This Pasta Salad is wrapped in a Homemade Italian Dressing and loaded with all the best Pizza Toppings!
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The ULTIMATE Italian Pasta Salad
Look, is this the most traditional Italian pasta salad you’ve ever seen? Absolutely not. BUT, let’s all come together here and celebrate the two most glorious things on planet earth – pizza and pasta. I know, I can hear Italian tears dropping to the ground. But it’s here, it’s happened and ultimately it’s outrageously delicious, and quite frankly that’s all that matters. Here’s why you’re gonna love it:
- Flavour – This isn’t just a novelty dish, it’s actually bursting with flavour! From the fresh basil to homemade dressing, it really does pack a punch.
- Fun – I mean, how can combining pizza and pasta not be fun? Okay don’t answer that.
- Easy – Pot to plate in 20mins and zero cooking ability required!
Its one of those recipes that’s perfect in so many contexts: great for pot luck, an easy BBQ side dish or even just to whip up for lunch!
Italian Salad Dressing
I honestly can’t remember the last time I got store bought dressing, especially Italian dressing. The difference between store bought and homemade is craaaaaaazy. PLUS it’s ridiculously quick and easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Oil – Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best choice for it’s classic flavour.
- Vinegar – Red Wine Vinegar is preferable, but White Wine Vinegar works just as well. Wine vinegars are great because they’re not quite as acidic as plain vinegars, and they also have a gorgeous undertone of flavour.
- Herbs – The herb I use here is oregano, just to load up on that classic ‘pizza’ flavour. I also use parsley. Basil is another great choice, but I actually use fresh basil in the salad itself so it’s not needed here.
- Seasoning – Salt and pepper of course, chilli flakes are optional and sugar is essential. Sugar won’t actually noticeably sweeten the dressing per say, more balance out the acidity.
Emulsifying Salad Dressing
You’ll notice when you make it the oil and vinegar separate. In order to emulsify the two you’ll want to either vigorously whisk together, or, place everything in a jar and shake like your life depends on it. I mean, just a few shakes will do. I actually prefer using a jar because it’s not only easier to emulsify the dressing, but it’s easier to store.
Pizza Pasta Salad
Yes, there are a million and one different pizza toppings in the world, but here’s my faves and the ones I feel work best in this context:
- Pepperoni – Making a pizza imitation would be criminal without pepperoni. I cut large slices into quarters, but you could also use mini pepperoni.
- Mozzarella – Here I use cherry mozzarella balls, but you could just tear fresh mozzarella. Just make sure it’s fresh mozzarella, not the pre grated stuff.
- Olives – Black olives are always a classic, but you could use any variety you fancy!
- Peppers – I like red and green peppers. I recommend just dicing them up really small. I find them a bit distracting if you keep them in long strips.
- Tomatoes – What’s a pizza without tomato? Couldn’t really justify a dollop of pizza sauce, so baby plum tomatoes will do the trick!
I also throw in a good handful of fresh basil and a heavy helping of fresh parmesan.
What pasta to use?
I like penne, but you could really use any short cut pasta you fancy! Just make sure it’s cooked until just al dente (soggy pasta salads are the worst) and ensure it’s completely cool before combining with the fillings.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Sure! Pasta salads are great to make ahead of time. I usually don’t keep it any longer than 2-3days tightly covered in the fridge, but you can keep longer at your discretion. Just give it a quick toss before you serve to soak up any dressing that’s sunk to the bottom.
And there we have it! All my top tips for a darn good pasta salad have officially leaked from my brain.
For more similar recipes check out these beauties too:
Pizza Twist Recipes
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this pizza pasta salad shall we?!
How to make Pizza Pasta Salad (Full Recipe & Video)
Pizza Pasta Salad
- Large Pot & Colander
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Salad Tossers
- Empty Jar (for dressing)
Ingredients (check list):
Pizza Pasta Salad
- 12.3oz / 350g Penne Pasta, or other short cut pasta
- 3.5oz / 100g Pepperoni, sliced
- 20 Mini Mozzarella Balls (see notes for subs)
- 1 cup / 100g Baby Plum Tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup / 50g Black Olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup / 40g freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 small Peppers (one red, one green)
- 1 handful Fresh Basil, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup / 120ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup / 60ml Red Wine Vinegar (can sub White Wine Vinegar)
- 1 tsp EACH: Dried Oregano, Sugar
- 1/2 tsp EACH: Dried Parsley, Garlic Powder
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp EACH: Salt, Black Pepper, Chilli Flakes (or to taste)
- Pop your pasta in salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until completely cold. Ensure you've shook out all the water, then place in a large mixing bowl.
- To make the marinade, combine extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, sugar, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. I recommend doing this in a jar as shaking it will help emulsify everything. You could however combine in a small bowl and vigorously whisk until combined.
- Add into your cold pasta pepperoni, mozzarella, olives, peppers, tomatoes, fresh basil, parmesan and the dressing.
- Toss to combine then serve up!
Quick 1 min demo!
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