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
- Chorizo Pasta Salad
- Muffuletta Pasta Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Summer Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Dressing
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Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage
- 12 ounces cheese tortellini
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes (sliced)
- 3 scallions (chopped)
- ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ⅓ 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.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.