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Italian Pasta Salad



Creamy Italian Dressing

  • ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons of red or white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/4 + 2 tablespoons of mayo (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 lb pasta, cooked according to package and cooled
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup olives, pitted (I like using a mix of good quality canned black and green olives)
  • ¼ of red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup marinated roasted red peppers (jar), diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, grilled (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh arugula (optional)


  1. Whisk or blend together the dressing ingredients in a bowl or food processor.
  2. In a bowl, toss the chicken with 1/3 of the dressing. Let sit for 15 minutes or marinate up to overnight. Grill chicken on your grill, grill pan, or skillet over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until cooked through, turning halfway through cooking, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.
  4. Add the cooled pasta, chicken, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes, basil, and arugula to a large salad bowl. Pour over the remaining dressing and toss well to combine. You can eat it right away or let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This is a “sittin’ salad” so the longer it sits, the more the flavors marry.
  5. If making ahead, add the arugula right before serving.