Perfect Pasta Salad

When you need to feed a crowd fast, I always recommend pasta. It is surprisingly easy to make enough to feed 10 – 30 people. However, the larger the batch, the harder the quest for quality cooking. I am often wary of pasta salad because it tends to be bland or hopped up with too much mayonnaise, dressing, or some other unhealthy ingredient.

But today, I peered over my co-worker’s shoulder and saw the most delightful looking pasta salad. A taste test revealed that it was as good as it looked, if not better. Pepperoni flavors seeped into the dressing to give each piece of pasta just the right kick, and I was hooked. He graciously agreed to share the recipe, so enjoy! This is the perfect light, colorful dish for a summer picnic or dinner on the patio, paired with a nice chardonnay or sweet Prosecco.

Big  summer bonus: the relatively cooking-free preparation keeps your kitchen from turning into a sauna while you get dinner ready!

Serves: 10-15

Prep time: 30 minutes


  • 1 stick of pepperoni, first slicing into 1/2 thick rounds and then slicing each round into quarters
  • 4 oz black olives, canned or from the olive bar at the grocery store
  • 1 box of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper,  diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, first slicing into 1/2 thick rounds and then slicing each round into quarters
  • 1/3 pound of provolone cheese, cubed
  • 2 boxes of cellentani pasta, cooked following package instructions
  • 3/4 bottle of Newman’s Own House Italian


Apart from the pasta, this is a pretty no-cook recipe. Just be sure to let everything sit together for at least a half hour after you have combined all of the ingredients so the flavors can marry.

  1. Heat the water for the pasta.
  2. Chop pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, and onion.
  3. Add the pasta to the water with three teaspoons of salt.
  4. Chop the peppers, broccoli, carrots, and cheese.
  5. Combine chopped ingredients with dressing and mix to coat.
  6. When pasta is ready, mix thoroughly into the other dressed ingredients until the pasta is completely coated with dressing.