Italian Pasta Salad is perfect as a salad for lunch or as a main dish for dinner. With just a handful of ingredients, this salad is easy to make and is definitely not short on flavor.
I love pasta salads and I make them frequently during the summer. This Zesty Italian Pasta salad is a new favorite of mine because it is equally delicious served cold, warm, or at room temperature.
This dish comes together with just a handful of flavor-packed ingredients.
- Pasta – I used cheese tortellini, but other shapes like rotini, farfalle, or cavatappi are all great options.
- Sausage – I love the flavor of sweet or spicy Italian sausage in this recipe. For a lighter alternative, use turkey sausage.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – the acidity of the tomatoes adds wonderful flavor. You can also use roasted red peppers.
- Italian salad dressing – to keep things easy, I used a bottled zesty Italian dressing. Use your favorite variety of Italian dressing – both store-bought and homemade versions work fine.
Tips for Preparation
- If your supermarket doesn’t carry one-pound packages of ground sausage, you can use links – just remove the casings before cooking.
- To save time, cook the pasta and toast the nuts while the sausage browns.
- Rinse the pasta before adding to the salad. I always prefer to rinse pasta when I’m adding it to salads. Too much starch can create a gloopy mess!
More pasta salad recipes to enjoy
- Muffuletta Pasta Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Summer Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Dressing
- Caprese Pasta Salad
Loaded with Italian flavors, this easy pasta salad can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.
- 1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage
- 12 ounces cheese tortellini
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes sliced
- 3 scallions chopped
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup zesty Italian salad dressing
To a skillet set over medium heat, add the sausage. Cook until browned, approx. 10 minutes, breaking it into pieces as it cooks. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
In a small skillet over low heat, toast the pine nuts until lightly golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, sausage, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, and parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Add the salad dressing and toss to coat.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or chill and serve. Salad will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Thanks for sharing!
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and rating below. You can also post a photo on Instagram and tag me @mycasualpantry using hashtag #mycasualpantry.