Easy Pasta Salad with Zesty Italian Dressing ~ packed with flavor and crispy fresh broccoli then marinated with a zesty Italian dressing. Perfect picnic fare and leftovers are the best!
First, do you have one of those go-to recipes that is easy to make, packed with flavor, and a favorite every time? This Easy Pasta Salad with Zesty Italian Dressing has been my mayonnaise-free, summer side for the past 25 (+-) years. It’s easily adapted to include your favorite vegetables, cheese or dressing. This is my version of a cook-out classic!
Tri-colored Rotini pasta is cooked and tossed with tomatoes, assorted olives, diced sweet onions and broccoli florets then marinated with a Zesty Italian dressing. A dash of your favorite seasoned salt and chopped cheddar cheese is added just before serving.
This salad will last for days and seems to just get better with time. Have a little extra dressing on hand to freshen it up and serve … again!
The broccoli is cleaned and cut into bite sized florets then placed in a collander in the sink. Pour hot water over the broccoli to brighten the color and take the edge off the crispness.
Serve and enjoy!
Don’t forget to PIN!
- For the Pasta Salad:
- 12 ounce package of Tri-Color Rotini Pasta (or your favorite pasta noodle)
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- ½ of a sweet onion, like Walla Walla or Vidalia, diced
- 1 cup assorted olives, sliced
- 2 Cups Broccoli Florets
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, like Lawry's
- 12 ounces cheddar or Colby cheese, sliced in match stick pieces
- For the Zesty Italian Dressing:
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- ⅓ - ½ cup olive oil, or canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a glass jar or container with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well blended. Set aside.
- Cook the Rotini according to the package directions. Drain and place the pasta in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the dressing on the noodles and toss to prevent them from sticking together.
- Place the broccoli florets in a large colander. Pour hot water (almost boiling) over the florets then rinse with cold water. Drain. The hot water will give the broccoli a lovely bright green color and take the raw edge off the vegetable. Add the broccoli to the bowl with the pasta.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, olives and seasoned salt. Pour the prepared dressing over the top of the pasta salad and toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Add the cheese just before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Here are a few more pasta salad recipes you might enjoy!
- Sun Dried Tomatoes with Mezzi Rigatoni and Feta
- Classic Italian Pasta Salad ~ from Wishes and Dishes
- Greek Yogurt Ranch Pasta Salad ~ from Big Bear’s Wife
- Italian Artichoke and Tomato Pasta Salad ~ from Barefeet in the Kitchen
Finally, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. I picked strawberries and ended up with 20 pounds so guess what kind of recipes we have for the next few weeks? We’re loving the fresh fruit and can’t wait to share some new recipes with you. Thanks so much for stopping by!