Tri Color Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing is an incredibly fresh homemade cold pasta salad that makes every bite count. You never know if your fork will grab onto the soft mozzarella cheeses or the crunchy and sweet red peppers or maybe even the crisp bite of broccoli- every bite a surprise and every bite the BEST. Grab the recipe below – this recipe is THE perfect recipe for your next potluck, picnic, party or holiday.
What I love about curly rotini pastas are the ability to get the noodles in a tri color.
The green and orange make a beautiful rainbow salad so it can look as appetizing on the table as it tastes! This cold shrimp version of the Italian Tri Color salad is a cold salad side dish, perfect year round, and easily adaptable to add even more of what you love.
Tri Color Pasta Salad with Italian dressing
Reasons to whip up and love this delicious pasta salad
- When you make pasta salads, they are certainly tons of choices for the pasta noodle. I have an affinity for the mini macaronis and the baby shells myself, but these rotini pastas are a nice thick noodle that can fill up just about anyone. And the curly q shape is super fun.
- Even better when served cold! While you can serve this one immediately it tastes even better when left in the fridge for up to 4 hours or even overnight. I personally am not a big “left over” gal, but I think 3 days is pretty solid on this salad.
- Alright, this one is def not in the no carb keto family, but when you account for the amount of fresh veggies in it, its still an amazing alternative to cookies. If you really want to curb the carbs, make sure you try this super fresh and low carb whole 30 alternative, Mediterraneans Shrimp Salad.
- Italian dressing is super light and really helps enhance and make this pasta salad shine. It does not hide the vegetable and pasta flavors.
- I always pick my favorites when it comes to making fresh Vegetable salads, but you can change this one up to your own homemade recipe by slicing and dicing your best veggies as well. You can also choose to add cooked meats like pepperoni and vary the cheeses.
Rainbow Pasta Salad Notes
- Do not overcook your pasta – You can cook your pasta via the instructions on the box but do not overcook. Since you are adding Italian salad dressing and Italian Seasonings, your noodle is already going to get saturated. If you over cook your pasta, it might be too soft to really enjoy.
- Do not substitute your Mozzarella Pearls with Mozzarella Block Cheese – cheese matters! Make sure you use fresh mozzarella diced down or pre-sized Mozzarella Pearls. If you slice blocked cheese the density is totally different and it detracts from the taste and texture. I always say that cheese is one thing that is worth the splurge.
- Black Olives or Green Olives – these are totally different types of olive tastes, but I do love an olive in a salad so I would not wimp out on adding them unless you hate them. Personally I prefer a black olive nutty taste versus the sharp taste of a green olive. You can also lower the 12 oz can to a 6 oz can if you prefer.
- If you really wanted to, you can use the regular Rotini pastas, but I love the way the colored ones look myself.
Need more amazing pasta salads for your table? You will love these tried and true recipes:
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad with Tomatoes
- Vegetarian Macaroni Salad with Cucumber Slices
- Bacon Ranch Pasta salad with Mayo
- Pea pasta salad with mini shells
- 1 box tri color Curly Rotini Pasta - cooked and cooled
- 1 bottle 15 oz Italian Dressing
- Italian Seasonings Packet
- 12 oz can of black olives, drained
- 1/2 cup of diced red peppers
- 8 oz Mozzarella Pearls
- 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2-1 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
- First cook your rotini pasta al dente. You can cook according to the box but it takes typically 7 minutes or so. Drain and set pasta aside.
- Chop all your veggies to bite sized pieces. Make sure you peel the cucumber before slicing down as well. Cut off any long broccoli stems and cut broccoli heads down if too large. You want to make sure that when you take a bite of the salad, everything can fit nicely on a fork in one bite.
- Drain your black olives
- Dump all your ingredients on top of the tri color pasta
- Now sprinkle your Italian Dressing packet over the top
- Dump the entire Italian Dressing bottle into the pasta and vegetable mixture
- Mix super well, making sure to saturate all the noodles and vegetables top to bottom
- Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days
PROTEIN : Originally when I created this salad, my intentions were to add a sauteed shrimp. Unfortunately I used all the shrimp in my other recipes that day so I simply ran out. Feel free however, to add proteins like cooked up shrimp or pepperoni
CHANGE UP VEGETABLES: Consider adding bites of cauliflower, green onion, chunks of red tomatoes or even shredded carrots. This salad is super adaptable.
SERVING: This pasta salad is super filling so I put the serving size as half a cup. If you can eat more I am impressed.
PARTY FOOD: My recipe makes a WHOLE LOTTA SALAD. You probably figured that out when you saw a box of pasta...there are 10 cups, so you will def have enough.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 121Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 411mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g