I love cold pasta salads in the summertime, this cold Parmesan cheese pasta salad is an easy salad to make and perfect for the warm summer weather. You can never go wrong with pasta when looking for a side dish, it goes with just about everything.
I have talked about simple recipes that can be the best ones sometimes. When it comes to pasta it only takes a few simple ingredients to dress up the dish. Cold pasta salads are always a favorite in the summertime.
One of the things that I love about pasta salads is that there are so many ways that you can dress them up. Fresh herbs, cheese, different dressing, just to list a few. What is your favorite pasta salad?
- Use the correct pasta. You should use short pasta, which makes it easier to serve and eat. Rotini, fusilli, and farfalle are just some of the best ones that you can use when it comes to pasta salads.
- Don’t overcook or undercook the pasta. Follow the directions on the box. Also, it is a good thing to test pasta to see if it is done. Just simply take one out of the water and taste it, just remember that as the pasta cools it does not stay as soft as it is when it warm/hot.
- Once the cooking process is done rinse the pasta with cool water. This will help to end the cooking process.
- Let the pasta cool completely before you add any of the vegetables or dressing. Remember that since it is a cold dish you may have to season it a little more than if you were serving it hot with a sauce.
- When adding the dressing toss in about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dressing and set it in the fridge to cool. Just before you serve add the remaining dressing. The reason for this is that the pasta likes to soak up the dressing and you don’t want to serve a dry pasta salad to your family or friends.
- For leftovers store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If the leftovers get to be a little dry add a little more olive oil and toss in.
Steps for making Cold Parmesan Cheese Pasta Salad
Cook the pasta using the directions on the box.
While the pasta is cooking cut the vegetables for the salad.
Once the vegetables are ready to go. Prepare the salad dressing.
To make the salad dressing start with adding the herbs and garlic to a food processor (a mini one is perfect for this). Process until everything is finely chopped. Add the olive oil and vinegar and process until well blended. Finally, add the Parmesan cheese and process until well mixed.
When the pasta is cooked. Add to a colander and rinse with cool water. Let the pasta cool completely.
Once the pasta is cool add the vegetables and toss in. Add 1/4 to 1/3 of the dressing and toss until the pasta is coated. Just before serving add the remaining dressing and toss in.
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Cold Parmesan Cheese Pasta Salad
- 16 ounce Rotini pasta
- 15 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
- 3 tablespoons red onion minced
- 1/2 medium green pepper chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste optional
- Cook box of pasta according to the directions on the box
- While the pasta is cooking prepare the vegetable for the salad.
- Once the vegetables are ready for the salad make the dressing. In a food processor add the garlic and herbs. Process until everything is finely chopped.
- Add the olive oil and white wine vinegar and process until well blended. Finally, add the Parmesan cheese and process until mixed in.
- When the pasta is done cooking drain using a colander, rinse with cool water. Drain completely.
- When the pasta is cooled add the vegetables and toss in.
- Add about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dressing and toss making sure that the pasta is coated. Just before serving add the remaining dressing and toss in.
- Cook the pasta using the directions on the box.
- Use pasta that is short in size, it will make it easier to serve and to eat.
- Rotini, fusilli, and farfalle are some of the pasta that will work well for this recipe.
- Don't add all of the dressing when making the salad. Reserve some of the dressing and add just before serving it. Keep in mind that pasta likes to soak up the dressing.
- If there are leftovers and the pasta seems a little dry add some additional olive oil and toss in.
- Remember to season well, cold pasta salad needs more seasoning than a hot pasta dish.
This recipe was originally published on July 10, 2015. It has been updated with new content and pictures on July 13, 2020.
This is a really delicious salad Dawn!!
Easy, quick and perfect for the summer! Gotta try that dressing for my next pasta salad too.
Sounds delicious, good for this hot weather! Thanks, Dawn!
John / Kitchen Riffs
We eat a ton of pasta salads at this time of the year. Don’t think I’ve ever added Parmesan to one, though — neat idea! And such a natural, of course. Good stuff — thanks.
David @ Spiced
My mother in law makes a cold pasta salad that’s loaded with all sorts of veggies, Italian meats and cheeses. I love it! So I know I would love this version, too. In fact, I could see this being a summer lunch all by itself! I really like the Parmesan addition here.
Looks delicious, i am always looking for a new pasta salad!