This Italian Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Olives is a light and tangy summer pasta salad that is potluck, party, and summer barbecue friendly, with no mayo or other ingredients to spoil in the heat. A light dressing keeps everything tangy and moist, while the pasta won’t dry out, even if it’s left on a table for a couple of hours.
This Italian Pasta Salad is one of the simplest pasta salads you can make. You’ll have the entire salad assembled in the time it takes to boil the pasta if you start chopping ingredients while the pasta is cooking. I often toss everything together while the pasta is warm and serve the salad immediately.
However, this is also delicious cold and will keep nicely in the refrigerator for a few days. Italian Pasta Salad is a terrific make ahead dinner or lunch for busy days.
MAYO FREE PASTA SALADS
I’m a gigantic fan of pasta salad made without mayonnaise. These mayo-free salads keep nicely at room temperature for hours, making them super convenient and tasty for summer parties and other outdoor activities in the heat. I typically take these salads to potlucks in big disposable pans or plastic containers. This way, I can set it on the table and then forget about it.
- 8 ounces mini penne pasta or regular penne pasta
- 4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (red or yellow is fine)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper, adjust to taste
- 2 cups cucumbers, chopped small
- 6 ounce can whole black olives, drained and halved
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced very thin and chopped small
- 10 large fresh basil leaves, sliced very thin, about 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped small
Bring a large pot of water to a boil along with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, but do not rinse the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium-size bowl. Stir and let sit while assembling the rest of the salad.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cucumbers, olives, red onion, and cooked pasta. Add the tomatoes and all of the juices from the bowl. Stir to coat everything in the dressing.
Sprinkle with basil and parsley and toss again. Taste the salad and add more salt and pepper as needed. Serve or refrigerator until ready to eat. Enjoy!