Recipe of the day: Spicy Italian pasta salad

Summertime is definitely barbecue time. Every night there are burgers, ribs, grilled chicken, sausages, and the occasional grilled veggie or two for dinner. Grilled foods are great because they’re quick, but cooking outdoors is a particular challenge: side dishes. The question of what to serve with the best grilled dishes can be solved with this Italian pasta salad to prepare.

No-cook side dishes for summer barbecues and midweek dinners

While we’re usually big fans of making your own salad dressings (including your own Italian vinagrette), this pasta salad is where bottled Italian dressing comes in really handy. The store-bought stuff is particularly savory – and simple. It’s exactly the kind of shortcut to use when you just want to put something together in 20 minutes and end the day. However, if you’re inspired to go the homemade route, check out our video on how to make vinaigrette below.

Like all pasta salads, this Italian pasta salad is easily customizable. We kept the basic recipe of peppers, red onions, cucumbers, and olives simple, but you can add mozzarella cheese balls, hot peppers, fresh vegetables or herbs from your garden, or sun-dried tomatoes to spice up the flavors.

No matter what you put in your pasta salad, this dish comes together quickly and easily. The biggest hassle you will have to put in is to boil water and dice a few vegetables. So easy!

For a simple midweek dinner on Sunday evening in summer, prepare this pasta salad and keep it in the fridge all week. It’s a versatile side dish and the perfect “salad” when you’re fed up with salads.

Spicy Italian pasta salad


  • 1 1/2 cups rotini or penne rigate pasta
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup green or black olives
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

Step 2: Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Chill in your refrigerator for four hours. Serve cold.

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