This gluten-free pasta salad is the perfect side dish for summer BBQs! It’s loaded with with creamy mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, and briny Kalamata olives, all tossed together with a zesty homemade dressing. It’s always a crowd-pleaser!

Looking for a classic Italian pasta salad recipe that just so happens to be gluten-free? You’ve found it! Check out this easy pasta salad recipe for tips to making a side dish everyone will love.

Pasta salad mixed in a large glass bowl

A good pasta salad recipe is essential to any summertime potluck spread, and this delicious gluten free pasta salad is a simple recipe that you’ll come back to again and again!

The Italian vinaigrette is the perfect compliment to the deli meats, zesty pepperoncini, red onions, and noodles. It tastes amazing when paired with other naturally gluten-free BBQ sides, like the best potato salad, cucumber tomato salad or this summer corn salad with feta.

If you’re looking for more party side dishes, check out my Artichoke Dip!

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Why You’ll Love this Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

  • Packed with fresh flavors
  • Easy to make
  • Feeds a crowd
  • Great for summer BBQs
  • Zesty homemade dressing
  • Serve warm or chilled
  • Can be made ahead

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here are some of the simple ingredients to making this gluten free pasta salad recipe!

Pasta salad ingredients on a countertop
  • Gluten-free pasta: Jovial Foods Brown Rice Penne are the best gluten free noodles! They hold up great in cold pasta salad, which isn’t the case with other many other gluten-free noodles. Nobody will know they’re gluten-free!
  • Mozzarella: Fresh mozzarella balls at a creamy contrast to the savory salami and briny pepperoncini and olives.
  • Tomatoes: While other types of tomatoes can be a gamble, grape tomatoes are always sweet and full of flavor! They add an essential element that only fresh vegetables can contribute to a perfect pasta salad.
  • Salami: You can use chopped salami or sliced salami in this delicious pasta salad.
  • Kalamata olives: I love the buttery taste of Kalamata olives, but you can use black olives, too.
  • Parlsey: Fresh parsley is much more vibrant than dried parsley, and adds a beautiful touch of green to your pasta salad. You could consider adding fresh basil or oregano, too!
  • Red onion: Raw red onions can be overpowering when left in big chunks, but the thinly sliced bits add the perfect touch of flavor!
  • Pepperoncini: I love adding pepperoncini to everything from crockpot beef to antipasto salad. It adds a nice acidity and briny flavor!

How to Make Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

Pasta salad ingredients placed in a bowl together
  • Boil the gluten-free pasta, making sure not to over or undercook. Drain and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk or shake together the ingredients for the Italian dressing.
Pasta salad in a bowl, with a hand pouring homemade dressing over it
  • Add all of the ingredients for the pasta salad to a large mixing bowl, including the gluten-free pasta noodles and all toppings.
  • Give the vinaigrette a good shake and toss the pasta salad with 3/4 of the dressing.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Storage Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. This zesty Italian pasta salad will keep for up to 3 days. Save the extra vinaigrette to refresh the pasta salad.

FAQ

Can you use gluten-free pasta for pasta salad?

Yes, you can swap regular pasta noodles for gluten-free noodles in pasta salad. I prefer Jovial Foods Brown Rice Penne, which hold up great in cold pasta salad and don’t have that typical gluten free noodle taste.

Is Zesty Italian dressing gluten-free?

Kraft Zesty Italian dressing is gluten-free, but not all brands are. I like to make my own dressing so I know exactly what is in it, and this homemade Italian vinaigrette can’t be beat!

Does gluten-free pasta get mushy?

Gluten-free pasta can definitely get mushy, especially if it’s cooked for too long (or not long enough.) I think Jovial Foods Brown Rice Penne has the best texture of any gluten-free pasta!

Expert Tips & Tricks

  • Adding protein: Add a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or leftover grilled chicken for added protein!
  • Make ahead: Pasta salad is also one of my favorite things to make ahead and pack for trips or a summer picnic. It is satisfying for a meal on its own or delicious as a side at a potluck.
  • Variations: Feel free to switch it up by adding artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, other cold cuts, green onions, fresh basil, etc. You can even add Greek yogurt or mayo to the dressing to make a creamy variation.
  • Cooking the pasta: Gluten-free pasta will become harder as it cools, so make sure it is well cooked, rather than al dente. You can add a bit of the dressing to the pasta after you drain it to help absorb the flavor and keep the pasta from getting dry and sticky. (Or simply toss in a bit of olive oil.) Do not rinse the pasta after draining!
  • Warm or chilled: You can serve this pasta right away as a warm or room-temperature dish, or put it in the fridge for a few hours and serve chilled. It tastes great either way!
Pasta salad on a plate

More Gluten-Free Sides

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try this pasta, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

A closeup of gluten-free pasta salad in a bowl
5 from 6 votes

Gluten-Free Italian Pasta Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Gluten-Free Italian Pasta Salad – our favorite pasta salad! Loaded with crunchy veggies, cheese, pepperoni and tossed together with a zesty homemade dressing. Always a crowd-pleaser!

Video

Ingredients

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 12 oz gluten-free pasta cooked, I like Jovial Foods Fusilli
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 8 oz small mozzarella cheese balls halved
  • 8 oz salami or summer sausage cubed
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 3/4 cup pepperoncini
  • 1/3 cup red onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parlsey finely chopped

For the Italian Vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon  dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pepperoncini liquid (optional but delicious!)

Instructions 

  • In a small jar or bowl, whisk or shake together the ingredients for the Italian vinaigrette.
  • Add the ingredients for the pasta salad to a large bowl. Give the vinaigrette a good shake and toss the pasta salad with 3/4 of the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • This salad will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. Keep the extra vinaigrette to refresh the pasta salad. Enjoy!

Notes

RECIPE NOTES
  • Adding protein: Add a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or leftover grilled chicken for added protein!
  • Make ahead: Pasta salad is also one of my favorite things to make ahead and pack for trips or a summer picnic. It is satisfying for a meal on its own or delicious as a side at a potluck.
  • Variations: Feel free to switch it up by adding artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, other cold cuts, green onions, fresh basil, etc. You can even add Greek yogurt or mayo to the dressing to make a creamy variation.

Nutrition

Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Sodium: 1077mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 277IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Haha, I read in the comments that it’s recommended to eat this right away, maybe a day later tops. Not my experience — this stuff holds up for like 5 days. Great recipe. Thank you!

  2. Most people complain about gluten free pasta turning mushy after being refrigerated. I have the opposite problem. Mine always turns hard no matter what brand I use. Do you perchance have a solution to keep this from happening? I’d love to try your recipe but tired of failure, Thanks, Linda

    1. I love the brand Jovial Foods! It’s the best gluten-free pasta for this salad and holds up great in the fridge. I hope this helps!

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