This classic pasta salad is made with a tri-color rotini, filled with vegetables and cheeses, and coated in a scratch-made vinaigrette. The perfect recipe to feed a crowd.
Pasta salad is a classic picnic recipe. What barbecue is complete without a batch of pasta salad that’s large enough for a crowd?
You’ll love this classic pasta salad recipe because it’s quick, easy, and made from scratch. It also makes enough to feed 24 people or more.
This pasta salad is filled with rotini pasta, pepperoni, mozzarella, parmesan, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onions, and green bell peppers. It’s then tossed in a homemade dressing flavored with Italian seasoning.
This pasta salad recipe will fit in a 9×13 pan, or a large serving bowl. If you’re looking to feed a smaller crowd, this recipe is easy to cut in half, or quarter.
How to make classic pasta salad
First, you’ll want to cook, rinse, and drain your rotini pasta, and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, dice your onion, bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, pepperoni, and cheese.
In a large bowl, add all of your salad ingredients and give them a toss to combine.
In a separate bowl, you’ll make your salad dressing. The dressing is made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Whisk your vinaigrette together, then pour over your salad ingredients.
Now, toss your salad to evenly coat. I like to serve my salad within a few hours of putting it together, because the pasta will continue to soak up your dressing as it sits.
If your pasta salad has been sitting for a while and is beginning to dry out, add a splash of olive oil and vinegar to your pasta salad to add some moisture.
If you don’t have a seasoning blend on hand, a combination of oregano, basil, and thyme would also work.
More side dish recipes
Classic Pasta Salad (for a crowd)
- 24 ounces tri-color rotini pasta uncooked
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 12 ounces sliced pepperoni
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese cubed
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 8 ounces olives sliced
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta is room temperature. Place pasta in a large bowl.
- Add cherry tomatoes, pepperoni, onion, bell pepper, mozzarella, parmesan, and olives to bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add olive oil, vinegar, italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
- Pour vinaigrette over pasta salad, then toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Pasta salad will keep for 3-4 days, refrigerated in a sealed container.
- I recommend serving your pasta salad within a few hours, because the pasta will continue to soak up the dressing as it sits.
- If your pasta salad has been sitting for a while and beginning to dry out, add a splash of olive oil and vinegar to your pasta salad to add some moisture.