This is a completely Easy Pasta Salad recipe that is heavy on the fresh veggies! Cooked pasta is mixed with tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, peppers, and peas and then dressed with a store bought Zesty Italian dressing. It is the perfect cold side dish, especially for a bbq!
Being stuffed with all the fresh veggies this is a pretty healthy side dish too.
If you are looking for other salad side dishes that are perfect for a cookout or bbq check out my Instant Pot Potato Salad or Broccoli Bacon Salad.
Tips For Cooking The Pasta
For this pasta salad recipe you will be adding the pasta to the veggies while it is still warm without rinsing with cold water. Because of this you will want to make sure you cook your pasta to al dente, meaning it still has a little bite to it and it isn’t cooked completely soft. The pasta will continue to cook just a bit while it cools in the fridge.
By adding the pasta to the salad warm it soaks in some of the salad dressing, giving your pasta salad better flavor throughout.
How to Make Easy Pasta Salad
Start by cooking your pasta (I like rotini or cavatappi) to an al dente per the package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking prep all your veggies and place them in a large serving bowl. You can just put the peas in frozen since the warm pasta will thaw them perfectly. It is optional to add onions. I like to add about a ¼ cup of red onions
TIP: rinse your onion so that the flavor does not take over the salad. It will also help prevent you from tasting onion for the next 4 hours!
When the pasta is done cooking drain the water but do not rinse. Pour the warm pasta over the veggies and then dress with 1 cup zesty Italian dressing. Give it a good stir.
Could also use this Basil Vinaigrette for a change in flavors!
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hrs up to 12 hours before serving. If you can stir it a couple times while it refrigerates it will distribute the flavor better.
This pasta salad recipe is the perfect addition to a bbq or cookout. Here is a great menu to plan for your next backyard party:
- Burgers topped with Bacon Jam and Boursin Cheese
- Easy Pasta Salad
- Instant Pot Potato Salad or Classic Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
- Raspberry Jello Fluff
- Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and/or Vodka Lemonade
- Apple Pie Bars for dessert
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Easy Pasta Salad with Tons of Veggies
- 1 cup black olives
- 1 cup cucumbers seeded and chopped in half
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup bell pepper any color, cut into 1 inch chunks
- ¼ cup red onion, chopped **These Are Optional rinse your red onion so the flavor doesn't take over the salad. Could also use green onion.
- ½ lb pasta, cooked to al dente per package instructions, do not rinse I like to use rotini or cavatappi
- 1 cup Zesty Italian Dressing see notes*
- Cook your pasta to al dente according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile prep your veggies and place in the bottom of a large serving bowl – 1 cup black olives, 1 cup peppers, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 cup cucumbers, 1 cup frozen peas, and ¼ red onion (optional).
- Drain the pasta but DO NOT rinse. Place the hot pasta over the veggies then pour 1 cup Zesty Italian Dressing over top. Give it a few stirs to coat.
- Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours up to 12 hours before serving. If you are able, stir it a few times while it refrigerates to redistribute any dressing.
If nutrition facts are provided they are calculated as an estimate to the best of our knowledge.
Perfect spring and summer recipe. Loved this dish!!