Rotini pasta is mixed with spicy pepperoni, lots of veggies, creamy mozzarella & fresh basil then tossed in a zesty homemade Italian dressing! This is the BEST pizza pasta salad recipe!
Pasta salad holds a special place in my heart.🥰 Especially this pizza pasta salad! It was the first one I ever learned how to make and definitely sparked my love for dish. This pasta salad is loaded with spicy pepperoni, lots of crisp fresh veggies, mozzarella balls, basil and all tossed with the best zesty homemade Italian dressing! It’s a quick and easy meal that you’re whole family’s going to love! It’s our favorite summer pasta salad!
Ingredients for pizza pasta salad
- Pasta: We love using rotini pasta but any “medium” length pasta can be used instead. (Penne, bowtie, cavatappi and gemelli would all be great substitutions!)
- Pepperoni: Use your favorite pre-sliced pepperoni for ease. You can cut them in half or quarter them depending on their size.
- Tomatoes: We usually prefer cherry or grape tomatoes. (They’re so flavorful during these summer months!)
- Bell pepper: Any color of bell pepper will work for this recipe. (Green peppers tend to be more bitter, while red or yellow tend to be sweeter.) Sometimes we’ll use a mix of peppers to make the salad bright and colorful!😉
- Red onion: Red onions pair better with the rest of your ingredients. (They’re slightly sweeter than white or yellow onions and won’t overpower your salad with a harsh “onion” taste.)
- Mozzarella: Use mozzarella pearls if you can find them! They’re the perfect size for this salad and there’s no extra cutting needed!
- Black olives: Pre-sliced olives are the way to go!
- Fresh basil: I love adding fresh basil to pasta salads! It’s such an easy way to elevate the dish without requiring too much work.
- Grated parmesan: Optional but totally worth it! (Just sprinkle a little over the top right before serving.)
- Zesty Italian dressing: Olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper make up your dressing. (It’s soo good!)
How To Make The Best Pizza Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta. Boil your pasta according to the package’s directions. Then drain it and run it under cool water. Set it aside to cool completely.
- Make the dressing. Whisk your dressing ingredients together in a bowl or jar. Then cover it and keep it stored in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your salad.
- Prep the rest of your ingredients. Slice your pepperoni and chop your tomatoes, bell pepper and red onion. Then slice your fresh basil and remove the mozzarella pearls from their packaging.
- Mix & chill. Add all your pasta salad ingredients to a bowl and toss in your desired amount of dressing. Then cover the salad and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Serve! Right before serving, toss the salad again and sprinkle your grated parmesan (if using) over the top. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Leftover pasta salad is the best! We love saving ours for an easy lunch the next day or sometimes we even have enough for another dinner too! It’s fast, easy & cost effective!
Simply place your leftover pasta salad in an air tight container and keep it stored in the refrigerator. I’d also suggest saving some of your dressing (if you have any left) to toss the salad in before serving it again. (The pasta tends to soak up your dressing the longer it sits, so giving it a quick toss in extra dressing helps to not have a dry pasta salad.) It should stay good for up to 4-5 days if stored correctly.
- Can I freeze my pizza pasta salad? I wouldn’t suggest it. Some of your ingredients can become mushy after thawing and your salad won’t have the same consistency as when it was fresh.
- Can I prep any ingredients in advance? Yes! You can cook your pasta, cut your veggies and make your dressing the day before you’re planning to serve. (I would wait to cut your basil until the day of.)
- 1 teaspoon of salt seems like a lot in the dressing. Why so much? This dressing is going to be salty if you taste it on it’s own. (Like wayy more salty than regular salad dressing.) But there’s a reason for it! Because we’re using it to coat bland pasta and lots of raw veggies so it’s flavor really needs to pack a punch to get the job done.
Why you’ll love this pizza pasta salad recipe!
- Easy to customize! Not a fan of olives? Leave them out! Prefer red bell pepper instead of green? Use that instead! This pasta salad is so easy to tailor to your own personal tastes & preferences!
- Vibrant colors & big flavors! Loaded with spicy pepperoni, crisp veggies, creamy mozzarella & a zesty homemade Italian dressing! Your taste buds are going to love everything about this dish!
- Always a crowd favorite! Who doesn’t love pizza?! This dish is always the first to go at parties and is one of our most requested recipes from friends!
Need it gluten free? Just use your favorite gluten free pasta instead!
Need it dairy free? Replace the mozzarella balls with dairy free mozzarella cut into cubes or use dairy free shredded mozzarella instead! (Our favorite lactose free mozzarella is from Buf Creamery & shredded mozzarella is from Trader Joe’s!)
More pasta salad recipes you might like:
- Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad
- Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Taco Pasta Salad
- Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments! I love seeing what you create!]
Easy Pizza Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad:
- 1 lb. dry rotini pasta
- 1 cup sliced pepperoni, cut in half
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quratered
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ of a red onion, sliced thin
- 1 6oz. can sliced black olives, drained
- 8 oz. mozzarella pearls (or fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes)
- ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced thin
- Grated parmesan (optional)
For the zesty Italian dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
To make the dressing:
- Whisk your dressing ingredients together then cover it and keep it stored in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your salad.
To make the pasta salad:
- Boil your pasta according to the package's directions then drain it and rinse the pasta under cool water. Set it aside to cool completely before adding it to a large bowl.
- Next add the rest of your ingredients (except the parmesan, if using) and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it's fully coated then cover it and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Right be fore serving, sprinkle your parmesan cheese over the top (or mix it into your salad) and serve immediately.