Chopped Italian Pasta Salad

Loaded with veggies, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella, this Chopped Italian Pasta Salad belongs on your picnic table this spring and summer.  Simple to make and bursting with zesty flavor, a great side dish for any barbecue.

Chopped Italian Pasta Salad | The Suburban Soapbox #salad #pasta

Pasta salad is a wonderful thing.  Really…it’s so simple to make that sometimes we overlook the obvious.  Like how I should have shared my favorite pasta salad recipe with all of you a long time ago.  But it’s one of those things that’s so simple to make I forgot about it really, until the weather hit 70 degrees and I was suddenly craving it.  And I had to make it, like, right away.  And fire up the grill.

Chopped Italian Pasta Salad | The Suburban Soapbox #salad #pasta

April is such a tease, really.  Don’t you agree.  When we have a couple warm days and are finally able to lounge around the backyard basking in the sun….I do it with a little caution.  Like those days are numbered and we’re going to be smacked in the face with plunging temperatures and have to bust out the winter coats again.  Days like that suck the wind out of my sails.  That’s why, when the temps hit 65 and sunny….I’m all about the outdoors.  Picnics, barbecues, fruity spiked beverages….just sitting around watching the grass turn green.  Literally, we just had the lawn fertilized so we could actually watch the lawn turn green as the day went on.  Then the craving began….Chopped Italian Pasta Salad.

Chopped Italian Pasta Salad | The Suburban Soapbox #salad #pasta

I’ve been making this (and taking it to barbecues) for 20 years.  Or more…but I didn’t really want to age myself to much so let’s stick with 20 years and say I started making this when I was 3 years old. 🙂  Anyway, the “chopped” part came in last year when I made it for Katie’s graduation party.  My old version I used to just throw in large chunks of veggies and used a rotini type noodle, which was good but you could only eat one thing at a time.  A piece of broccoli, a chunk of cucumber, a couple noodles.  I like to combine the ingredients on my fork to create the perfect bite, so I decided to go smaller.  Smaller pieces of veggies, smaller cheese, tiny pasta….it was perfect.  And fast, because I used a bottled Italian dressing. 🙂  You can totally whip up a homemade vinaigrette in minutes if you prefer but sometimes convenience foods allow me to put more time into making my dish more spectacular.  This is one of those times.

Chopped Italian Pasta Salad | The Suburban Soapbox #salad #pasta

Chopped Italian Pasta Salad is great made a few hours ahead of time because it’s gives the pasta some time to absorb the flavors of the dressing.  You’ll also want to be sure not to overcook the pasta so it doesn’t become mushy and fall apart when it sits a bit.  One more tip….don’t use the entire bottle of dressing all at once, I like to save about 1/3 of it to toss with the salad right before serving.  The salad does absorb a lot of the dressing while it sits to this is a great way to punch up the flavor.  It would be great served with my Grilled Lemon and Herb Lamb Chops.

Chopped Italian Pasta Salad | The Suburban Soapbox #salad #pasta

So…barring any freak snowstorms or deep freezes in the next few weeks….spring has finally sprung.  It’s time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, fire up the grill, make your neighbors salivate with the smell of your steak wafting through the breeze and start eating more salad.  With carbs thrown in for good measure.  Invite your friends, toss back a few cold ones….and make some memories.  It’s going to be a great summer.

Chopped Italian Pasta Salad

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 402 kcal
Author: Kellie

This chopped Italian pasta salad is quick,  easy and perfect for every occasion.

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Ingredients

  • 16 ounces ditalini or other small pasta cooked
  • 2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 large zucchini diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives drained
  • 8 ounce container fresh mozzarella pearls drained (or chopped mozzarella cheese)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
  • 1 16 ounce bottle Zesty Italian Dressing divided (I used Kraft)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss the pasta, broccoli, zucchini, bell pepper, olives, cheese and pepperoni until combined. Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 6 hours.
  2. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and toss to combine right before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Chopped Italian Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 402 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 830mg 35%
Potassium 308mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 42g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 7g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 14.4%
Vitamin C 42.6%
Calcium 14.7%
Iron 6.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

11 comments on “Chopped Italian Pasta Salad”

  1. Yay for summery pasta salads! I never thought it would happen but it’s actually WARM in the Philly ‘burbs! Woo-hoo! I’m ready to celebrate with this spectacular pasta salad. Seriously, wow. 🙂

  2. Such perfect timing – we have a family party coming up in a few weeks and I’ve been wanting to try a new pasta salad recipe!

  3. Hooray for Spring – finally! Beautiful photos of a beautiful pasta salad!

  4. I could seriously live off pasta salad in the summer! Just throw all the good stuff in a bowl and you are ready to go!

  5. This looks like the perfect side dish for a picnic or BBQ! I really love olives and those mozz pearls, too!

  6. I just love a good pasta salad! And now that the weather is warming up it’s a perfect time for the first one of the year. Great combination of Italian flavors in this recipe!

  7. It is a tease! The past week has been coat weather one day, t-shirts the next. It’s ridiculous! At least I know what I’ll be bringing to the next picnic, whenever that may be. 🙂

  8. Italian pasta salads are my favorite type – I just love all of the flavors and textures in here!

  9. This is my absolutely favorite way to make pasta salad! It makes a weekly appearance at our house all summer.

  10. Oh this pasta salad always hits the spot. The italian flavors on it look soooo good!

  11. What a beautiful, colourful pasta salad! It looks very refreshing and healthy.

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