A classic Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing…but with balsamic instead of white vinegar and soppressata to make it something special!
This Classic Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing is so good that two times I snuck downstairs late-ish while watching Sons of Anarchy to grab a little bowl. So. GOOD.
It’s just a classic pasta salad, you say? Nothing special about it? True, it has all the flavors of your traditional pasta salad with Italian dressing…but a few small tweaks were necessary, in my opinion. I didn’t change any flavors, just upgraded them slightly to make for a sophisticated yet still classic pasta salad.
First, I used this homemade Italian dressing recipe. It uses balsamic vinegar instead of white wine which mellows and deepens the flavor. Two minutes to make and you will never buy a jar again! Next, I use Ditalini pasta which still has the grooves to catch all that yummy dressing but is smaller than the traditional rotini or – cringe – macaroni. It looks pretty, too, which is always a nice bonus. Third – and this one is open to personal preference – I use kalamata olives instead of black. The flavor of kalamata olives are strong but so much more interesting! And finally, I used soppressata instead of a regular salami. Now, I never met a salami I didn’t like, but soppressata is a higher quality and has a wonderfully rich flavor. It’s worth the extra couple bucks to turn your Classic Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing into something everyone will rave over.
One more tip for you is to be sure to toss the dressing with the pasta while it’s still warm. This will help the pasta to absorb more of the dressing which means more flavor which means a tastier salad which means everyone is happy!
Let me know how you guys like this classic pasta salad and if you make your own changes to it!
- 16 ounces ditalini pasta
- 1 1/2 cups Italian salad dressing (this homemade version using balsamic vinegar is recommended)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 8 ounces soppressata (or salami), sliced and cut into fourths
- 8 ounces kalamata olives, pitted and halved (or regular black olives)
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, halved (or use the petite-sized so you don't have to cut them!)
- 1 cup shredded parmesan
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. While still warm, toss pasta with salad dressing to coat. Allow to cool.
- Add remaining ingredients to pasta; toss well. Chill for at least four hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend.