Easy Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni

5 from 2 votes
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Easy Italian pasta salad with pepperoni is full of flavor and color. This classic pasta salad recipe can be served as a main meal or side dish. Bring to your next potluck or even use it as a great weekday cold lunch.

Pasta salad with pepperoni.


Why I love this Italian pasta salad recipe

This easy pasta salad recipe is my go-to when I have to bring a dish to a BBQ, potluck, or family gathering.

  • Easy – This can be made with just some simple ingredients.
  • Fast – You only need about 20 minutes to make this from start to finish.
  • Customizable – You can change of the ingredients to your preference.
  • Leftovers – Great leftovers! Perfect to pack in your lunch the next day.

Ingredients needed

This pasta salad recipe is easy to customize with your favorite ingredients. These pasta salad ingredients work great for a base.

  • Pasta – I like using rotini pasta but you can use your favorite pasta for this recipe.
  • Peppers – Diced bell peppers. You can use a green, red, yellow, or orange bell pepper.
  • Onion – Red onion adds nice color to the salad.
  • Tomatoes – Halved cherry tomatoes add a burst of flavor and color.
  • Cheese – You can use cubed mozzarella or small, fresh mozzarella balls.
  • Olives – Sliced black olives add a nice salty flavor to the pasta salad. You could substitute with green olives.
  • Pepperoni and Salami – Chopped pepperoni and salami.
  • Dressing – Use your favorite bottled Italian dressing or homemade Italian dressing.
Bottle of Italian dressing, box of pasta, bowl with pepperoni, salami, peppers, olives, and cheese.

How to make Italian pasta salad with pepperoni

Step one: Pasta – Boil the pasta in a large pot of water. Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the box. Once cooked, drain off the water. Run the pasta under cold water to cool off the pasta.

Colander with pasta and running water.

Step two: Pour the cooled, drained pasta into a large container or large bowl. Add in the diced peppers, onions, tomatoes, pepperoni, salami, and cheese.

Step three: Pour in the dressing. Toss the pasta salad to completely coat. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let it chill and the flavors come together.

Bowl with diced cheese, salami, olives, tomatoes, and dressing.

Recipe tips

  • Be sure to cook the pasta al dente. You don’t want it to be too soft.
  • Make sure to run the pasta under cold water after it cooks. This helps cool off the pasta and prevent the dressing from absorbing into the pasta.
  • Cut your add-ins into small, bite-sized pieces to make it easier to eat.

Substitutions for pepperoni pasta salad

Protein – Try substituting the pepperoni and salami with turkey, ham, or even shredded chicken.

Vegetables – Sliced pepperoncini peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, diced cucumbers, or other fresh veggies work well in this salad.

Cheese – Substitute the mozzarella for mild cheddar, provolone, Monterey Jack, or Colby Jack cheese. You could also add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Fresh herbs – Add in some fresh basil or fresh parsley.

Seasonings – Want to add a little heat? Try mixing in 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. McCormick’s Salad Supreme seasoning is also another nice addition for added flavor.

Bowl of pasta salad.


Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can make this pasta salad recipe ahead of time.

I don’t recommend freezing this salad. It does not hold up well once thawed.

What to serve with Italian pasta salad

Looking for ideas for pasta salad sides? Check out this list of 31 pasta salad side dishes.

More easy pasta recipes

Be sure to check out this simple ditalini pasta salad and spaghetti pasta salad.

Bowl of pasta salad with pepperoni, tomatoes, and cheese.
5 from 2 votes

Easy Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoni

By Heather Seeley
Italian pasta salad
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 12 oz box tri color rotini pasta
  • 1 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup mini pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup salami diced
  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the recommended time on the box.
  • Strain pasta in a colander under cold water until cooled.
  • In a large bowl combine mozzarella, tomatoes, bell pepper, black olives, onion, pepperoni, and salami. Add the pasta and stir until combined.
  • Pour in salad dressing and stir again to coat.
  • Cover bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 426mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 11.8mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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Recipe Rating


  1. I have a tricolor pasta salad I make but it is Greek. This Italian one will be a welcomed change. I am definitely bookmarking to make soon. Thank you for sarng at #WonderfulWednesday. Pinned nd shared!

  2. Yum…looks like antipasto in a salad! I’m pinning this one! Thanks for sharing on Wonderful Wednesday! 🙂