Best Ever Pasta Salad Recipe (with homemade dressing)

Pasta salad is in zero of my childhood memories. Like, none. My mom just never made it. No worries though, because I still got to eat plenty of delicious food growing up. 😉 

I will never forget a dinner I had with my husband’s family. We were dating at the time and I remember sitting down with his family and seeing this ginormous bowl of pasta salad sitting on the table. I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to try it…and then after about 5 helpings I asked my soon-to-be mother-in-law for the recipe. She told me she had no measurements but just threw things in and made it work, usually using Good Seasons Italian Dressing. So I tried making it one day and it was so good! I slowly started incorporating pasta salad into our meal rotation, making it once a month or something. I found it was a dish my whole family really enjoyed.
When I was searching through a cookbook one day, I saw an interesting pasta salad recipe with homemade dressing. Over the next several months, I tried the recipe out, changing it every time until I felt like it was perfected.

There’s just something so comforting about a nice bowl of pasta salad with my lunch that makes my heart happy. I love this homemade dressing and that it doesn’t come from a bottle. The combo of veggies, pepperonis and feta is so delish. I recently made this pasta salad when I had guests over and got rave reviews! It makes a huge bowl and is the best the next day. I really hope you try it and like it as much as we do!

Best Ever Pasta Salad Recipe (with homemade dressing)
Recipe type: Side Dish, Pasta
  • 1 (12-oz) pkg. multi-colored rotini pasta
  • 1 (1 lb) pkg. penne
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 (8-oz) package sliced mushrooms, halved
  • 1 (14.75-oz) jar marinated artichokes, cut into thirds (save marinade for dressing)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 can black olives, sliced
  • 1 (7-oz) package sliced pepperonis, cut into fourths
  • 8-12 oz feta cheese
  • Reserved marinade from artichokes
  • ¾ c. olive oil
  • ⅓ cup + 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  1. Cook and drain pasta, but do not rinse. Mix in a large bowl with pepper, mushrooms, artichokes, onions, olives and pepperonis (all except cheese).
  2. In a large jar, mix marinade ingredients. Close top and shake well to incorporate. Pour over pasta/chopped vegetable mixture.
  3. Add in feta before serving and stir to combine. Great served at room temperature or straight from the refrigerator. Enjoy!

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  1. 1

    Joanne DiPalo says

    Hi Jen, I’ve been searching for recipes that won’t heat up the kitchen too much. This pasta salad is just right. I’m sharing it on my FB page and pinning it as well.

    Thanks so much,
    Joanne/WineLady Cooks

  2. 5

    Miz Helen says

    Hi Jen,

    I am so excited to be able to make a comment on your post, I think they finally have it fixed!! Great Pasta Salad for summer we will just love it. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great summer weekend and come back to see me real soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. 6


    Wow, Jen – this pasta salad looks incredibly yummy! I pinned it so that I can give it a try at our next neighborhood get-together – but of course, I’ll have to give it a test run (because I can’t wait that long to try it!)…Thanks for sharing!

  4. 7

    Sarah Bates says

    This pasta looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing at Foodie Friends Friday. Be sure to stop by and link up again next week!

  5. 9

    Lily R says

    Wow…now I’m wondering why I’ve never put artichoke hearts in my pasta salad…!! I also love that you use two different types of pasta…I think this might be going on my menu for next week!


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