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Make this filling and refreshing pepperoni pasta salad for your next backyard barbecue! This Italian pasta salad is a delicious combination of tortellini, mozzarella, pepperoni, and zesty Italian dressing! This pasta salad is so good, you’ll be going back for seconds!
I love a good pasta salad. It satisfies my pasta craving without making me sweat in the middle of summer. Pasta salad is really more of a side dish, I love serving it outside and paired with yummy barbecue. It tastes great when paired with anything from hot dogs to steak.
❤️Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This pasta salad is the perfect summer side dish. It’s cool and refreshing yet packed full of flavor!
The combination of basil and mozzarella is so fresh and delicious. And the pepperoni and tortellini make this side dish filling enough to be eaten as a main dish.
Pepperoni: Cut a whole pepperoni stick and slice it into 1/2-inch thick slices, then quarter each slice. Presliced pepperoni will not be thick enough and will change the outcome of the pasta salad.
Mozzarella: Look for whole mozzarella vs shredded as you will want to cut the mozzarella into chunks.
Scroll to the bottom for the complete list of ingredient measurements and printable recipe card.
📖 Ingredient Swaps
Dried basil: 1 tablespoon dried basil may be substituted for fresh basil.
Gluten-Free: To make this dish gluten-free, swap the tortellini for gluten-free pasta.
Vegetarian: If you want to make a vegetarian pasta salad, substitute the pepperoni for chopped veggies. I recommend sliced black olives and chopped broccoli florets.
👩🏻🍳Expert Cooking Tips
Cooling the tortellini
In this recipe, we recommend lightly coating the cooked pasta with olive oil and spreading it on a cookie sheet in an even layer to cool. It takes about 20-30 minutes for it to come to room temperature.
If you prefer to cook the pasta ahead of time, toss it in oil and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to prepare your pasta salad.
Prepping in advance
Pasta salad actually tastes better if it has had time to sit. We recommend making your pasta salad – with dressing – at least an hour before you’re ready to serve it. Let it chill in the fridge for a while so it has time for the flavors to meld together.
If you want to make the pepperoni pasta salad way in advance, prepare it without the dressing and refrigerate it. Add the dressing when ready to serve.
5-7 days. Uneaten pasta salad should be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Yes, you can freeze pepperoni pasta salad, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure it’s freshly prepared and hasn’t been sitting out for too long.
Portion it into freezer-safe containers or bags, removing excess dressing if it’s mayo-based. Pop it in the freezer as soon as possible to maintain the best texture.
When you’re ready to enjoy it, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight, give it a good stir, and it should be good to go. Just remember, some ingredients might change in texture after freezing, so it might not be exactly the same as when it was fresh, but it should still be delicious!
🥩Serve this with…
Pasta salad is great with traditional barbecue fare. Here are some recipes you may like.
If you tried this Pepperoni Pasta Salad or any other recipe on my website, I would love it if you could leave me a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below. ❤️
Pepperoni Pasta Salad Recipe
- 2 20-ounces packages cheese tortellini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 8-ounce package fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1 7-ounce pepperoni stick, sliced
- 1 16-ounce bottle zesty Italian dressing
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Cook tortellini as instructed on the package. Drain tortellini but do not rinse. Toss tortellini in olive oil. Spread tortellini onto a rimmed cookie sheet and let cool, for about 30 minutes.
- Once cool, combine tortellini, mozzarella, and pepperoni in a large bowl. Pour in Italian dressing. Stir until the pepperoni pasta salad is evenly coated. For best results, chill for one hour.
- Top with fresh chopped basil. Serve and enjoy!