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Salads, Side Dish, Supper Time

Easy Italian Fusilli Pasta Salad With Pepperoni 

Cooks in 8 Minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

This Italian pasta salad is simple to make and full of flavor. It combines fusilli pasta with fresh cucumbers, ripe olives, and creamy mozzarella balls. The pepperoni and hot salami add a spicy kick, while the Italian parsley brings a burst of freshness. Toss it all in Kraft Italian salad dressing, and you have a perfect dish for any lunch or picnic. Enjoy a taste of fresh summer flavors with every bite!

I wanted to make a summer pasta salad that was more filling than the average salad, as I have work lunches to pack for hard-working people. So, I decided on an antipasti-style salad with spiral pasta. The spice of the hot genoa is offset by the creamy freshness of the bocconcini cheese, and the whole dish comes together in just under half an hour. The time needed to prep the vegetables can be done while the pasta cooks. It is so simple; this hearty pasta salad will be loved as an excellent meal prep dish you can make for your work days. 

See all our salads if you’re looking for more great salads for your summer BBQ. We love fresh summer flavors and are constantly adding more. 

the Italian pasta salad in a small glass bowl

​Why You Will Love This Recipe

Easy to Make: This salad is simple to prepare, perfect for busy days when you need a quick meal.

Convenient Dressing: Using Kraft Italian salad dressing saves time and ensures a consistent, delicious flavor every time.

Perfect for Any Occasion: This salad is versatile, making it great for lunches, picnics, or as a side dish at dinner.

Let’s get started Making This Easy Pasta Salad Recipe.

Of course, the first thing is to get the pasta cooking. We are following the package directions for al dente style. The term Al dente simply means that the pasta is cooked to be slightly firmer than mushy. It’s the perfect texture to hold up to the other salad ingredients. 

If you are unsure if your pasta is perfect, take one out of the boiling water, let it cool, and test it for texture and chewiness. The right mouthfeel of al dente is undeniable when bit into. Too crunchy is going to be rather noticeable. Another tip for checking the pasta is a visual test. Pasta is a deeper beige color when dry. As it cooks, it becomes lighter. Undercooked pasta will appear to still have that deeper hue towards the center of the spiral. This means it needs a few more minutes. You can’t rush good-cooked pasta. 

​While the pasta pot is boiling, take the time to get the rest of the ingredients ready. Take a whole English cucumber and cut it down the center lengthwise, then cut each side down the center lengthwise again. Cut the four quarters into smaller pieces for the salad. 

Next, we are draining the black olives and pearl bocconcini, which are packed in whey. Set aside and move on to the fresh parsley. The herbaceous flavor of the parsley is a delightful addition to the salad, adding a bit of respite from the meatiness of the pepperoni and genoa. Rinse off the cherry tomatoes now, as well. You can cut them in half if you wish. I chose to leave them whole for a change of pace. 

​Now, it’s time to peel and slice the red onion. How you present the onion is entirely up to you. I chose to go with thin slivers, which offer a different look to the often popular rings. 

The pepperoni stick can be cut in much the same way as the cucumber. If you prefer thin, round slices, that works as well. The hot genoa is deli-sliced meat, so I simply cut it into strips for the salad. Watch the pasta while working on it so we don’t accidentally overcook it. 

Lastly, measure the Kraft zesty Italian dressing. Why are we using a bottled salad dressing? Kraft is a reliable brand choice for salad dressings, and yes, you can make your own Italian dressing if you prefer. However, the bottled dressing is a quick and convenient choice that works well with this simple summer salad. 

The pasta should be cooked now, so drain it in a colander. Rinse it under cold water to prevent it from sticking together and to stop the cooking process by reducing the temperature. 

Add the pasta and all the other ingredients to a very large bowl. Toss the whole dish, then place it uncovered in the fridge to cool off before covering it. If you cover it immediately, any residual steam will condense and fall back into the salad. When the salad is excellent, fully cover it with plastic wrap or another covering. The salad can be served when ready, but the flavor will develop if it sits in the fridge longer. 

If you find the salad too dry, once you are ready to serve, add more salad dressing and mix it. This is such a simple yet filling salad that it makes a great light dinner all on its own. 

Ingredients:

Fusilli Pasta: The spirals of fusilli pasta hold the dressing and add a filling carb element to the dish.

English Cucumber: Adds a refreshing crunch and freshness to the salad, balancing the richer flavors of the meats and cheese.

Sliced Ripe Olives: These provide a savory, salty flavor that adds to the overall taste of the salad.

Bocconcini Cheese: Creamy and mild, these mozzarella balls add a smooth texture and rich taste, complementing the other ingredients.

Red Onion: This adds a sharp, tangy flavor that contrasts nicely with the milder ingredients, giving the salad a bit of bite.

Cherry Tomatoes: Juicy and sweet, they add a color and freshness to the salad, making it more vibrant and tasty.

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley: Brings a burst of fresh, herbaceous flavor that brightens up the salad and ties all the ingredients together.

Pepperoni Stick: A savory, spicy kick enhances the overall flavor, making the salad more robust and exciting.

Hot Genoa Salami: Offers a spicy, rich flavor that pairs well with the pepperoni and adds depth to the salad.

Kraft Italian Salad Dressing: Convenient and flavorful, it coats all the ingredients evenly, bringing everything together with a zesty, tangy taste.

a picture of pasta salad with spiral pasta and meat

Substitutions And Add-Ins For The Perfect Pasta Salad.

Fusilli Pasta: You can substitute fusilli with farfalle, penne, or rotini pasta for a similar texture and ability to hold onto the dressing.

English Cucumber: If you don’t have English cucumber, you can use regular cucumbers, zucchini, or bell peppers for a different type of crunch and freshness.

Sliced Ripe Olives: Instead of sliced ripe olives, try using Kalamata olives, green olives, or capers for a slightly different but still savory and salty flavor.

​Bocconcini Cheese: For a different creamy texture and taste, you can replace fresh mozzarella balls with cubed mozzarella, feta cheese, or provolone.

Red Onion: If you prefer a different onion flavor, substitute red onion with green onions, shallots, or sweet onions.

​Cherry Tomatoes: Instead of these, you can use grape tomatoes, diced Roma tomatoes, or sun-dried tomatoes for a different type of tomato sweetness.

​Flat Leaf Italian Parsley: If you don’t have flat-leaf Italian parsley, try using fresh basil for a different fresh herb flavor.

​Pepperoni Stick: For a similar savory flavor with a different twist, you can substitute pepperoni sticks with turkey pepperoni, prosciutto, or ham.

​Hot Genoa Salami: If you want a different type of spiciness and richness, replace hot Genoa salami with regular Genoa salami, spicy chorizo, or cooked bacon.

​Kraft Italian Salad Dressing: For a different flavor, use homemade Italian dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, or Caesar dressing instead of Kraft Italian salad dressing.

How do you make your own Italian salad dressing, if you prefer? A third cup of vinegar, generally white wine vinegar, is best, and one cup of lighter olive oil is best. The olive oil will significantly influence the dressing, so an extra virgin variety is good. Add minced fresh garlic—one to two cloves is good—a teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano, a half teaspoon of thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper. 

Other things you can add to the Italian salad recipe: Chopped bell peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, or roasted red peppers can add color, flavor, and texture to the salad. Homemade or store-bought croutons can add a satisfying crunch to the salad. As with all salad creations, mixing and matching ingredients to best suit your family’s preferences can result in a satisfying and delicious dish. 

Expert Tips, Serving, and Storing Suggestions For A Delicious Cold Pasta Salad

Tip #1: Cook the Pasta Perfectly: Cook the pasta just until it’s al dente, meaning it should be firm to the bite. This helps the pasta maintain its shape and texture when mixed with the other ingredients and dressing. Rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking to stop the cooking process and keep it from becoming mushy.

Tip #2: Marinate for Better Flavor: After mixing the salad with the dressing, let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This allows the flavors to meld together, making the salad more flavorful and delicious.

Tip #3: Use High-Quality Ingredients: Choose the best quality ingredients you can find, especially for cheese, meats, and fresh veggies. High-quality mozzarella and salami can make a big difference in the overall taste and texture of the salad, elevating it from good to great.

Serve the Italian pasta salad chilled, straight from the refrigerator, to keep it fresh and crisp. It’s perfect for summer picnics, backyard barbecues, or a refreshing lunch option on a hot day. The tastiness of this easy salad makes it a crowd-pleaser at your family gatherings, offering a satisfying and convenient dish that’s sure to impress.

Store the pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge to keep it fresher. It can be stored for up to 3-4 days, allowing the flavors to continue to meld together for even more deliciousness over time.

Feel free to share your thoughts or any modifications you made to the recipe in the comments below! Your feedback is appreciated and can inspire others to get creative in the kitchen.

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Easy Italian Antipasti Salad With Fusilli

Amber Bondar
This easy Italian pasta salad is made with fusilli pasta spirals. The hearty summer salad features cucumber, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, hot genoa salami, pepperoni, black olives, and fresh parsley with crisp red onion. The convenience of this summer salad makes it a great summer BBQ favorite.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 9

Equipment

  • Large Pasta Pot
  • measuring cup
  • Cutting board
  • knife
  • Colander
  • Salad Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 6 Cups Fusilli Pasta Cooked Al Dente (Italpasta Fusilli 750grm pkg)
  • 1 Lrg English Cucumber Quartered And Sliced
  • ¾ Cup Sliced Black Olives Drained (200ml can)
  • 1 Cup Bocconcini Fresh Mozzarella Mini Balls 200 gr tub, Drained
  • Cup Pepperoni Stick Cut In Quarters
  • ½ Cup Hot Genoa Salami Deli Meat Cut In Strips
  • 1 Cup Italian Flat Leaf Parsley Chopped
  • 2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Red Onion Halved And Sliced Thin
  • 1 Cup Italian Salad Dressing

Instructions
 

  • In a large pasta pot cook the pasta as instructed on the package until al dente.
    6 Cups Fusilli Pasta
  • While pasta cooks cut the English cucumber into quarters and then into pieces.
    1 Lrg English Cucumber
  • Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes.
    2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • Peel, halve, slice thinly the red onion.
    1 Cup Red Onion
  • Drain the black olives and bocconcini cheese.
    1 Cup Bocconcini Fresh Mozzarella Mini Balls, ¾ Cup Sliced Black Olives
  • Chop the parsley as well as hot genoa salami.
    ½ Cup Hot Genoa Salami, 1 Cup Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Quarter the pepperoni stick and the chop into bite-sized pieces.
    1½ Cup Pepperoni Stick
  • Drain the cooked pasta in the colander and run under cold water until cooled.
  • Add the pasta to the large salad bowl. Dump other prepared ingredients in on top.
  • Measure and add the Italian salad dressing and toss the whole salad.
    1 Cup Italian Salad Dressing
  • Place warm salad in fridge uncovered until cool.
  • Cover chilled salad with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
  • To serve toss salad once more and add a bit more dressing if needed.
Keyword fusilli, Italian salad, pasta salad, summer salad

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