This Gluten-Free Pasta Salad is loaded with mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, Kalamata olives, and salami, all tossed together with fresh Italian vinaigrette. It is one of my favorite cold pasta salads because it is refreshing, full of flavor, and makes the perfect side dish for a summertime potluck spread.
Why You’ll Love this Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
Here are a few reasons why this will become your new favorite pasta salad:
- Easy to make. This salad comes together in less than 15min.
- It is adjustable. You don’t have some of the ingredients? No worries, this salad is very forgiving and you can easily swap the ingredient for something else.
- Can be made ahead of time. You can make this salad 1 or 2 days in advance.
- Feeds a crowd. I can promise you that everyone loves this salad!
- Goes so well with a lot of potluck side dishes. For example gluten-free pizza rolls, potato salad, or Mediterranean quinoa salad.
- Bursting with fresh flavors.
Ingredients and substitutes
Gluten-free pasta. You can make this pasta with gluten-free rotini, fusilli, or penne pasta. I recommend using the gluten-free pasta by Barilla or Rummo.
Fresh cherry tomatoes. I highly recommend using fresh tomatoes for this salad, however, you can also use sun-dried tomatoes.
Salami. You can replace salami with pepperoni. If you want to make it vegan or vegetarian you can use vegan salami or chickpeas.
Kalamata Olives. If you don’t have Kalamata olives you can also use green olives.
Roasted red peppers from a jar or pepperoncini. I like the flavor and texture of roasted red peppers or pepperoncini, however, you can also use fresh bell pepper.
Mozzarella Cheese. The mild flavor and creamy constancy of fresh mozzarella balls add a nice contrast to the savoy salami and olives. You can also use vegan mozzarella, however, the texture of vegan mozzarella is not as creamy.
Parsley. Fresh parsley is so much more vibrant and flavourful than dried parsley and it gives the salad a beautiful green touch. You can also add fresh basil or oregano.
Parmesan Cheese. Grated parmesan cheese adds a nice sharp flavor and goes so well with the rest of the ingredients.
Gluten-Free Pasta Salad Dressing
For this salad, we need a tangy Italian dressing. However, since not all store-bought Italian dressings are gluten-free, I recommend making your own.
It is very easy to make and it requires simple ingredients that you probably already have at home.
Here is everything that you will need:
Salt & pepper
Dried oregano & basil
Fresh Herbs like (parsley, basil, or chives) - this is optional
How to make this salad
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Boil the gluten-free pasta according to packaging instructions. Make sure you don’t overcook it, it’s best to cook it just right to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, cut the salami into small cubes, half the olives, and the mozzarella balls, and chop the roasted peppers and the fresh herbs.
Step 2: Make the Italian dressing.
Add all the ingredients to a jar, close it and shake until everything is well mixed.
Step 3: Toss everything together
Drain the cooked pasta and add it into a big salad bowl, let it cool down, then add the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle with the Italian dressing, toss all the ingredients together and your salad is ready to serve.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Save some of the Italian vinaigrette to refresh the salad.
- Cut your ingredients into small pieces. Cutting your ingredients into pieces that are slightly smaller than bite-sized will ensure that you get some of each flavor in every bite.
- Don’t overcook your noodles. It is best to cook it just right to al dente. If you overcook your gluten-free pasta noodles, they will become soggy and mushy once they absorb the vinaigrette.
- Let the pasta cool down before you add the rest of the ingredients. You don’t want to cook the rest of your ingredients while you toss everything together. However, make sure to toss in a bit of olive oil before you let your pasta cool down because gluten-free pasta can get sticky.
- Allow some time for pasta salad to marinate. This will allow for all the ingredients to absorb the dressing, resulting in a more flavourful pasta salad.
Not all brands are gluten-free. I like to make my homemade Italian dressing because I know exactly what is inside plus it tastes so much better than the store-bought ones.
Don’t overcook it and use good quality gluten-free pasta. I recommend using gluten-free pasta by Barilla or Rummo.
Yes, you can customize this salad to your liking! You can add fresh spinach, onion or chives, green beans, chickpeas, chicken, feta… the possibilities are endless.
More Easy Gluten-Free Salads
Gluten-Free Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound gluten-free pasta
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
- 8 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese balls (cut in half)
- 8 ounce salami or summer sausage (cut into cubes)
- ¾ cup roasted red peppers from a jar or pepperoncini chopped
- ¾ cup Kalamata olives sliced
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
For the Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon each dried basil and dried oregano
- black pepper to taste
- fresh herbs (chives, basil, parsley) optional
- Boil the gluten-free pasta according to packaging instructions. Make sure you don’t overcook it, it’s best to cook it just right to al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking make the Italian dressing. Add all the ingredients to a jar, close it and shake until everything is well mixed.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add it into a big salad bowl, let it cool down, then add the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle with the Italian dressing, toss all the ingredients together and your salad is ready to serve.
- Keep it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
This salad is life changing! I have never liked pasta salad until I tried this one!