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Perfect Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

This vegetable-loaded pasta salad tastes like summer! It is the perfect side dish for BBQs, baby showers, potlucks, picnics, and other gatherings. It is also delicious for a light, healthy, cold meal on a hot summer day.

White plate of pasta salad on a rustic wooden table.

I love tossing fresh summer veggies with pasta! There are so many ways to enjoy it like my tortellini caprese salad and tomato and brie linguine. This easy pasta salad is another perfect way to enjoy the bounty of veggies available in summer!

Once you try this easy recipe, you will want to eat it all summer long. It is quick, delicious, and loaded with fresh summer vegetables. Pasta salad is a perfect make-ahead dish, and the leftovers stay good for several days. It’s one of those recipes that tastes better the next day! You can easily double or even triple this recipe. I love to serve this at gatherings or make it for meal prep. 

This salad is beautiful and packed with flavor but is versatile enough to satisfy a crowd. All of the veggies are served big enough to be picked out by any picky eaters.  

Ingredients and Substitutions 

This tastes best in the summer when the veggies are at their peak! I love making this with bounty straight from the garden or farmers market. 

Fresh corn is worth the effort if it is available! If you can’t find fresh corn on the cob, you can substitute 1 can of corn. Drain it and toss it in. 

I love using multi-colored mini sweet peppers here. They are delicious and look pretty sliced into little rings. You can substitute 1 large red bell pepper for the mini sweet peppers if you would like. Remove the stem and seeds and chop it into bite size pieces.

Any fresh summer tomatoes will work here. I love the little cherry tomatoes because they are easy to find and taste good, even from a grocery store. You can substitute 2 cups of sliced ripe tomatoes. 

Fresh herbs add a burst of color and flavor. If you don’t have fresh basil, you can omit it or swap it for chopped fresh parsley. 

Pre-made Italian dressing keeps the recipe as simple as can be. Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing is my favorite dressing to use. You can you your favorite Italian dressing.

Make it vegan & dairy free by using a vegan Italian dressing such as Daiya brand. 

Close up of summer vegetable pasta salad.

Tips for preparing pasta salad

  • Be sure to cook the rotini al dente. This will help it hold its shape and prevent it from getting mushy as it sits in the dressing. I always follow the package instructions when cooking dried pasta. Every brand will be different. 
  • Do not skip the chilling step. The pasta salad needs time for the flavors to meld. 
  • This can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. It makes delicious leftovers, and they will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days.

Looking for more deli-style salads?

A basil garnish on summer vegetable pasta salad.

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Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Close up of summer vegetable pasta salad with basil garnish.

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

This vegetable loaded pasta salad tastes like summer! It is the perfect side dish for BBQs, baby showers, potlucks, picnics, and other gatherings. It is also delicious for a light, healthy, cold meal on a hot summer day.

  • Author: Mandi
  • Prep Time: 24 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 16ounce box of rotini pasta
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/2 of a red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 8 mini sweet peppers, stems removed and sliced
  • 1pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups raw fresh sweet corn kernels (cut from 2 ears)
  • 1 2.25 ounce can of sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the rotini in salted boiling water to al dente. Use the package instructions to determine the cooking time.
  2. Rinse cooked rotini under cold running water to cool. Drain completely.
  3. Add the Italian dressing to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Toss the red onions in the Italian dressing. Allow them to mellow while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  5. Add the rotini and all remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss to combine.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
  7. Serve cold.

Notes

  • Be sure to cook the pasta al dente. This will help it hold its shape and not become mushy as it sits.
  • If you can’t find fresh corn on the cob, you can substitute 1 can of corn (drained). Fresh corn is worth the effort if it is available!
  • You can substitute 1 large red bell pepper for the mini sweet peppers. Remove the stem and seeds and dice it.
  • If you don’t have fresh basil, you can omit it or use chopped parsley instead.
  • Can be made a day in advance.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 236
  • Sugar: 7.7 g
  • Sodium: 242.5 mg
  • Fat: 5.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.9 g
  • Fiber: 3.3 g
  • Protein: 6.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Tag @mandiofthemountains on Instagram – I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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