Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad

This tasty Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad is made with the easiest homemade Italian dressing ever! The salad can be made the night before, making it perfect for Summer BBQs. Everyone always begs for the recipe!

Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad :: Can be made the day before... perfect for summer BBQs!

Let’s face it, there are more than two ways to tango and nearly a million billion ways to pasta your salad. When it comes to this warm weather favorite, nearly anything goes! It’s the unofficially official side dish of picnics and barbecues alike and here in the South, pasta salad is quite frankly the American thing to do!

There’s no wrong way to make one, unless of course you’re using olives in which case we may NEVER SPEAK AGAIN!


Away with you!

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.


Phew! I’m SO happy I got that off my back! I’m joking of course. I love many individuals who like olives, the most vile vegetable of life, and don’t love them any less because of it. Well maybe a little. I mean come on, it’s OLIVES!

Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad :: Can be made the day before... perfect for summer BBQs!

 Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad

Since it’s hotter than Hades outside, let’s embrace the heat and chill our pasta. It’s simply the right thing to do. Here’s my simple, speedy, sassy little pasta salad recipe that always goes over like gangbusters around here.

Make extra dressing, you’ll want to pour it over salads all Summer long!

Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad
5 from 4 votes

Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad

This tasty Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad is made with the easiest homemade Italian dressing ever! The salad can be made the night before, making it perfect for Summer BBQs. Everyone always begs for the recipe!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 272 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons


  • 3 cups elbow macaroni (one 12oz box)
  • 1-2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups of diced bell peppers
  • 1-2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 a large seedless cucumber
  • finely grated parmesan or feta cheese for topping (choose your favorite)
  • salt and pepper if desired

Simple + Speedy Italian Dressing Recipe:


  1. Bring a large pot of water (about 4 quarts) to a boil and cook pasta per package instructions.
  2. While your noodles cook, chop your veggies and make the dressing.
  3. Whisk all ingredients together and allow to sit. Giving the dressing ingredients some time to mingle will not only infuse flavor into the oil/vinegar but also soften the dry herbs and seasoning.
  4. Boil noodles for around 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, for al dente pasta. To prevent sticking, feel free to add a little bit of oil to the pot. I add a spoonful of my favorite coconut oil and have to refrain from sticking my hand in the pot to eat them prematurely.
  5. Once your noodles are tender and al dente, remove from heat and strain in a colander.
  6. As long as the noodles are hot they'll continue cooking, if you prefer to add the dressing to hot noodles (some say it helps the noodles soak up the flavor) then cook them more on the al-dente side and less tender. If you plan on rinsing your noodles with cold water to halt the cooking process, then you can cook them until they reach your ideal tenderness. Totally a matter of preference! It seems silly to mention it but the last thing I want is for you to end up with mushy noodles, those are about as fun as a bag of wet crayons.
  7. Combine pasta and veggies in a large bowl with your dressing and mix.
  8. Dust the entire bowl with parmesan or feta cheese and dig. on. in.
  9. (see below for make-ahead instructions)

Recipe Notes

Make this salad as veggie-heavy as you'd like! Some prefer just a kiss of veggies in a sea of pasta goodness while others (like myself) love to load up on the veggies! Find your happy ratio and run with it.

Craving a creamy dressing? Mix the above Italian dressing recipe with your favorite homemade or store-bought Caesar dressing. It's a tad magical!


When making this salad the night before, I use the entire batch of dresing for the pasta salad and then make a second 1/2 cup or so of dressing for the following day. Once the pasta has spent 24 hours chilling in the fridge it will have soaked up all your yummy dressing -- adding more coats the pasta and amps up the flavor! We love it!

Nutrition facts for the pasta salad and dressing are an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed based on toppings, additions, and swaps.

Nutrition Facts
Classic Italian Veggie Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 67mg3%
Potassium 232mg7%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 630IU13%
Vitamin C 30.9mg37%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you get a chance to try this classic Italian veggie pasta salad, let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

so. . . how was it?!

This is our family’s favorite! I alternate using feta and parmesan cheese for the topping (they’re both so good!) and use whatever veggies I need to use up! This is a great recipe for emptying your crisper drawer and way more fun than your garden-variety garden salad, especially when you’ve been eating so.many.salads lately.

This is also the perfect crowd pleaser for picnics, parties, and barbecues so make a big bowl to share and watch it disappear! You can even prep it ahead of time for a speedy, portable party dish. Hope y’all love it as much as we do!

I always have to print out a few copies of this bad boy when I bring it places because I get straight up harassed for it. I don’t blame them one bit!

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Recipe Rating


  • Kelly

    5 stars
    I made this today using white wine vinegar and one teaspoon granulated garlic in the dressing and it is officially the best pasta salad I’ve ever had! I haven’t been disappointed by any of the recipes I have tried by Jenn. Thank you for another new favourite!

  • Tammy Burrell

    5 stars
    LOL! I was looking at the picture of this recipe and was thinking, “where are the black olives?”. Then I read your article. So funny! My daughter in law is the same exact way. I had never heard of anyone not liking olives until I met her! I would have eaten them by the can fulls if my mother would have let me. Your recipe is perfect with the addition of black olives.

  • Meagen Brosius

    5 stars
    This is the perfect recipe for those summer parties! It’s so tasty and it looks amazing, so bright and colorful!

  • Alyssa

    5 stars
    I’m warming up to olives! It’s been a slow process though. 🙂 This pasta salad is a total BBQ MVP.

  • Ingrid

    Being in college and eating clean can be a bit challenging, your blog is one of my lifesavers. 🙂

    • Thank you Ingrid! I’m so elated to hear that my recipes have helped! 🙂 I’m fairly sure one year in college I tried to live off nachos alone.. no bueno! Healthy veggies are totally a must and I’m happy to play my part! <3

  • Eva

    looks so yummy and easy. Added to my weekday lifesaver recipe collection 😉

  • Ouch. I guess I’ll keep my love for olives to myself 🙂 black olives only though, I lost my appetite for green olives when I got pregnant. But I agree…olives and pasta do not mix!

    • Haha olives and I are the worst of frenemies – I do want to love them, I just cannot!

  • Yum! This is the perfect size dish for a summer barbecue!

  • I love olives but I’m not sure I’ve ever put them in pasta salad before. Thanks for the idea 😉 LOL

    • haha I promise we can still be friends 😉

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