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Want to put a spin on your pasta salad? I highly recommend this pizza pasta salad recipe! It’s packed with sliced pepperoni, fresh veggies, and a quick vinaigrette! Even better, it goes together in just minutes.
Salads are perfect for the summer! They’re light, refreshing, and require very little cooking. In particular, I love pasta salads because they travel so well!
This Italian pepperoni pasta salad is great to take along to picnics or to all your summertime boating excursions! Along with Mini Caprese Salad Skewers it’s popular with everyone.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Pepperoni pizza pasta salad is hearty and filling making it a tasty main dish or side dish for meals.
- Refreshing flavors! Lemon juice and fresh basil bring all the flavors together making this salad perfect for outdoors or hot weather.
- Easy to make. All you need to do is cook the pasta, chop the ingredient, and make the dressing.
- Kid friendly pasta salad to get even the pickiest eater to eat their veggies!
- Travels well. Making it good for picnics and boating trips.
This pizza salad recipe uses mostly fresh ingredients along with a few pantry staples. Here’s what you need:
- Pasta: Personally I prefer this easy Italian pasta salad with fusilli. It has lots of curves to hold the dressing.
- Meat: Sliced pepperoni or dry salami to create the pizza flavors in the salad.
- Tomatoes: Grape or cherry tomatoes work best since the require less work but also have a sweeter flavor than other tomatoes.
- Red onion: The best onion to use in salads! If they are too strong, try soaking them in cold water for a few minutes before adding them to the salad.
- Kalamata olives: Give the salad a briny component that perfectly complements the other ingredients.
- Mozzarella: Use fresh mozzarella for the best flavor. You can use a large ball and cut it into small cubes or use bite-sized mini bocconcini to save some time.
- Fresh basil: Using fresh basil gives the salad a fragrant herbal and citrus flavor you simply won’t get using dried.
- Extra virgin olive oil: My top choice for the dressing!
- Seasoning: Fresh garlic cloves, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper make the dressing taste amazing!
- Acid: You need a bit of acid to counter the olive oil and brighten the flavors. I recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
- Parmesan cheese: A delicious final touch for pizza pasta salad but it’s totally optional!
Pizza Salad Substitutions and Variations
- Want to swap the pasta? Penne, farfalle, rotelle or fusilli shaped pasta work best to capture the dressing.
- Seafood salad. Add cooked sea scallops or medium shrimp instead of the pepperoni.
- Add some diced sweet red pepper for colour to your cold Italian pasta salad.
- Add one cup of dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Be sure to rehydrate them by soaking in hot water for two minutes. Then drain and chop coarsely.
How to Make Pizza Pasta Salad
This mozzarella pasta salad goes together in must a few simple steps. To get started, cook, drain, and rinse the pasta and prep all the ingredients according to the ingredient list.
- Combine the pepperoni, tomato, onion, olive, mozzarella, basil and pasta in a salad bowl. Toss everything together to combine.
- Mix together the olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper together. You can also shake everything together in a glass jar.
- Pour the dressing over the salad.
- Toss to coat all the ingredients with some dressing. Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your tastes. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
⭐️ PRO TIP: Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
- Choose a good quality pasta (such as Barilla) that will keep its structure and stay firm when cooked. You don’t want a pasta that will get mushy when coated with dressing.
- Use a mild garlic (preferably from Spain, Argentina or North America) rather than China.
- Worried about soggy pasta? Make sure to cook it al dente. Then cool it on a on a baking sheet to prevent it from being soggy.
- Store leftover salad covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Chill the salad before serving! This gives the ingredients to soak up all the flavors of the dressing.
It is usually served cold or at room temperature. It’s best to let it stand a bit if it’s been refrigerated. When you first take it out of the fridge it may seem a bit dry but once the dressing loosens up, stir it up, and it’s ready to serve.
It’s not completely necessary but I find it’s helpful to immediately cool the pasta so it stops cooking and does’t end up mushy and also to remove some of the excess starch on the cooked pasta.
More Salad Recipes
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & a comment further down if you REALLY like it. Thanks!
Mediterranean Pizza Pasta Salad
- 17.63 oz dry pasta 500 g, preferably fusilli
- 3.52 oz sliced pepperoni or dry salami halves (100 g)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved (5.25 oz | 149 g)
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup kalamata olives 3.17 oz | 90 g sliced (or pitted by hand)
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cut in small cubes (7.93 oz | 225 g) or bite-sized mini bocconcini
- ½ cup fresh basil chopped or chiffonade (0.52 oz | 15 g)
For the dressing
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1.76 fl.oz | 125 ml
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese optional
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to the package directions until tender but firm. Drain and rinse under cold water. Be sure to drain completely before making the salad.
- To prepare the salad add the pepperoni, tomato, onion, olive, mozzarella, basil and pasta in a salad bowl. Toss lightly.
- To make the dressing stir all ingredients together in a small bowl (or shaked in a glass jar) and pour over the ingredients in the salad bowl.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
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Dividing her time between Canada, Guatemala and Mexico (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is the founder of A Taste for Travel. Her award-winning travel and food writing has appeared in Lonely Planet’s cookbook Mexico: From the Source, National Geographic Traveler, Fodor’s and 100+ other publications.
Read more about Michele Peterson.