Looking for the perfect summer recipe that you can bring to every pool party and barbecue? We’ve got you covered. Instead of the heavy, cream-based pasta salads of yore, we’ve got a lighter, jam-packed salad that’s got tons of flavor and is inspired by our favorite savory pie – pepperoni pizza. With noodles as the base, we added plenty of cheeses, tomatoes, pepperoni and lots of seasoning, ensuring that this pasta salad is always delicious and addictive. You’ll see!
So instead of the aforementioned heavy sauce, we used an oil-based sauce with olive oil and red wine vinegar, that we seasoned with Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, and red pepper flakes. This is basically a light Italian dressing – that you could use on just about any salad you like, pasta or otherwise – and we love how it coats everything without taking any attention away from the star of the show, which is all that yummy pepperoni! Hold off on adding any salt at first, since you may find that the pepperoni takes care of the salty element for you, but if you want to amp up any of the other seasoning, go right ahead!
This is a great dish, especially for warmer months, since you can prep everything ahead of time and throw it together just a couple minutes before people are expected over or just before you’re ready to head out the door. You’ve probably got all the dressing ingredients on hand, plus, any leftovers you may have you can just throw on a pizza later in the week! That’s what we call a win-win!
Pepperoni Pizza Salad
20 minutes to prepare serves 6-8
- 1 (16 oz.) package rotini pasta (tri-color, optional), cooked and drained
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
- 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 oz. sliced pepperoni
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and parmesan cheese, and season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes, if using. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Toss cooked pasta with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, cherry tomatoes and sliced pepperoni, then top with olive oil dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate at least 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom