This Italian pasta salad is the perfect portable meal for after school sports, lunchboxes, picnics or potlucks. It also makes an easy weeknight side dish recipe! Made with cubes of salami, mozzarella, artichoke hearts and veggies, the whole salad is tossed in a bright and flavorful red wine vinaigrette.
With back to school season upon us, I love making versatile dishes that I can pack my boys for lunch, and Rich and I can munch on as well! Healthy, well-balanced meals is made a lot easier by shopping the fresh produce and deli counter at D&W Fresh Market. In-between school drop-off and pick-up, I can have a grocery order ready to grab (or delivered!) with everything I need for my week of meals. By shopping and making my order online, it allows me to use digital coupons, so I can get my grocery shopping done within budget and make the best of sales and deals! So my kids don’t get bored with the same old sandwich every day, I like to shake things up by sending them with salads, soups, and wraps. Today I’m sharing my Italian Pasta Salad that can be made ahead, served as a side at dinner, or makes a great balanced lunch!
- Bowtie pasta: Fun and small, bite-sized pasta that mixes evenly with the rest of the salad.
- Salami: Hard salami is firm, chewy, and full of smoky flavor and high in protein to keep your kids full!
- Mozzarella: Semi-soft, mild, and milky in taste, mozzarella adds fats to keep your kids full.
- Artichoke hearts: Go for jarred over canned, when you can, as they are marinated and packed full of flavor.
- Red onion: Mild enough to eat raw, but they add great texture and flavor to the pasta salad.
- Bell pepper: I like to use red bell peppers for the color and because they are the sweetest, but you could use yellow, orange, or green peppers as well.
- Tomato: Cherry or grape tomatoes work perfect in this salad, as you just need to cut them in half and they’re bite-sized.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley adds bright, peppery flavor to the salad.
- Red wine vinegar: Makes for a great, acidic base for the vinaigrette dressing on the pasta salad.
- Olive oil: Helps to coat the salad in the dressing, and it’s heart-healthy and mild in flavor.
- Garlic: Nutty, aromatic, strong flavor in the salad dressing.
- Oregano: Earthy and somewhat minty in taste, it’s a common herb used in Italian cooking.
- Sugar: Sweetens and balances out some of the more acidic and savory flavors in the dressing.
HOw to Make Italian Pasta Salad
Start your Italian Pasta Salad by cooking your bow tie pasta according to package instructions.
While pasta is cooking, cut your salami and mozzarella from the deli counter into bite-sized cubes
Then take your fresh produce and wash and chop them as well.
Make your vinaigrette by putting the minced garlic, oregano, sugar, and some salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Then drizzle in the red wine vinegar and the olive oil.
Whisk it together until it combines, then set aside.
Then take your strained and rinsed pasta and add it to a large bowl.
Then add in the diced red bell pepper and red onion.
Followed by the cubed salami.
And the cubed mozzarella.
Then add in the halved cherry tomatoes and the chopped artichoke hearts.
Finish with the parsley and then drizzle the dressing over the top.
Mix it all together until it’s evenly combined.
Your Italian Pasta Salad is then ready to serve, either alongside dinner, or in a lunch box!
Change It Up
- Swap the proteins. Instead of salami, you could also use pepperoni or chicken!
- Add more vegetables. Mix it up and try different combos. You can use black olives, cucumber, broccoli.
- Use fresh herbs. Parsley isn’t the only herb used in Italian cooking. You could add basil, thyme, and more oregano.
- Make it cheesy. Mozzarella is great, but you could also use parmesan cheese, or give it a Greek twist with some feta cheese.
Frequently asked Questions
Do they eat pasta salad in Italy?
Yes, Italians eat pasta salads as well! Typically in the hotter summer months.
What kind of pasta is used in pasta salad?
Bow-tie, fusilli, and rotini pasta are all great choices for pasta salad.
HOw long does pasta salad last?
Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, pasta salad is good for up to 5 days.
More Lunch Dishes
- Lebanese Rice Bowls with Hummus
- Hummus and Hushwee Pinwheels
- Mediterranean Tuna Salad Sandwich
- Vegetarian Middle Eastern Pita Wrap
- Lebanese Fattoush Salad
Eat It, Like It, Share It!
Did you try this dish and love it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.
If you want to shake up what your family is having for lunch, then head to your local D&W Fresh Market to get what you need to make my Italian Pasta Salad.
Your fork is waiting.
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound bowtie pasta (or any short cut pasta of choice) (cooked according to package instructions)
- 8 ounces hard salami (cut in small cubes)
- 8 ounces mozzarella (cut in small cubes)
- 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup red onion (diced)
- 1 cup red bell pepper (seeded and diced)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- ½ cup parsley (minced)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, whisk the red wine vinaigrette in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta with all of the pasta salad ingredients (salami through parsley) then toss in the red wine vinaigrette. Check for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Disclosure: This recipe was developed in partnership with Spartan Nash. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. All thoughts are my own.