Our Pasta Salad is full of flavor and the perfect pasta to serve this summer. It’s flavored with fresh garlic, cherry tomatoes, basil, Kalamata olives and two varieties of cheese! Hands down it’s our favorite, easy pasta salad for summer. Use fun-shaped pasta for a specific holiday or switch it out with classic rotini for a simple gathering.
I’ve always liked pasta salad, but the ones I was served as a kid were full of mayonnaise, black olives and peppers. This pasta salad recipe is totally different than that. It’s so incredibly flavorful, but you won’t find any mayo here! We use fresh ingredients like quality olive oil, fresh garlic (and lots of it!) and basil to really give it a delicious flavor. It’s a recipe I will continue to make every single summer and the perfect dish for summer entertaining.
How to Make Summer Pasta Salad
This recipe uses simple ingredients you can find at any store or even at the Farmers Market! Nothing is complicated about this pasta salad. It’s very easy to make with only a few steps, one pot and a bowl. Anyone can make this and everyone will love this pasta recipe.
Key Steps to making Pasta Salad
- Use a good extra virgin olive oil or even a flavored olive oil, like basil.
- Do not rinse the pasta! Strain and then pour into a large bowl.
- This dish is best served at room temperature. The flavors are juicy and more prevalent when added to the warm cooked pasta and served right away.
- However, you can eat this pasta cold too!
- The garlic is very important in this recipe because it adds so much flavor. If you don’t own a garlic press, it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools and we used it for this recipe.
- You can prepare all of the ingredients before, mix it in a large bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for hours! The ingredients infuse together adding even more flavor.
- When you’re ready to serve, cook the pasta in a large pot of water to al dente. This is crucial when making this recipe. Mix everything together in a serving bowl.
Summer Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Olive oil
- Cherry tomatoes
- Kalamata olives
- Salt and peper
Types of Pasta
We used a fun stars and stripes pasta we bought from World Market. It’s even colored with beet root! This is perfect for Memorial Day, 4th of July or even Labor Day! You can also use any of these pastas below!
- Colorful Shapes
Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
To make this recipe gluten-free, switch out the pasta with brown rice pasta. One of our very favorite gluten-free pasta brands is Tinkyada spirals! You can barely tell it’s gluten-free and it’s almost impossible to overcook.
How long does pasta salad last?
This recipe will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator. As pasta salad sits, it can become less flavorful, you can freshen cold pasta up with a little more olive oil, sprinkle of cheese and a little salt and pepper if it needs.
What is a good side dish for pasta salad?
Since this recipe can be used as the main course or a side dish, you can pair it with burgers, grilled steak or even a light summer fish! You can also serve it as the main with a green salad on the side. It’s very versatile!
If you make this dish, let us know by leaving a comment and review below. You can also tag us on social @sugarandcharm. We always love to see what you all make!
The Best Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 pound pasta we used colorful shaped pasta for the 4th but Rotini, Farfalle or Penne work too.
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese drained, small mozzarella balls are best
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup kalamata olives sliced in half
- 15 fresh basil leaves julienned
- 4 large garlic cloves through a presser. Minced is okay too.
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper more if needed
- Add everything but the pasta in a bowl and let it sit for 30 mins up to 5 hours in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, boil the water in a medium pan and cook the pasta al dente.
- Strain the pasta and in a large serving bowl add the pasta and the other ingredients you’ve already prepared together.
- Stir it all really well so the garlic and flavors can coat the pasta.
- Add more salt and pepper if needed.