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Cold Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing Recipe

This easy, vegan-friendly recipe is perfect for summer and can easily be made vegetarian by adding cheese.


Single Burner


Very Easy

cold pasta salad with summer vegetables in a green bowl with a green onion and tomatoes

Cold pasta salad for summer.

On hot summer days it is refreshing to eat something cold and loaded with seasonal veggies, like a chilled pasta salad. This pasta salad recipe uses Italian dressing and simple ingredients, so it is an easy side dish! You can choose to make the Italian Dressing from scratch, or you can use a bottle from the store.

Easy recipe for vegans, and vegetarians can choose to add cheese.

This is a good recipe for barbeques or potlucks because it is filling for people with meatless diets, can be adjusted with cheese for vegetarians, and also makes a nice side dish for most standard summer entrees regardless. It makes a sizeable amount with minimal effort too!


Substitute for Spinach: You can leave the spinach out. Whatever leafy green is added will wilt, and unlike spinach most leafy greens are not good wilted.

Substitute for olives: You can slice pitted olives if needed, even ones that are filled with pimentos or garlic cloves. You can also use diced sundried tomatoes in oil or feta cheese instead.

Substitute for green onions: You can use chives easily. Or in a pinch you can use 1/4 red onion, finely diced, and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes to help it have a less pungent flavor.

Substitute for chickpeas: You can use the same amount of navy or white beans instead. Or you can add feta or mozzarella cheese.

Adding cheese: If you would like to add cheese, you can add about 3/4 cup (85g) to 1 cup (110g) of feta or small balls of fresh mozzarella.

Let's begin:

pasta, chickpeas, green onions, olives, tomatoes, etc prepared in small bowls on a black countertop

Gather the ingredients. Cook the 8 oz pasta according to the package directions.

diced tomatoes, peppers, green onions, and spinach on a bamboo cutting board

While the pasta is cooking, drain the 1 15oz (400g) can of chickpeas or 1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas, and chop the 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh spinach (optional).

Dice the 4oz (115g) roasted red peppers, 1 yellow bell pepper, 6oz (170g) tomatoes, and slice the 2 green onions into narrow rounds. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt over the diced tomatoes and peppers to season them.

cooked fusilli pasta in a colander after being rinsed with cold water

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it into a colander and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. This is an important step because it is this rinsing that keeps the pasta from sticking together after chilling.

summer tomatoes, peppers, green onions, spinach, etc diced and in a large bowl with cooked pasta

Combine all the ingredients, including the 1/2 cup sliced mixed olives and 1 cup Italian dressing, into a large bowl, sprinkle with a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper, and mix evenly.

diced summer vegetables and pasta mixed together in a large glass mixing bowl to make pasta salad

Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour, but preferably 4-8 hours. Stir immediately before serving, being sure to stir the bottom up to the top.

pasta salad served in a green bowl on a wooden plank with tomatoes scattered around


What can I serve with this pasta salad recipe?

This is a great summer side dish that would go well with a barbeque or anything that could be found at a potluck! Here are some ideas of food that would go well;


Keep this dish chilled until the last possible minute. Pasta that is allowed to sit at room temperature for too long can become a food poisoning hazard. It is good in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Can I make it ahead of time? Yes! You can make it the night before it is needed!

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