Skip to Content

How To Make Pasta Salad From Scratch

It’s easier than you might think to learn how to make Pasta Salad completely from scratch, even the dressing… the best part about this recipe is that you can make it as healthy or as sinful as you want…either way it is going to be a tasty concoction that will be your go-to recipe.

How to make Pasta Salad from scratch.

Isn’t it funny how your tastes in food change when you get older? I know that mine sure have. As a child I HATED Pasta Salad and avoided it at all cost, but as an adult I LOVE it!

So much so, that lately I have been making it at least twice a month. I’d make it once a week, but that’s a little over-kill and it’s kind of expensive to make…

Pasta Salad from scratch really is easier than you’d think to make! It’s certainly better for you than buying pre-made, because you can control every ingredient and make it as healthy, or unhealthy, as you want.

I’ve been fiddling around with ingredients and I finally decided on what is now my “go to” recipe for Pasta Salad. I have tried to simplify it so that, hopefully, others can make it from scratch too. Well, here it is broken down into steps to make it easier.

How to make Pasta Salad from scratch:

First, we prepare the pasta by boiling it until it’s done, draining it, and then let it cool enough to cover and put in the fridge until you are ready to add the other ingredients. You can cool the noodles down faster by rinsing them with cold water when you drain the pasta.

I use a four quart glass pyrex bowl when I make this, you can get one on Amazon here.

Pasta used for making  pasta salad from scratch.

Next, we start making the dressing. I like to use a Pint Jar with a plastic lid for this part.

Add the oil to the jar.

Making the dressing for pasta salad from scratch.

Then add the vinegar.

Adding the oil and vinegar for making dressing for pasta salad from scratch.

Then add the Parmesan Cheese.

Next I added some of my Home-Made Bulk Italian Seasoning, you can get that recipe here. Or just use some from a mix you buy at the store.

Now here is what it looks like with the added yummy Green Onions. I only used ½  a cup of them this time, but you can add more as desired.

Now we put the lid on the jar and shake well to mix!

DIY dressing for pasta salad from scratch.

Next, cube your Mozzarella Cheese to your desired size. I prefer big chunks, but half of that preference could just be because I’m more than a little lazy in the kitchen…

Here is my favorite kind of pre-cooked sausage for this recipe. It’s delicious! Just cut it to your desired size…along with cutting down the olives to your desired size.

Smoked sausage or keilbasa for pasta salad.

Here are what the other ingredients looked like when prepped and ready.

It’s time to combine everything! Here are all the ingredients when it’s time to mix them together in my large bowl, you will need a bowl that is at least four quarts to handle this recipe.

One thing to remember is that the oil in the dressing settles…

So make sure to shake it up really well right before you add it.

Here’s what it looks like when everything has been added to the bowl, and it’s time to toss it together/ mix it.

pasta salad basics.

It’s ready to serve! Enjoy!

homemade pasta salad from scratch. How to make the best italian pasta salad.
Yield: 15

How to make homemade pasta salad from scratch

pasta salad basics. learn to make homemade pasta salad from scratch.

Pasta Salad made entirely from scratch! It's super tasty and you can change it up to suit your tastes.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 12 Oz Package Pasta (pick your fave pasta. Can use 6-8 cups pasta if using bulk noodles)
  • Dressing Mixture:
  • 2/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 C Vinegar of Choice (my favorite is White Wine, I've heard that balsamic is good too)
  • 1/3 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 T Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 to 1 C Chopped Green Onion or Dried Minced Onion
  • Mix Ins:
  • 1 lb Mozzarella, Cubed
  • 1 Can of Black Olives, Sliced
  • 1 to 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes or Sun dried Tomatoes
  • 1 lb Pre-Cooked Turkey Sausage or Pepperoni, Cut to your desired size.


  1. Prepare your pasta by boiling it until it is your desired level of "done". Drain and rinse in cold water. Let cool, place in a large bowl (at least four quarts in size, cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to add the other ingredients.
  2. To make the dressing mixture, use a pint sized jar with a plastic lid. Add all of your ingredients to the jar. Close the lid and shake well. Place this in the refrigerator until you are ready to mix the salad. shake it well before mixing it into the other ingredients. I personally think it tastes best to let the dressing sit and allow the flavors to blend for several hours before you mix up the salad.
  3. On a large cutting board, cube the Mozzarella, Slice the remaining ingredients to your desired size.
  4. Gather all the ingredients, shake the dressing, and mix them all together. Serve now or cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Mix well before serving.


This salad should keep in the fridge for several days if both covered and refrigerated properly.

I like to serve this as a whole meal as it has all the food groups that we need. Just go a little heavier on the added veggies if you're doing so.

Remember that the vinegar that you choose affects the taste of the salad more than anything in this recipe. If you make it and don't quite like it, try another vinegar. I prefer it with White Wine Vinegar and I have heard others prefer it with Balsamic... so play around with it and see what you prefer. Oh, and you can salt and pepper to taste...though I usually don't.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 301Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 54mgSodium 452mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 16g

These caloric amounts are automatically estimated by a plugin on my site and should be treated as an estimate only.

This is just my personal preference for the ingredients, but you can do it however you want. Maybe just use my amounts and preferences as a guide to creating your favorite pasta salad.

Call it…Pasta Salad basics, if you will.

In this particular batch, I had to use dried tomatoes this time because they were getting soft, I didn’t want them to go to waste so I dried them in my oven.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! If you liked what you saw, please make sure to share it via social media! ~Sarah

pasta salad basics. learn to make homemade pasta salad from scratch.

Oh, don’t forget to subscribe to my email list (found here). Also, if you would like to learn how to follow along or really show your support for this blog, go here.

P.S. You may also want to check out my Salads & Dressings section.

Here are several of my other recipes that you’re also going to LOVE:

For those of you that would like another option for a “pinnable” image on Pinterest, here you go…thanks again so much for the support!

How to make homemade pasta salad from scratch.

*Reposts: Please note that this idea/post was originally posted to this website on 01/11/2014 but it was in great need of a refresh so it now is more user friendly/shareable and now has a free printable recipe card!

easy tip for mopping hard floors
How To Spot Mop...And Why You Should
10 Family Budgeting Tools To Make Budgeting Easier
Comments are closed.
Skip to Recipe