Easy Pasta Salad with Parmesan Cheese

Pasta salad is always a winning dish. It is cheap to make, you can use leftover cooked pasta or cook some in about 10 minutes, and there are all kinds of flavors you can add to this easy pasta salad with parmesan cheese.

In this recipe we are keeping with the Italian theme (although you might like to look at our Indian pasta salad for a wonderful fusion idea!) by incorporating parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.

Dressing Tweaks

Although the tangy red wine vinegar dressing is good, sometimes I prefer to just use mayo for a super-simple dressing which boasts a lovely creaminess everyone is going to love. You can add other flavors to the mayo too, like mustard, spices or dried or fresh herbs, as you like.

Use white pasta for the best result – perhaps penne, shells or another favorite. For pasta salad, avoid the long kinds like spaghetti or linguine, and go for something that’s easy to pick up on the fork or scoop up in a spoon.

This recipe can be made quickly and easy, and it is an excellent pairing for everything from grilled chicken to burgers, steaks or even fish. Why not make a big batch for your next barbecue event or party?

Easy Pasta Salad with Parmesan Cheese
Pasta is given the all-Italian treatment here, flavored with not only mozzarella and parmesan, but also fresh basil and a tangy red wine vinegar, caper and garlic dressing. Serve this at room temperature.
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ lb (225g) uncooked penne or other pasta shapes
  • ½ lb (225g) diced fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup (100g) freshly grated parmesan
  • Small handful julienne-sliced fresh basil leaves
  1. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Process half of them with the olive oil, garlic, capers, vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Cook the pasta following the instructions on the package, until al dente.
  4. Drain the pasta then toss it with the dressing.
  5. Mince the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes and toss them with the mozzarella, parmesan and basil.
  6. Season with salt to taste and serve at room temperature.
You can serve this chilled if you prefer (and if you want to prepare it ahead) but served at room temperature the flavors really seem to shine out.

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