This Warm Italian Pasta Salad is loaded with fresh veggies, Parmesan cheese, and tender noodles tossed in a balsamic dressing for a satisfying comfort food you’ll love. Ready in minutes and budget-friendly, it’s perfect for potlucks, holiday parties,
Why You’ll Love this Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
If you know us, you know we’re all about easy recipes that are quick to make but still loaded with flavor and nutrients. That said, pasta salad is one of our go-to recipes for pretty much every occasion. Whether you’re preparing a picnic, hosting a party, or just want a quick
However, most pasta salads we’ve found are served cold, and when temperatures outside begin to drop we want all things warm. So, we took our standard pasta salad recipe and spruced it up. The end result is an ultra comforting quick and easy warm Italian pasta salad recipe we know you’ll love! Here are just a few reasons why:
- It can be tossed together in minutes.
- Super versatile, you can mix and match all your favorite ingredients.
- Budget-friendly and dietary-friendly, it’s a great option for everyone.
- You can make large batches in bulk for simple meals all week long!
Ingredients You’ll Need
For this Italian pasta salad recipe, we kept things simple using just a handful of ingredients we had on hand. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- White Balsamic Vinegar – The acidity of the vinegar helps break down the tomatoes, allowing them to release their juices and coat the rest of the pasta.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Used to coat the ingredients and add extra flavor and healthy fats.
- Tomatoes – We like to use a combination of yellow and red cherry tomatoes for a sweeter flavor and a bit of color.
- Lemon – The bright flavor and acidity help cut through some of the heaviness of the fat, creating a well-rounded, ultra-tasty Italian pasta salad recipe.
- Shallot – Slightly sweeter than onions, shallots help enhance the rest of the ingredients.
- Garlic – Everything tastes better with garlic! For the best flavor, we recommended using fresh cloves.
- Salt and Pepper – Use as much or as little as you like.
- Olives – Kalamata olives are our favorite, but black or green olives would work, too to add extra salty, savory flavor.
- Cheese – Grated Parmesan is our favorite, but feta, mozzarella, or even goat cheese could be used.
- Pepperoncini – Key to making the best Italian pasta salad, these peppers add a sweet and spicy flavor.
- Herbs – Fresh parsley and basil help lighten up the rest of the ingredients.
- Pasta – We found that farfalle pasta works best, but any medium-sized noodles can be used.
Feel free to mix and match your favorite ingredients to make this Italian pasta salad recipe your own! Some of our favorite variations include:
Pasta: If you don’t have farfalle on hand, swap it out for fusilli, penne, cavatappi, bow tie pasta, elbow noodles, or any other similar medium-sized shape you like best.
Meat: We kept this Italian pasta salad vegetarian. However, you can easily add protein such as chicken, beef, pepperoni, or salami.
Veggies: Bulk up your pasta salad with any veggies you have on hand like bell peppers and cucumbers.
How to Make a Warm Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
This Italian pasta salad recipe has bold flavors but is super easy to make!
- Marinate the Tomatoes. To begin, add the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Mix gently, and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes to allow the tomatoes to release their juices.
- Prepare the Pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions, and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Prepare the Italian Pasta Salad. In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, pasta, olive, parsley, basil, pepperoncini, and Parmesan cheese, tossing to combine. Add the reserved pasta water to the bowl, and mix. Serve warm, and enjoy!
- Don’t Overcook the Pasta. You want to cook the noodles just to al dente or even 30 seconds before. Otherwise, it will become soft and mushy once it is tossed with the olive oil dressing.
- Cut the Veggies Small. Slice all of the ingredients as small and as evenly as possible so you get all of the flavors in every bite.
- Let the Ingredients Sit. Once combined, allow the ingredients to sit for a few minutes to allow all of the flavor to sink in.
- Serve Warm. Unlike other pasta salad recipes, you’ll want to serve this one warm. If it does cool, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to heat it back up!
Make Ahead and Storage Options
We love to make a big batch of this warm Italian pasta salad to eat throughout the week! Store in an airtight container in the fridge, it will keep fresh for up to 3 days. Or, store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to eat, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat it in the microwave, stir the ingredients to redistribute the dressing, and enjoy!
More Tasty Pasta Salad Recipes
If you’re looking for more easy pasta salad recipes, you won’t want to miss out on the great options below!
Warm Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces red and yellow cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 medium shallot (sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (grated)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (omit for dairy-free recipe)
- 4 chopped pepperoncini or to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1 pound dry farfalle pasta – 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- Slice tomatoes down the center. In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, thinly sliced shallots, minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic, juice of lemon, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have released their juice.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomato mixture, warm cooked pasta, olives, parsley, basil, pepperoncini, Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water. Toss to combine, ensuring the noodles are well coated with the oil and tomato juices. Add remaining pasta water, as needed. Serve warm, and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.