooked)
  • ¾ cup Creamy Italian salad dressing (such as Wish-Bone brand)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 sweet bell pepper (any color), seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup mini or diced pepperoni
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup cubed fresh mozzarella (or substitute with diced cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool completely.
  • While the pasta cooks, prepare the dressing by whisking together Creamy Italian salad dressing and mayonnaise. Set aside.
  • Once pasta is completely cool, transfer it in a large bowl. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, pepperoni, olives, cheese and basil. Pour dressing over top and gently toss to combine. You might not need all of the dressing right away. I usually reserve about ¼ cup of the dressing so that I can add a little bit more just before serving.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Add cooked, diced chicken or cooked shrimp to the salad for an even heartier dish.
  • Try other fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley or oregano.
  • Any cheese will work! Diced cheddar or little cubes of Monterey Jack would be great substitutes for the mozzarella.
  • My boys don't love olives, so I sometimes omit the olives and replace them with an equal amount of diced cucumber or diced celery.
  • Any short pasta shape will work. For instance, you can substitute with macaroni, penne or bowtie in lieu of the rotini.
  • I like Wish-Bone Creamy Italian dressing for this recipe, but any similar prepared dressing will work.
  • Try using a bottle of Ranch dressing in lieu of the Creamy Italian dressing.
  • Make Ahead: You can prepare this salad up to 24 hours in advance. Save some extra dressing and add more just before serving, if necessary.
  • While it's best enjoyed within 24 hours, the creamy pasta salad will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • I do not recommend freezing the pasta salad, since the vegetables and pasta will have a mushy texture when thawed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 211.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.9g | Protein: 3.9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 8.6mg | Sodium: 403.6mg | Potassium: 86.9mg | Fiber: 2.4g | Sugar: 2.2g