This Pepperoni Pasta Salad is a classic pasta salad. Filled with fresh vegetables, cheese, pepperoni, and pasta. It’s the perfect side dish to feed a crowd!
I love this pasta salad! It’s super easy to make and can feed a crowd!
Pasta salad is the perfect side dish to take to a party because it can be made ahead of time (honestly, I think they taste better when made in advance) and makes a large quantity.
This happens to be one of my favorite pasta salads! I remember it was always at every picnic, BBQ, potluck (basically at every function) and it was always one of the firsts to go.
As a kid, I would pick out the peppers and onions but I love it all now. In fact, I usually add more peppers and onions to my plate, lol.
PASTA: You can use any short type of pasta such as elbow, penne, shells, or something similar.
PARMESAN CHEESE: I like to grate my own but pre-grated is fine in this salad.
MOZZARELLA: I am using mozzarella pearls in this recipe because of convenience. Feel free to cube a block of mozzarella if that’s what you have on hand.
VEGGIES: I am using tomatoes, green bell pepper, red onion, pepperoncini, and olives but change things up to suit your needs/tastes.
PEPPERONI: This also works great using mini pepperoni
How to Make Pepperoni Pasta Salad
PASTA: Start by cooking your pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water. This stops the pasta from cooking and rinses of any extra starch from the cooking water.
VEGGIES: While the pasta is cooking prepare the vegetables and place in a large bowl. Add the cheeses, pepperoni, and salad dressing. Toss to combine.
BRING IT TOGETHER: Once the pasta is done cooking and has been drained and rinsed add to the bowl of vegetables and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld.
Tips for Great Pepperoni Pasta Salad
- Pepperoni pasta salad tastes best when it is made in advance. I like to make it a day in advance. Leftovers store well and will last for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
- If you have some leftover rotisserie chicken it goes great in this salad!
- I like to use fresh mozzarella pearls (mostly because I’m lazy and it’s one last thing I have to chop) but feel free to cube regular mozzarella to use instead.
- If you can’t stand the thought of the pepperoncini in this salad feel free to leave them out. I happen to love adding them to salads and it goes really well with this salad!
- Use any short type of pasta that you like or have on hand. Macaroni, penne, bow tie, and fusilli are all great choices.
- Don’t overcook your pasta because it will become a mushy pasta salad due to the acids from the dressing breaking down the starches further.
- Be sure to rinse the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking and cool the pasta down. Don’t toss the hot pasta in with the other ingredients or it will melt the cheese.
- Toss the pasta in olive oil after rinsing to prevent the pasta from soaking up the dressing if you prepare it a day before.
More Great Salads You May Like:
Pepperoni Pasta Salad
- 1 pound (455g) small pasta (any shape such as fusilli, penne, macaroni, bow tie)
- ¾ cup (70g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 ounces (115g) fresh mozzarella pearls (or cubed regular mozzarella)
- 3 ounces (85g) sliced pepperoni
- 2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
- ½ large green bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup sliced olives
- ½ cup sliced red onion, or more to taste
- ⅓ cup sliced pepperoncini
- ¾-1 cup (175ml-235ml) Italian dressing
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water until pasta is cool.
- Meanwhile, combine cheeses, pepperoni, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, onion, pepperoncini, and salad dressing in a large bowl.
- When pasta is cool drain well and add to bowl with pepperoni and vegetables. Toss to combine. Refrigerate covered for a minimum of 1 hour but up to 24 hours.
- STORAGE: Can store in the refrigerator, covered for 5-7 days.