This Italian Inspired Pasta Salad is an easy and delicious Italian pasta salad, with sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, all marinated in an herb and garlic filled balsamic vinaigrette.
There are a few salads that are Summer staples in our house – a good bean salad and an Italian pasta salad. Both are great to have on hand in the fridge for quick and easy Summer meals. They both also keep really well in the fridge for several days, which is always good. Make them up on the weekend and enjoy them all week long!
This Italian-Inspired Pasta Salad is my favourite version of an Italian pasta salad. It features sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and a bit of feta, all in an herb and garlic filled balsamic vinaigrette. A pinch of crushed red chilis in the mix gives it a tiny bit of heat. Just enough to be be interesting :)
Cook’s Notes for Italian-Inspired Pasta Salad
This salad is chock full of flavour and goodies, so it’s a little-goes-a-long-way pasta salad. This recipe will serve 4-6 as a side easily. You can double or triple if you’re feeding a crowd. I love to serve it with kale, so you can have a little green along with your pasta. The flavours are also really lovely with kale.
I find that balsamic vinegars vary a lot in acidity/sweetness. Mine is quite sweet, so I add a tablespoon or two of red wine vinegar for a bit more acidity. You may not need to. Taste and decide.
If you like spice, add a tiny bit more of the crushed red chilis for a nice bite to this salad.
I know feta seems more like a Greek thing than an Italian one, but I have just found that Parmesan gets lost in the other strong flavours. Feta holds it’s own and provides a nice salty note. That said, a stronger cheese like Asiago, finely chopped or crumbled, would probably work nicely, as well.
A quick tip! When boiling water for a bit of pasta for pasta salad, I love to use a large, deep skillet instead of a big pot. The water boils more quickly and it is easy to stir while cooking.
Your pasta salad may seem a little liquid-y when you first mix it up, but the marinade will soak in to the pasta as it refrigerates.
I have confessed before that I am not a fan of olives, so there are none in my salad here. That said, a bit of chopped black olive would be perfectly fitting for this salad if you are a fan :)
Pasta Salad Italiano
A delicious Italian inspired pasta salad, with sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, all in a balsamic, garlic and herb vinaigrette.
- 2 1/2 cups dry penne pasta
- 1/2 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 + tsp crushed dried chilis
- 2 Tbsp dried basil leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1/3 finely crumbled feta cheese
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- Freshly ground pepper
- Salt to taste
Cook pasta in salted water to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, chop sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and parsley and place in a large bowl.
Prepare marinade by combining all ingredients and mixing well. Set aside.
When pasta is cooked, cooled and drained, add to bowl with sun dried tomatoes etc. Pour marinade over and toss well to combine. Season with some freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Will keep in the fridge well for several days.