Recipe Review

This Easy Italian Pasta Salad Is So Good, I Can’t Stop Eating It Straight from the Bowl

published Jun 2, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

When I started my search for the best-ever pasta salad, Pinch of Yum’s recipe kept coming up. After skimming through it, I quickly learned it is beloved by many — it has a 4.4/5-star rating and dozens of glowing reviews. I had to know: What was it about their recipe that made it so popular?

Out of all the recipes I tested, this was the only one that called for white vinegar. Since I typically make pasta salad with red wine vinegar, I was curious to see how this would taste. This recipe also offered a ton of flexibility in terms of add-ins, and while I stuck to the recipe exactly, I appreciate the creativity this offers. Here’s what happened when I gave it a go.

Get the Recipe: Pinch of Yum’s Best Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

How to Make Pinch of Yum’s Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta in a colander, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and allow it to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl. In a blender, food processor, or jar, combine olive oil, white vinegar, water, coarse sea salt, garlic, sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, and black pepper and blend or shake to combine. Add the dressing, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, red onion, and parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

My Honest Review of Pinch of Yum’s Pasta Salad

This is a truly excellent pasta salad. Thanks to the white vinegar, this dressing has enough acid to balance out the pasta and the add-ins, and the dressing-to-pasta ratio is spot-on, too. I know it might seem like a lot of olive oil (and dressing), but you really will want to make the full batch. I followed the recipe and only added 3/4 of the dressing when I tossed the pasta salad together, but ended up serving the rest of it alongside the salad.

Although there are plenty of ways to riff on the mix-ins, I used the ones recommended in the recipe and loved the combination. She calls for either salami or summer sausage and I opted for the former, which added some textural difference along with saltiness. As for the pasta, Pinch of Yum recommends rotini, which felt very fitting for this classic recipe.

While the recipe itself isn’t super descriptive, pasta salad is so easy to put together I found that it didn’t really matter. I’d be thrilled if someone brought this to a potluck or the beach, or even just cooked it for a weeknight dinner. I’ll definitely be making this again! 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

If You’re Making Pinch of Yum’s Pasta Salad, a Few Tips

  • Read the blog post. In the recipe itself, the only directions given for the dressing are to blend it up or shake it in a jar. But if you go back and read the blog post, you’ll see she recommends blending it in a food processor or blender. 
  • Save some of the dressing. The recipe calls for using 3/4 of the dressing when you toss the salad together and saving the rest for later. If you were to add it all at once, the pasta salad would be swimming in dressing. 

Overall Rating: 9/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Have you made Pinch of Yum’s pasta salad recipe? Let us know in the comments!