The BEST Pasta Salad

The BEST Pasta Salad

This old family recipe is a favorite at potlucks and parties. It’s also a great side dish to serve with dinner. This pasta salad is full of flavor and kick!

In my family, the recipe for The BEST Pasta Salad was always called “Grandpa’s Pasta Salad.” This was his favorite recipe, and he requested it be served on special occasions. I am so happy that my husband also loves this recipe.

It’s not ONE of his favorites, but it is his absolute favorite…of all time. He groans as he watches me make it because he knows he will gain half a bowl of pasta. ūüėČ

Oh, the power!

You can make it yourself!

Pasta Salad: The BEST Pasta Salad

In the Midwest, pasta salad is a staple of summer. Everyone has their unique combination of ingredients to make the best pasta salad. It is with humility that I say there is no other pasta salad recipe combination than mine. It’s official! We make this dish at least once weekly between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is chewy and crispy, and crunchy. It’s savory and zesty.

Seasoning blend is the secret to a great meal.

Ingredients Required

  • Pasta:¬†My Grandpa loved the dish made with fettuccini. (Try it sometime, super fun!) Though I use gluten-free rotini most of the time.¬†Jovial brown rice Rotini¬†is my preferred rotini over a corn/rice mix. Use regular rotini if you do not need to be gluten-free.
  • Tomatoes: I usually use Roma tomatoes for this dish, but you can use any tomato that looks good in your area.
  • Cucumber: A diced cucumber that has been peeled and seeded adds crunch to this recipe for pasta salad. You can choose between a regular cucumber and an English one.
  • Pepperoni¬†We LOVE how the salty, savory flavor of pepperoni is added to every bite of this pasta. I am a firm believer that¬†Applegate Naturals¬†produces the best pepperoni.
  • Sliced olives: The olives give this dish a savory and satisfying flavor.
  • McCormick Salad Supreme:¬†Special secret ingredient alert!!¬†The seasoning blend¬†makes this pasta salad stand out from the rest. It’s gluten-free as of 5/22. This dish has a ridiculous amount of it.
  • The Zesty Italian dressing:¬†The Zesty Italian dressing is the second ingredient that makes this pasta salad sing. I prefer¬†Ken’s Zesty Italian, which is gluten-free. Kraft’s version is also available if you do not need to be gluten-free. Below I will also include a link to my homemade Italian dressing.

How do you keep gluten-free pasta from becoming hard?

You can’t. Sorry! Keeping cooked gluten-free pasta in the fridge for longer than 2 hours is not recommended. The pasta will harden and crumble. Cooked brown rice pasta is more durable than corn/rice blended pasta. This recipe tastes best when served right away, or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to two hours. If you refrigerate the pasta, it may need more dressing.

Okay, okay!! Are you ready to dive into this bowl of deliciousness??!

How to make the Best Pasta Salad

Cook¬†pasta¬†until done in boiling salted water. Jovial gluten-free brown rice pasta is my favorite. Hy-Vee Good Graces Gluten Free Pasta is also a good choice if you live locally. It is chewy, and it springs like “real” spaghetti!

Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water. Once the pasta has cooled, add the pasta to a large bowl.

Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water. Once the pasta has cooled, add the pasta to a large bowl.

Sprinkle on¬†McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning¬†and drizzle with¬†Ken’s Zesty Dressing. I use the herb about 1/2 cup (YES! 1/2 cup). I use about 1/2 the salad dressing bottle and up to 1/2 cup of seasoning. You can use as much or as little of each as you want!

If you cannot find the dressing, make my The Best Ever Italian Vinaigrette instead. Here is a fantastic copycat blend if you are still looking for the seasoning.

NOTE Sometimes, the Salad Supreme seasoning can be found near the salad dressings in the grocery store. If you can’t find it, try both the spice aisle and the salad dressing aisle.

Stir to combine and serve immediately, or chill for up to two hours. You’re right — best. PASTA. SALAD. EVER!! Enjoy!

Pasta Salad: The BEST Pasta Salad


Serves 8

  • 12oz gluten-free rotini pasta
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
  • One cucumber peeled and seeded. Then chopped
  • 4oz pepperoni, chopped (Applegate Farms recommended)
  • Can of sliced olives in a 2.25 oz size, drained
  • 4oz jar McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning (MAY NOT NEED ALL)
  • 16oz Ken’s Zesty Dressing (MAY NEED NOT ALL)


  1. Bring a large pot to a rolling boil, then add the rotini. Cook until they are tender. Rinse the pasta under cold water and drain again. Add the pasta to a large bowl after draining well.
  2. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, pepperoni, and black olives to the pasta. Mix well. If desired, add more dressing or Salad Supreme seasoning. Serve immediately or chill for up to two hours.
  3. If you liked the recipe, please comment with a star rating! We appreciate your consideration!


  • This pasta salad contains gluten-free pasta and is best served immediately or chilled up to two hours before serving. If you chill the pasta salad first, you may need to add more dressing.
  • You can find McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning in the aisle with salad dressings or in the supermarket’s spice section.
  • Click here to get the recipe for homemade¬†Italian Vinaigrette >
  • Click here to view the¬†Copycat recipe for Salad Supreme Seasoning >

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