This is the perfect Easy Pasta Salad Recipe! Loaded with veggies, it’s dressed with creamy bottled dressing to make your life even simpler. Don’t wait to make this classic, go-to summer side dish that never goes out of style!
One of my favorite dishes to take to any potluck is this pasta salad recipe. It’s always a huge hit and it couldn’t be easier! It’s a perfect and perfectly satisfying side dish for potlucks and barbecues. I love to serve it with my Fruit Salad, Zucchini Casserole, Cheesy Potatoes, and Buffalo Chicken Dip!
Easy Pasta Salad Recipe
I get the most compliments for this summer side dish and I have a secret to share: I don’t even make the sauce homemade! I know! I use a bottled mix of …. well, just read on and I’ll share with you below!
I’m all about being in the kitchen and making homemade food for my family, but I’m not about spending hours and hours standing at the kitchen counter. I am always looking to create easy recipes that always turn out delicious. This simple yet amazing pasta salad is one of those recipes!
So what’s my favorite dressing to use in this salad? It’s Marzetti’s Original Slaw Dressing! YES! I know it sounds really odd but it is the perfect complement to your pasta salad. Everyone loves it and is shocked to find out exactly what I use!
If you want something a little lighter, try my Spaghetti Salad!
Ingredients for Easy Pasta Salad
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Tri-Color Rotini Pasta – You can use any brand. You can also use plain, non-colored pasta.
- Cucumber – For a nice juicy crunchy.
- Cherry Tomatoes – This is a great salad to make during tomato season because the tomatoes will taste extra good.
- Purple Onion
- Marzetti’s Orignial Slaw Dressing – This is my favorite dressing to use in this salad! You could also use a creamy Italian style salad dressing.
- Salt and Pepper – Sea salt or table salt and freshly ground pepper is best.
While I really think you should use the Marzetti’s dressing, if you can’t find it or prefer to use something else, you could use a bottle of Italian salad dressing or creamy Italian salad dressing. Either one will also bring loads of flavor to your pasta salad.
How To Make Easy Pasta Salad
You will be shocked at just how easy this dish is to make and you’ll wonder why you ever bought one of those little containers of pasta in the deli!
- Make the pasta: First, boil 1 box of pasta until al dente. I like to use rainbow rotini pasta for this dish. You could use any kind that you like, but I’ve found that it holds the sauce well and it looks pretty! Do not overcook. The pasta will soak up all of the dressing and will get softer as it sits.
- Prepare the vegetables: While the pasta is boiling, cut up 1 cucumber into bite-size pieces, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes in half and 1/4 of a purple onion – if desired. My kids don’t like the onion so I leave it out. But I really like it in this dish. It gives it a great flavor that isn’t overwhelming.
- Place pasta in bowl: Once the pasta is done cooking – about 8 minutes or so – drain all the water and add to a large bowl. You can run the noodles under cold water to stop them from cooking.
- Toss with veggies and sauce: Next, toss in your veggies and dressing.
- Mix and chill: Finally, mix everything together and chill the salad for at least 3-4 hours. Give a good stir when you’re ready to serve it.
Add the dressing to the pasta while it’s still warm – this will help the pasta to get fully coated with the dressing and make sure it soaks up all of that delicious flavor.
How to Store Pasta Salad
Store the leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve the salad cold and straight from the fridge.
Pasta salad goes so well with so many dishes! Here are a few of my favorites:
- With sandwiches. Pasta salad goes great as a side dish to any sandwich recipe you’re having! My favorite sandwich to have with this pasta salad is this Mississippi Roast Sandwich. The mild flavors of this recipe really complement just about anything.
- Alongside burgers. This easy pasta salad goes perfectly with hamburgers! Skip the fries and try this salad instead.
- On a potluck table with other cold salads. I have so many wonderful salad options! Some favorites are my Corn, Avocado and Cilantro Salad, Potato Salad, or other pasta salads including my Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad or Dill Pickle Pasta Salad recipes.
- With grilled meat. Try my Easy Grilled BBQ Chicken or BBQ Ribs alongside pasta salad for a filling meal.
Short, twisty pasta shapes like fusilli and rotini are great to use in for pasta salad as well as cavatappi, a larger pasta also known as “corkscrew macaroni.”
if you can, make this pasta salad the night before you plan to serve it. The long rest time in the fridge will help the dressing really soak into the pasta and vegetables, infusing them with lots of flavor.
You can rinse the pasta before using it in pasta salad if you wish.
- 1 box of Tri-Color Rotini Pasta
- 1 cucumber, cut up into bite-size pieces
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small purple onion, diced
- 1 jar of Marzetti’s Orignial Slaw Dressing
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta according to box directions. Drain and place pasta in a large serving bowl.
- Prepare the veggies by cutting them into bite-size pieces.
- Mix entire jar of dressing into the pasta.
- Add the prepared vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the salad in the fridge and chill for several hours or overnight before serving.