One of the quintessential dishes for summer is always a great pasta salad. It’s full of bright flavors, served cold and always hits the spot. My mom has been making this summer pasta salad recipe for as long as I can remember. It’s my go-to potluck dish for summer get togethers and a perfect side dish for any BBQ. In our Italian home, pasta has always been such a comfort food. And this is the best way to enjoy it in the summertime. This summer pasta salad is super easy and just has a few ingredients. A few fresh vegetables, olives and a premade dressing. It’s so simple you’ll be making it weekly for the rest of summer, guaranteed!
For this recipe, you can really swap out a few things and customize it however you like. Traditionally we’ve always had it with broccoli (sometimes also cauliflower), grape tomatoes and black olives. A few other things you can add in are diced carrots, red onion, zucchini, the list goes on. For the dressing, it’s always been classic Wishbone Italian dressing. Seems sac-religious as an Italian, but it’s just so damn good and has all the flavors in it. The pasta will soak this up quite a bit, so you may need to add, let it sit for a while, then toss and add some more to taste. If you don’t like pre-made dressing (I rarely ever use this except for this recipe) just use a standard vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic powder. That’s always been our go to dressing for an easy salad.
An easy summer pasta salad that's mayonnaise-free perfect for summer picnics.
- 1 box tri-color rotini
- 1 cup brocolli
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Wishbone Italian Dressing
Cook pasta according to box instructions for al dente
While pasta cooks, prepare vegetables.
Toss all ingredients together and let cool
Add additional dressing if needed to taste
Feel free to swap out vegetables for your favorites. Personally, I like to blanch the broccoli for about 30 seconds so I add it into the pasta right before I take it off the stove to drain.
Photos by Hannah Michelle