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 is made with tri-color rotini pasta, a homemade vinaigrette, and these flavorful additions:
- red onion
- bell pepper
- cherry tomatoes
- black olives
- cubed mozzarella cheese
- freshly shredded parmesan cheese
If there's an ingredient you don't have on hand, or don't care for, it can be omitted or swapped with a similar ingredient. Keep in mind, the more ingredients you remove, the more flavor you're potentially removing from your pasta salad!
Serving pasta salad
I like to serve my pasta salad within a few hours of preparing, 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.
This pasta salad recipe will fit in a 9x13 pan, or a large serving bowl. If you're looking to feed a smaller crowd, this recipe is easy to halve or quarter. Click on the servings in the recipe card and use the sliding bar.
If you don't have a seasoning blend on hand, a combination of oregano, basil, and thyme would also work. The vinaigrette can also be swapped with your favorite Italian dressing if needed.
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 ½ cups olive oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta. 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 the 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. Pasta WILL continue to soak up the dressing the longer it sits, so it may need a splash of olive oil and vinegar if it has been sitting for several hours.
- 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.
- Vinaigrette can be substituted with your favorite Italian dressing if desired.