The Best Pasta Salad Recipe Guide:

What type of pasta is best for pasta salad

When it comes to pasta salad, it’s important to choose a type of pasta that can hold up well with the other ingredients and dressing, while also providing a pleasant texture and shape. Here are a few pasta options that work well for pasta salad:

  1. Fusilli: This spiral-shaped pasta is a popular choice for pasta salad. Its nooks and crannies help to hold the dressing and other ingredients, ensuring each bite is flavorful.
  2. Rotini: Similar to fusilli, rotini is another spiral-shaped pasta that works great in pasta salads. It has a twisted shape, which helps to catch and hold the dressing and other ingredients.
  3. Penne: Penne is a tube-shaped pasta with angled ends. Its sturdy shape holds up well in pasta salads, and the ridges on the surface help to cling to the dressing.
  4. Farfalle (Bow-tie pasta): Farfalle is a decorative pasta that resembles little bow ties. It adds visual appeal to pasta salads and holds the dressing nicely due to its unique shape.
  5. Orzo: Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta that works well in cold pasta salads. It has a delicate texture and is often used in Mediterranean-style salads.

Ultimately, the best pasta for your pasta salad depends on personal preference and the other ingredients you plan to include. Consider the shape, size, and texture of the pasta to ensure it complements the overall salad and holds up well when mixed with the dressing and other ingredients.

Piero’s Recipe from the video:

  • Rocket Leaves
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Cucumber
  • Black Olives
  • Capers
  • Carrot
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Grated Cheese (parmesan is good)

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What goes well with Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a versatile dish that can be customized with a variety of ingredients. Here are some popular additions that go well with pasta salad:

  1. Vegetables: Chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, carrots, broccoli florets, and olives are commonly used in pasta salads. They add freshness, crunch, and vibrant colors.
  2. Cheese: Feta cheese, mozzarella balls (bocconcini), grated Parmesan, or crumbled goat cheese can add richness and creaminess to the salad.
  3. Protein: Grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, diced ham, salami, or cubed tofu are great options for adding protein to your pasta salad. They make it more filling and satisfying.
  4. Herbs and Greens: Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, dill, or cilantro can provide a burst of flavor. Adding some baby spinach or arugula can also contribute freshness and nutrition.
  5. Dressing: A flavorful dressing is crucial for a delicious pasta salad. Popular choices include Italian dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, ranch dressing, or a simple combination of olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
  6. Additional Flavors: Consider adding extras like roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, or pine nuts to enhance the flavor profile of your pasta salad.

Remember to balance the flavors and textures when selecting ingredients, ensuring that they complement each other well. Feel free to experiment with different combinations and ingredients to create your own unique pasta salad recipe.

What are 5 mistakes to avoid making Pasta Salad

When making pasta salad, there are some common mistakes that you can avoid to ensure the best results. Here are five mistakes to keep in mind:

  1. Overcooking the pasta: One of the most important aspects of pasta salad is achieving the right texture. Overcooking the pasta can lead to a mushy salad. Follow the cooking instructions on the pasta package and cook it until it is al dente, still slightly firm to the bite. This helps the pasta hold its shape and texture when mixed with other ingredients.
  2. Not rinsing the pasta: After cooking the pasta, it’s crucial to rinse it under cold water to remove excess starch and stop the cooking process. Rinsing the pasta helps to cool it down quickly and prevents it from becoming sticky. This step ensures that the pasta remains separate and doesn’t clump together in the salad.
  3. Adding dressing too early: Dressing adds flavor and moisture to the pasta salad, but adding it too early can make the salad soggy. It’s best to toss the pasta with the dressing just before serving or a short while before, allowing the flavors to meld together without compromising the texture of the salad.
  4. Using too much dressing: While dressing is essential, using too much can overpower the other ingredients and make the salad heavy. Start by adding a small amount of dressing and gradually increase it as needed. You can always add more dressing if desired, but it’s harder to remove excess dressing once it’s been added.
  5. Forgetting to season properly: Pasta salad can sometimes turn out bland if it’s not properly seasoned. Remember to taste and season the salad with salt, pepper, and other seasonings to enhance the flavors. Don’t be afraid to add herbs, spices, or a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten up the dish.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create a delicious and well-balanced pasta salad that is flavorful, refreshing, and enjoyable to eat.

What to add to pasta to make it taste good?

To make your pasta taste good, there are several ingredients and techniques you can use to enhance its flavor. Here are some ideas:

  1. Salt the pasta water: Before cooking the pasta, generously salt the boiling water. This helps to season the pasta from within and adds flavor to the dish. The pasta absorbs some of the salted water, resulting in a tastier base.
  2. Use high-quality ingredients: Opt for good quality pasta made from durum wheat semolina, as well as fresh and flavorful ingredients. Fresh herbs, ripe tomatoes, high-quality cheeses, and extra virgin olive oil can significantly enhance the taste of your pasta dish.
  3. Incorporate aromatic ingredients: Add aromatic ingredients like garlic, onions, shallots, or leeks to your pasta sauce or sauté them before adding them to the dish. These ingredients provide depth of flavor and can greatly enhance the taste.
  4. Experiment with herbs and spices: Fresh or dried herbs and spices can elevate the flavor of your pasta. Basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, chili flakes, and black pepper are some common choices. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.
  5. Add cheese: Grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or other hard cheeses can add richness and depth of flavor to your pasta. Toss the cooked pasta with a sprinkle of cheese or incorporate it into your sauce for a creamy and savory taste.
  6. Incorporate umami-rich ingredients: Umami is the “fifth taste” that adds a savory depth to dishes. Enhance your pasta’s flavor by adding ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, anchovies, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Finish with a drizzle of high-quality olive oil: Just before serving, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over your pasta dish. It adds a luxurious mouthfeel and enhances the overall taste.

Remember, taste preferences vary, so feel free to experiment with different combinations of flavors to find your personal favorite.

What to put on Pasta Salad when you have nothing

When you find yourself with limited ingredients but still want to add some flavor to your pasta, there are a few simple options you can consider. While these suggestions may not create an elaborate pasta dish, they can still provide some taste:

  1. Olive oil and garlic: Sauté minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant, then toss the cooked pasta in this mixture. It adds a subtle, savory flavor to the pasta.
  2. Butter and herbs: Melt some butter and toss the cooked pasta in it. If you have dried herbs like oregano, basil, or parsley, sprinkle them over the pasta for added flavor.
  3. Soy sauce: If you have soy sauce or tamari, drizzle a small amount over the pasta for a savory kick. You can also add a touch of sesame oil or sprinkle some sesame seeds if available.
  4. Lemon juice and black pepper: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the pasta and season it with freshly ground black pepper. This simple combination adds brightness and a hint of tang.
  5. Grated cheese: If you have any type of cheese available (such as Parmesan, Cheddar, or mozzarella), grate it over the warm pasta. The cheese will melt slightly and provide some richness and flavor.
  6. Canned tomatoes: If you have canned tomatoes or tomato sauce on hand, heat them up and pour them over the cooked pasta. You can add a pinch of dried herbs or spices like garlic powder or chili flakes to enhance the flavor.

Remember to adjust the quantities based on your taste preferences and the amount of pasta you have. These suggestions can help transform a plain pasta dish into something more enjoyable, even with limited ingredients.

Pasta Salad

What drinks to pair with Pasta Salad?

When selecting a drink to pair with pasta salad, it’s important to consider the flavors and ingredients in the salad. Here are a few drink options that can complement pasta salad nicely:

  1. White Wine: A crisp and refreshing white wine can be an excellent choice to accompany pasta salad. Consider a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay. These wines typically have citrusy or fruity notes that can complement the freshness of the salad.
  2. Rosé: A dry or off-dry rosé wine can be a versatile option for pasta salad. Rosé wines often have a good balance of acidity and fruitiness, which can complement various flavors in the salad.
  3. Sparkling Water: For a non-alcoholic option, sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime can provide a refreshing and effervescent contrast to the pasta salad. It cleanses the palate and complements the flavors without overpowering them.
  4. Iced Tea: A glass of iced tea, whether it’s black tea or herbal tea, can be a great accompaniment. Opt for unsweetened or lightly sweetened versions, as the pasta salad may already have some savory or tangy elements.
  5. Lemonade or Citrus-Based Drinks: The bright and citrusy flavors of lemonade, limeade, or other citrus-based drinks can complement the freshness of the pasta salad. You can consider adding some mint leaves or a splash of sparkling water to make it even more refreshing.
  6. Light Beer: If you prefer beer, go for a light and crisp option like a pilsner, wheat beer, or a light lager. These types of beers won’t overpower the flavors of the pasta salad and can provide a refreshing and effervescent pairing.

Remember, personal preferences and the specific flavors of your pasta salad may influence the ideal drink pairing. Consider the dressing, ingredients, and overall taste profile of the salad to choose a beverage that enhances and balances the flavors for a satisfying dining experience.

What’s an easy summer Pasta Salad Recipe

Here’s a simple and refreshing summer pasta salad recipe that you can try:


  • 8 ounces (225g) rotini or fusilli pasta
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool down. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
  3. Combine the ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked and cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and chopped basil. Gently toss the ingredients to combine.
  4. Add the dressing: Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to coat the ingredients evenly. Adjust the amount of dressing to your preference.
  5. Chill and serve: Cover the pasta salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Before serving, give it a final toss and taste for seasoning adjustments. Garnish with additional basil leaves if desired.

This easy summer pasta salad is light, flavorful, and perfect for outdoor gatherings, picnics, or as a refreshing side dish. Feel free to customize the recipe by adding other vegetables or herbs based on your preferences. Enjoy!

Do you have other Vegetarian/Salad Videos?

Yes! we do here is a list:
Grilled Vegetables
How to make the best Potato Cake, Italian Style
Flash Fried Courgettes (fried Zucchini) With Mint and Garlic
Tagliata Rucola e Grana | Beef, Rocket & Parmesan

Do you have any other videos? Yes here are our latest ones:

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Cooking With An Italian

Ciao I am Piero coming all the way from Puglia Italy. I created this site to bring my love of food to all, hope you enjoy.