Grown-Up Pasta Salad

ActiveTime10 Mins
Total Time: 40 Mins
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups) 

You know that pasta salad from childhood (you know the one—rotini, canned olives, underripe grape tomatoes, cubed cheese)? It showed up at cookouts, sleepovers and every occasion in between, and it holds a special place in hearts a plenty—or at least it does around our office. So, we made a few swaps to create a fully grown uptake that still hits all the nostalgic notes we crave. Think a more sophisticated nood (we went orecchiette, but you can go with whatever you like!), buttery Castelvatrano olives (i.e. the best olives), juicy-sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes for dynamic color, hunks of savory salami, rich and creamy mozzarella pearls, radishes for fresh crunch, and an easy, from-scratch Italian dressing. Sure, it may require a trip to the grocery store’s olive bar, but trust us, it’s so worth it. 



  • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions
  • 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup Genoa pork salami, cut into 1/4- x 1/4- x 1-in. strips
  • 1(8-oz.) container fresh small (pearl) mozzarella cheese balls
  • 3/4 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 1 bunch)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes (from 4 radishes)


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (from 1 [2 oz.] shallot)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from 1 large clove)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare the Pasta Salad: Toss together cooked orecchiette, tomatoes, salami, mozzarella, olives, parsley, and radishes in a large bowl.

Step 2

Prepare the Italian Dressing: combine olive oil, vinegar, shallots, oregano, Dijon, garlic, honey, thyme, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until dressing is emulsified. 

Step 3

Pour dressing over pasta mixture, gently toss until pasta is evenly coated. Chill 30 minutes before serving for flavors to develop. 

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