4.80 from 5 votes

Radiatore Pasta Salad

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Hey, cold pasta salad lovers! Ever been on the hunt for a drool-worthy cold pasta salad recipe? Well, enter the sensational Italian Radiatore Pasta Salad. This dish truly captures the essence of a summer cookout.

easy cold pasta salad in a bowl.

The Ultimate Italian Pasta Salad with Radiatre

Have you got 30 minutes? Great! Because that’s all, you need to whip up this flavorful radiatore pasta recipe that uses fresh ingredients for an easy family favorite.

Splash on some Zesty Italian dressing (oh, the zing!), toss in crunchy onions, sweet green peppers, and savory olives, then add a kick with some spicy pepperoni.

Voila! You’ve got a cold pasta dish that’ll make summer parties perfect.

Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • rotini radiatore (as shown) or macaroni pasta, cooked to package instructions, drained, and cooled
  • pepperoni quartered
  • sliced black olives
  • green pepper chopped
  • grape or cherry tomatoes halved
  • sliced red onion
  • zesty Italian dressing
  • Parmesan cheese
all of the pasta salad ingredients.

How to make Radiatore Pasta Salad.

Place your cooked, drained, and chilled pasta into a large mixing bowl. Remember, cold pasta ensures that your ingredients stay crisp and fresh.

Top Tip: Always rinse your cooked pasta with cold water. It keeps it from getting all gooey when you mix in the dressings.

Toss in the Goodies:

  • Pepperoni, quartered for bite-sized goodness
  • Juicy black olives
  • Freshly chopped green bell pepper
  • Grape tomatoes, halved for that burst of flavor
  • Thinly sliced red onion for a touch of zing

Pour in that zesty Italian salad dressing. Stir everything again, ensuring the pasta and veggies are glistening.

step by step collage on radiatore pasta salad.

Patience is tasty. Now, pop your bowl into the fridge. Allow the Italian Pasta Salad to chill for at least an hour. Make this classic pasta salad a day in advance for the best taste.

Finishing Touches: Give this summer side dish another mix when it’s serving time. You’ll want to scoop up any delicious dressing pooled on the bottom.

Cheese, Please!: Crown your masterpiece with a generous sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.

radiatore pasta salad.

What are some ingredient variations that go well in this salad? 

The great thing about pasta salads is that they shine with colorful vegetables and ingredients. Season with salt, black pepper, fresh mozzarella balls, green olives, crumbled feta cheese, or kalamata olives

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing: Zesty or Smooth?

While I’m on Team Zesty, my husband leans towards regular Italian dressing. Feel free to play around! Creamy dressings can also be delicious; adjust the quantity accordingly.

Start with a half cup and increase as you see fit.

pouring Italian dressing.

Pasta Salad with Radiatore vs. Rotini

While I flaunt radiatore pasta in pics and rotini pasta in videos, both are fab. Just pick your favorite pasta and go with it. 

  • Radiatore: Radiatore pasta looks like little radiators or car engines. I know, weird comparison for something you eat, right? With all those nooks, crannies, and ruffled edges, Radiatore is like a sponge for sauce.
  • Rotini: Rotini is that fun, spiral-shaped pasta you’ve probably seen in many summer potluck salads. The twisty turns make it excellent at holding onto chunky and smooth sauces, giving you a balanced taste in every forkful. 

Refreshing Pasta Salad Recipes

Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna pasta salad is a seafood lover’s delight! It combines flaky, savory tuna with perfectly cooked pasta, often mixed with veggies like celery or peas. A creamy mayonnaise-based dressing binds it together for a refreshing and satisfying meal. It’s perfect for picnics or a light lunch.

BLT Pasta Salad

Think of the classic BLT sandwich but in a pasta salad form – that’s the BLT pasta salad for you. Crunchy bacon, crisp lettuce, and juicy tomatoes mixed with pasta and a tangy dressing. Every bite brings the comfort of the beloved BLT right to your fork. Ideal for summer BBQs and family gatherings.

Pea Pasta Salad

Pea pasta salad is a bright and fresh choice. It’s a great side dish or a light main course with its sweet peas, al dente pasta, and often some fresh herbs. A light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice adds a zesty touch, making it a welcome addition to spring and summer meals.

Couscous Salad

Couscous salad is a North African-inspired dish that’s light and fluffy. Couscous grains mixed with chopped vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

Greek Salad

Opa! Greek salad is a medley of vibrant flavors. Crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, red onion, olives, and crumbled feta cheese are the stars here. Perfect as a side dish, or add grilled chicken for a complete meal.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Let’s not forget the classic, old-fashioned potato salad. Tender chunks of potato mixed with crunchy celery, onions, and some hard-boiled eggs. The creamy mayo-mustard dressing is where the nostalgia kicks in. 

4.80 from 5 votes

Radiatore Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Radiatore Pasta Salad Recipe Pasta salad is one of the easiest pasta salads to make! Simply pouring on the Italian dressing makes the spices perfect, and the crunch of onions, sweetness of green peppers and olives, as well as the tang of spicy pepperoni, create a pulled-together cold dish that is perfect all summer long.


  • 8 ounces dry rotini radiatore (as shown) or rotini pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 3 ounces pepperoni quartered
  • 3.8 oz sliced black olives
  • 1/2 green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  • Start with the Pasta: Take your cooked, drained, and cooled Radiatore pasta and toss it into a mixing bowl. This is the base for a delicious Italian-inspired dish!
  • Mix in the Goodies: Throw in quartered pepperoni, sliced black olives, chopped green pepper, halved grape tomatoes, and sliced red onion. Give it all a good mix.
  • Add Some Zing: Time for the dressing! Stir in your favorite zesty Italian dressing and mix again. You'll want to ensure everything gets evenly coated for that perfect taste.
  • Chill Out: Pop Italian Pasta Salad into the fridge for at least 1 hour to marinate. If you can, let it chill overnight (or make a day ahead) for maximum flavor.
  • Get Ready to Serve: When you're ready to serve, give it a good mix. Be sure to scoop up any dressing that's settled at the bottom of the dish.
  • Cheesy Finish: Top it all off with some shredded Parmesan cheese.



  • 8 oz of pasta is approximately 3 cups of pasta total. When you add the vegetables and dressing, you get around 4 to 4.5 cups of Italian Pasta Salad.

How to store Leftovers

  1. Choose the Right Container: Place the pasta salad in an airtight container. If you’re using a bowl, you can cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. The goal is to keep air out to maintain freshness.
  2. Refrigerate: Place the sealed container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, the pasta salad should last for about 3 to 5 days.
  3. Avoid Freezing: It’s generally not recommended to freeze pasta salad, as it can alter the texture of the pasta and the freshness of the vegetables.
  4. Serving Again: When you’re ready to enjoy the salad again, give it a good stir as the dressing might have settled at the bottom. If it seems a little dry, you can add a splash of Italian dressing to refresh the flavors.
Remember, the ingredients in Radiatore Pasta Salad can absorb flavors from other foods, so keeping it in an airtight container is essential.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 1444mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 724IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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4.80 from 5 votes

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