This Italian Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Olives is a light and tangy penne 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.
Cucumber Tomato Pasta Salad
Fresh tomato and cucumber tossed together in a salad is like summertime in a bowl. When I’m in the mood for a crisp and refreshing side, Cucumber Tomato Salad never disappoints. All these veggies need is a splash of oil and vinegar, a little seasoning and I’ll happily eat a whole bowl.
Adding pasta to the idea of a cucumber tomato salad only made it all the more delicious. I love the way the juicy tomatoes and fresh cucumbers taste together with tender penne noodles in this pasta salad.
If you like the combination of flavors in this Italian Pasta Salad, you should also give Cucumber Salad with Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette a try for your next potluck dish. For a creamier cucumber tomato salad recipe, try this Creamy Cucumber Tomato Salad, too.
Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
If you can boil pasta and chop a vegetable, you can make a delicious homemade pasta salad.
Along with the cucumber and tomatoes, this penne pasta salad gets its Italian flavors from a combination of fresh herbs. I use plenty of chopped fresh basil leaves for amazing flavor and fragrance. Italian parsley add a fresh taste that makes this dish irresistible.
A combination of grape and cherry tomatoes work beautifully here. Red wine vinegar compliments the sweetness from fresh tomatoes while adding a nice tang.
Black olives finish this salad with a rich and salty flavor. Even people who’ve told me they’re not the biggest fans of olives have enjoyed them here.
We also love plenty of garlic in our pasta salad! I throw three chopped cloves into mine, but feel free to adjust based on your garlic preference.
This recipe calls for a super simple dressing that really lets the flavors of the fresh veggies shine. The olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing is moist enough to keep the pasta from drying out but light enough not to overpower everything else.
Italian Pasta Salad is delicious and filling enough to serve on its own as a quick lunch or dinner. It also makes a fabulous side dish for any of your favorite entrees.
Pair it with Italian Red Wine Pork Roast for a hearty meal any time of year. Try it with a cup of Italian White Bean, Cabbage, and Sausage Soup for a delicious lunch. It’s wonderful eaten as-is or sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese.
However you enjoy this simple penne pasta salad, I hope you like it as much as we do!
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.
While I love a Creamy Pasta Salad, I also like a pasta salad I can serve year-round with no worries. 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. I never have to worry about a mayo free pasta salad spoiling quickly in the sun.
In the summertime, I often make a double or triple batch of pasta salads like this one. Leftovers are great to keep in the fridge and dish out for a quick lunch.
This Spinach Pasta Salad and this Summer Israeli Couscous Salad are two more excellent salads that are perfect for summer. And this Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad is a must any time you have fresh strawberries around!
If you’re looking for a warm pasta dish that the entire family is certain to love, this Easy Baked Ziti is guaranteed to thrill them. One Pot Lazy Lasagna is another easy delicious dinner that comes together.
Check out all my Pasta Salad Recipes for more ideas!
Penne Pasta Salad
- 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!