Creamy Italian Pasta Salad, the perfect Summer Pasta recipe made with fresh tomatoes, avocado, zucchini and herbs and a deliciously creamy Homemade Italian Dressing.
I don’t know about you but the question of the day is always “what am I going to feed them today”? If we could eat desserts all day I would have no problem!
But seriously, an Italian will not live on just a sandwich. And lunch is the big meal of the day, which in my opinion is the way it should be. For dinner, maybe a salad, a couple of pieces of cheese or prosciutto, some bread or leftovers from lunch.
Once summer hits, the Italian is happy with pasta dish a couple of times a week, now me I could eat the stuff morning, noon and night with a couple of desserts thrown in for good measure.
So, during the hot summer months, we do have pasta a few times a week and more often than not it’s a cold pasta salad.
After I made my Grilled Chicken a few weeks ago, I knew that the creamy Italian dressing would be perfect with this fresh vegetable pasta salad, and it was. The veggies and dressing with pasta are satisfying without being heavy, making it a wonderful light meal for a warm day.
Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Balsamic vinegar
- Italian seasoning
- Crushed garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Mini fresh mozzarella balls
- Grilled zucchini slices
- Julienned carrots
- Sliced avocado
- Fresh basil
- Cooked farfalle (bow ties)
How to make Creamy Pasta Salad Dressing
- In a medium glass jar or small blender combine the milk, mayonnaise, balsamic and spices.
- Shake well or blend until completely combined and creamy.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to combine the flavours.
How to Make the Salad
Boil the bow ties until al dente. Drain and rinse them with cold water. Combined the cooked pasta, cut vegetables, tomatoes, and mozzarella in a large bowl.
Add the dressing and gently stir to combine. Top the salad with fresh basil and serve.
I like this salad the day it’s made. If you make it and refrigerate it the pasta will absorb some of the dressing making it less creamy.
If you do want to make parts of it ahead, you can. Mix the dressing a day in advance and refrigerate it. You can also grill the zucchini and prep the carrots and tomatoes a day in advance. Keep them tightly covered in the refrigerator.
For the zucchini, I like to brush the slices lightly with olive oil and grill them for a few minutes on a hot grill. Cook them long enough to get some char marks. The zucchini should be tender but not mushy.
If you don’t have a grill, you can also saute the slices in a skillet with a little olive oil until tender. Let them cool and then add them to your salad.
How to store it
Store the pasta in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last up to 4 days in the fridge.
A Creamy Homemade Dressing mixed with fresh summer vegetables and bow tie pasta, the perfect summer Pasta Salad dinner idea. Fast and Easy and really tasty. Buon Appetito!
More Delicious Summer Salads
Maybe you’d like some more summer recipe ideas? These dishes are light, delicious and perfect for hot weather.
- Mediterranean Rice Salad Bowl
- White Bean Salad
- Italian Summer Pasta Salad
- Classic Italian Caprese Salad
Creamy Italian Pasta Salad
CREAMY ITALIAN DRESSING
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2-3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 10-15 cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 10-15 mini fresh mozzarella balls halved (or a large ball cubed)
- 3 strips grilled zucchini (cut)
- 1 carrot juilienned
- 1/2 avocado sliced or chopped
- fresh basil
- 4 cups cooked pasta (bow ties or fusilli)
CREAMY ITALIAN DRESSING
- Mix all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to combine or mix in a blender. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes to combine the flavours.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
- In a large bowl add, cooked pasta, cut vegetables, tomatoes, mozzarella add creamy dressing and combine well. Top with fresh basil and serve. Can also be made in advance and refrigerated until serving. Enjoy!
- ** grill strips of zucchini on a grill or bbq.
Updated from May 15, 2017.
Daphina Dixon says
I Rosemary, I made this salad for a birthday dinner and everybody loved it. Can I make the salad the day before. If not can I prepare anything the day before.
Hi Daphina, thanks so much glad everyone enjoyed it. You could make the dressing before, just put it in a jar and be sure to shake it before using and you could cut up the veggies (zucchini and carrot) be sure to cover them with plastic and refrigerate. I always prefer to make it fresh rather than keep it refrigerated over night. Hope that helps.
Delicious! I made it and it’s wonderful…I make a salad that’s similar and I’m loving them both. So versatile and yummy❤️
Thanks Karen, so glad you enjoyed it. Have a great weekend.