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Creamy Italian Tricolor Pasta Salad

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Need to take a salad to a summer party? This Creamy Italian Tricolor Pasta Salad is a great option! This salad is not light on flavor. The combination of the creamy Caesar dressing and basil pesto gives this pasta salad a deliciously rich and savory flavor. The tricolor rotini pasta adds a fun and colorful twist, making it visually appealing as well!

Adding cherry tomatoes, black olives, and green onions adds more color and texture variety to the dish. And let’s not forget about the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, which adds a salty and nutty element to the salad.

This Italian pasta salad is a great side dish for summer parties like barbecues, picnics, or potlucks. It’s so creamy and delicious. A crowd-pleaser that will have everyone coming back for seconds!

Plus, you can easily make it ahead of time and serve it chilled, making it a convenient option for busy hosts. So, next time you need to take a dish to a party, consider making this flavorful and satisfying pasta salad. Your friends and family will thank you when they enjoy one of the best pasta salad recipes ever!

served up protion of cream Italian pasta sald

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente and drain. Add the pasta to a large bowl and coat the cooked pasta with the creamy Caesar dressing while still warm.

Add the salt, garlic powder, pepper, tomatoes, and olives. Then, green onion, parmesan cheese, basil, and pesto. Toss everything together until well combined. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

Refrigerate for at least 4-8 hours until ready to serve. If the salad seems dry before serving, simply add a little more Caesar dressing. Then, toss to combine.

As a little extra add-on for this salad, I like to serve some panko bread crumbs on the side of the salad for people to sprinkle on their serving. It adds some more crunch and texture to the salad.

Tricolor pasta salad served up on a plate with watermelon and bbq pork sandwiches

How long can I store this pasta salad in the refrigerator?
This salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Just make sure to stir it well before serving again.

Can I use a different kind of pasta for this creamy pasta salad?
Tricolor rotini is ideal because its spirals catch the dressing and small pieces of vegetables and cheese. However, any similar pasta like fusilli, penne, macaroni, or farfalle will work.

How can I add protein to this salad?
You can include diced chicken, salami, or chickpeas for extra protein and flavor.

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad served in a white square bowl

Creamy Italian Tricolor Pasta Salad

Real Mom Kitchen

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Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 32 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 181 kcal


  • 1 (12 oz) pkg tricolor rotini pasta
  • cup creamy Caesar dressing
  • ½ tsp coarse kosher salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 10 oz pkg grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 (4 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
  • ¼ red onion finely diced
  • ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 6-10 fresh basil leaves cut into strips or torn into pieces, plus more for garnish, if desired
  • ¼ cup basil pesto
  • panko bread crumbs optional


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, according to package directions. Drain. Add to a large bowl and coat with the Caesar dressing while still warm.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Toss well to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve (4-8 hours). If the salad seems dry after refrigerating, add a little more Caesar dressing and stir to combine. You can serve panko bread crumbs on the side to sprinkle on each serving if desired.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 615mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 553IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Keyword pasta salad, summer
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

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