Need an easy side dish for Summer? This 4-Ingredient Pasta Salad is cheap to make and is a quick side item for busy nights!
Pasta salad is the perfect side dish for any Summer meal. You can get as creative or as simple as you want with it; and serve a huge crowd, or even just your small family.
We’re a family of 3, so I rarely need to make anything fancy for us. I like meals with simple ingredients and that doesn’t take a lot of time to make.
This 4-Ingredient Pasta Salad is SO easy. It’s salty with just a hint of sweetness from the Italian dressing, and it’s a light side dish to go with burgers or hot dogs. I can get the ingredients pretty cheaply from the grocery store, too!
Scroll to the bottom of the post to get to the recipe card for this classic side dish; or keep reading for extra tips!
Any short pasta shape like rotini, penne, shells, or elbow macaroni noodles
Colby Jack cheese- cheddar cheese would be fine too
Italian salad dressing
I wanted this to be an easy recipe, so I made it only 4 ingredients. But the following ingredients also go great in pasta salads for extra flavor:
- Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- Red bell pepper
- Green pepper
- Black olives
- Parmesan cheese
- Red onion
- A creamy dressing made of ingredients like mayo, sour cream, ranch, etc. Some people prefer a creamy pasta salad!
Tips on how to make this your own way
- I didn’t use a ton of each ingredient in this, so feel free to add more. I especially found that I needed to add more Italian dressing before I ate mine, because the pasta had already absorbed most of it.
How to make
In a large pot, heat water to boiling and add pasta. Cook for 6-7 minutes until al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water.
On a cutting board, dice the salami and cheese into bite size small pieces.
Place cooled pasta into a large bowl and add the salami, cheese, and Italian dressing. Mix thoroughly and cover the bowl in plastic wrap, then place in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Divide and serve with your favorite main dish.
How to store
Store any leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge. Use up within 5-7 days. This is honestly even better the second day after the flavors have blended together!
What to serve with this
This is best served on a hot summer day with main dishes like hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken sausages. I’d even bring it to a Summer BBQ- adding more of each ingredient!
Keep in mind that cold pasta salad needs to stay cold; try not to let it get to room temperature for too long, as that makes a good breeding ground for bacteria.
Other easy recipe ideas
Need some other meals that only have 5 ingredients or less? Check out my master post for some of my favorite recipes!
Print this easy pasta salad recipe now:
- 8 ounces shell pasta (Or other short pasta shapes)
- 1/2 cup Colby Jack cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup deli salami, diced
- 1/2 cup Italian dressing
- In a large pot, heat water to boiling and add pasta. Cook for 6-7 minutes until al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water.
- On a cutting board, dice the salami and cheese into small cubes or pieces.
- Place cooled pasta into a mixing bowl and add the salami, cheese, and Italian dressing. Mix thoroughly and cover the bowl in plastic wrap, then place in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Divide and serve with your favorite main dish.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 914mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 13g
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.