Potluck Pasta Salad

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A colorful medley of garden-fresh vegetables is tossed in a light oil and vinegar dressing to make this tangy pasta salad a surefire hit at your next gathering.

Vegetable Pasta Salad

Potluck Pasta Salad

We love pasta salads as the weather warms up. There aren’t many things that beat having a meal ready-to-go in the fridge on a hot summer night.

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Part of that is the fact that we lived in Phoenix for so many years. When it’s 108 degrees outside and muggy from a thunderstorm, you learn to eat as light as possible. And, you keep the oven off as much as possible.

No Mayo Pasta Salad

This recipe is great for a summertime gathering because it is simple to make, loaded with flavor, and you don’t have to worry about it sitting in the sun. No mayo is perfect for a potluck pasta salad.

If you’ve been here for very long, then you’ll know that I’m an equal opportunity employer of mayonnaise. I like a mayo free pasta salad with a bright vinaigrette just as much as I enjoy a creamy pasta salad with mayo.

You’ll love that this Italian Penne Pasta Salad can be set out and then forgotten about. There are no worries about a no mayo pasta salad spoiling in the sun.

This Garlicky Spinach Pasta Salad and this Summer Israeli Couscous Salad are excellent salads that are perfect for summer.

This California Spaghetti Salad is loaded with many of our favorite flavors too. And this Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad is a must any time you have fresh strawberries around!

This Tangy Pasta Salad is filled with crunchy bell peppers and onions, tangy olives, and sweet tomatoes. Tossed in a light oil and vinegar dressing the recipe is great for summer parties.

Pasta Salad with Olives

This tangy pasta salad turned out light and flavorful with a great balance of tanginess from the vinegar and the bright flavors of the fresh vegetables. And, I love the slight bite from the onion and olives in pasta salad.

If you’re a fan of pasta salad with olives, then you’re in the right place. I adore the depth and distinctive flavor that they add to a dish. This Creamy Pasta Salad is one of my newest favorites.

My brother might pick around the olives in this California Spaghetti Salad, but that’s his problem–not mine. That just leaves more for the rest of us!

Tangy Pasta Salad

  • small pasta: ditalini, elbow, fusilli, penne, etc
  • red onion
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • grape tomatoes
  • black olives
  • bell pepper
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • salt and pepper
Tangy Pasta Salad

Set a medium sized pot of water over high heat and cook the pasta according to directions. Then, remove from the heat and rinse immediately with cold water until cool. Set the pasta aside in the colander to drain.

While the pasta boils, chop the onions. Then, place in a large mixing bowl with the olive and vinegar. Allow this to rest while preparing the rest of the vegetables and the cheese.

Add the tomatoes, olives, peppers, pasta, and cheese to the bowl with the onions. Toss well to coat thoroughly. Then, season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I often make a double or triple batch of pasta salads like this one. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, and are fabulous for a quick lunch or snack.

When preparing the salad a day or more in advance, you might want to add a splash more vinegar and oil if needed. Be sure to toss again before serving.

Vegetable Pasta Salad with Cheese

Pasta Salad with Bell Peppers

For those of you who are here for the pasta salad with bell peppers, then you have got to try this Garlicky Pepper Pasta Salad next. It is loaded with crisp peppers and other fresh veggies. And, the garlic is divine.

This Cowboy Pasta Salad is like a deconstructed spicy cheeseburger with pasta instead of bread. And, if that doesn’t appeal to the meat-lovers at your table, nothing will. It’s a hearty meal all by itself.

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes

Probably more than any other vegetable (or fruit, if you’re into technicalities), the humble tomato gets put into pasta salads at my house. I adore pasta salad with tomatoes.

If you haven’t tried it yet, then this Marinated Tomato Pasta Salad should be high on your list. These tomatoes hit way above their weight in the flavor department.

This classic Italian Pasta Salad always gets rave reviews when I take it to a potluck. One of my favorite things about it is that you can adjust the recipe to include whatever vegetables you have on hand.

There’s not much that will be simpler than this Tomato Pasta. It’s great warm or cold, and it is positively bursting with flavor. Your taste buds will thank you!

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This Tangy Pasta Salad is filled with crunchy bell peppers and onions, tangy olives, and sweet tomatoes. Tossed in a light oil and vinegar dressing the recipe is great for summer parties.

Tangy Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Peppers and Olives

5 from 2 votes
A colorful medley of garden-fresh vegetables is tossed in a light oil and vinegar dressing to make this Tangy Pasta Salad a surefire hit at your next gathering.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 8 ounces small pasta: ditalini, elbow, fusilli, penne etc
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 ounces grape tomatoes, halved about 2 cups
  • 3/4 cup black olives, halved about ½ of a 6-ounce can of olives
  • 1 cup green, red, or yellow bell pepper, chopped small about 1 medium size bell pepper
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste
  • ¼ – 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, adjust to taste


  • Cook the pasta according to directions, removing from the heat and rinsing immediately with cold water until the pasta is cool. Set the pasta aside in the colander to drain. 
  • Place the onions in a large mixing bowl dish and cover with the olive oil and vinegar. Let rest while preparing the rest of the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, olives, peppers, pasta, and cheese to the bowl with the onions.
  • Toss well to coat thoroughly. Season generously with salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Calories: 321kcal · Carbohydrates: 34g · Protein: 11g · Fat: 16g · Saturated Fat: 5g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 9g · Cholesterol: 17mg · Sodium: 385mg · Potassium: 351mg · Fiber: 3g · Sugar: 5g · Vitamin A: 1619IU · Vitamin C: 43mg · Calcium: 169mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 7/13/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 6/19/23}
Tangy Pasta Salad with vegetables and cheese is a winner of a summer meal.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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21 Comments Leave a comment or review

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  1. Jenn says

    lol..wait…lovely muggy 108? I don't know.. I experienced that same weather and I don't remember it being too lovely!! lol BUT, the pasta said DOES sound lovely and it looks even better!

    • Mary says

      I survived a visit to the D.C. area in July about 10 years ago. Let's just say that I will NEVER go back in the summer time. The humidity just wipes me out! Hope your a/c is fixed SOON!

  2. Velva says

    Cold pasta salads are one of my favorite summer dishes. You are right, it makes a great meal during these hot summer days.

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. Geni says

    This sounds and looks just perfect for the 100 degree humid weather we are having too. I am not used to this weather in So Cal. So not OK. Take care.

  4. Monet says

    Ah, what a perfect summer salad. I'm totally wanting a bowl of this now. It is way past lunch time, and I'm hungry. Thank you for sharing with me, sweet friend. It always makes my heart happy to visit here.

  5. Italian Food says

    This is the perfect food that good to eat during summer. But I am not really a fun of eating those tomatoes. Does it taste good if it is going to mix in the pasta?

  6. Ann B says

    I made this pasta salad for a potluck today. It was a hit! I did mix a little extra dressing and stirred it in before serving. The salad had been in the fridge for a couple hours before serving. The salad was light and crunchy. I will definitely make it again.5 stars

  7. Mary Arnold says

    So good and so easy to make. Thank you. Here in Cayo, Belize, it’s 96F and humid as we expect rain shortly.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m glad the pasta salad could cool you down on a hot day, Mary. Having lived in Arizona during the rainy season, I don’t miss the weather. Enjoy!