5-Minute Italian Pasta Salad Dressing

published Jul 6, 2022
Pasta Salad Dressing Recipe

This all-purpose garlic and oregano dressing is a perfect match with just about any pasta salad.

Makesabout 1 cup

Prep5 minutes

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Summery pasta salad with pasta salad dressing
Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall | Food Stylist: Greg Lofts

While pasta salad is a no-brainer at cookouts and picnics this time of year, it’s also dish I turn to for lunches and easy weeknight dinners throughout the summer. It’s not just because the muggy weather warrants cold meals on repeat, but also because it’s a wonderful way to put in-season vegetables to work while concurrently making use of my pantry. This simple Italian-inspired dressing is well-suited to just about any pasta salad equation and takes all of five minutes to throw together.

There are endless iterations of pasta salad dressing, and all are wonderful in their own right, but this is version inspired by Italian dressing. It’s made of olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried oregano, and a bit of Dijon mustard for creaminess.

When Should You Dress a Pasta Salad?

The best time to dress pasta salad is immediately after you’ve drained and rinsed your pasta to cool it down. At this stage, the pasta will still be slightly warm, so it will soak up some of the dressing and become the most flavorful. Save a little dressing, too, because if you make the pasta salad ahead of time, you’ll likely find it will have absorbed quite a lot of it and it might need to be refreshed with a spoonful or two more.

Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall | Food Stylist: Greg Lofts

What to Put in Pasta Salad

This recipe makes more than enough to dress a full pound of pasta with additions such as the following:

  • Chopped raw vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers
  • Crumbled or cubed cheeses like feta or provolone
  • Chopped marinated artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes
  • Torn prosciutto, crumbled bacon, or chopped salami
  • Pitted and halved olives
  • Baby arugula or spinach

Pasta Salad Dressing Recipe

This all-purpose garlic and oregano dressing is a perfect match with just about any pasta salad.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes about 1 cup

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    red wine vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons

    Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons

    dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Finely grate or mince 1 garlic clove and place in a mason jar. Add 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Seal the jar and shake well to combine and emulsify. (Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.)

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.