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Italian Pasta Salad

Easy Italian Pasta Salad – Good Seasons Remix

Easy Italian Pasta Salad From the Back of a Box

This easy Italian Pasta Salad recipe from, Tessa’s Kitchen Tales, first came about from the back of a Good Seasons box, but with modifications, developed into my own delicious creation. I like to use the Barilla brand of either penne or fusilli and Celentano’s or Italian Village’s Tortellini, both made by the Rosina company.

What’s For Dinner?

What to make to dinner?  I know, I sound like a broken record…

This question is the hardest to answer when the weather is just way too hot to cook.  I’m sure many of you have seasonal go-to dishes.  In my home, beef stew or lasagna are not meals that are served during the hot summer months.  I have my go-to ‘cool foods’ in my arsenal of summer recipes. 

When I was a kid, I remember my mother serving an assortment of cool foods for the evening meal. When the temperature was above 90 degrees my mother sometimes would prepare a stove top frittata. Other times we would eat breakfast for dinner, or made sandwiches with deli meats. Other cool meals would be the usual tuna or egg salads, and occasionally a shrimp or crab salad.  When my mother ran out of ideas, our dinner was a dish of Italian cheeses. She would put out provolone, fontina, or of course, fresh mozzarella along with deli olives, a nice crusty Italian bread, and a tossed salad.  A green salad was always on our dinner table.

Good Seasons

Back in the seventy’s Italian Pasta Salad wasn’t a popular dish—at least not in my family.  Sure, there were other salads. There was chef salad, spinach salad, or lettuce leaves with a dollop of tuna or egg salad on top. The only ‘pasta’ salad I knew of was macaroni salad.  Around the mid-nineties I recall coming across a pasta salad recipe from the back of a Good Season’s box.  The pasta salad consisted of diced cucumber, chopped tomato, broccoli florets, pasta, beans, salad dressing, etc… It was a good salad and I still make it from time-to-time.  Not until my kids were tweens when I found this great pasta salad recipe. Each time I make this recipe and serve it to those that have not eaten it before, most ask for the recipe.

If you are you looking for a quick, easy, and delicious meal to prepare on one of these hot summer days?  We still have a little over six weeks before we welcome in fall.  In the Northeast, the hot and humid weather can continue until late October.  Hot soups and stews won’t be a dinner option in my house until the first frost.  At a cookout, pair this with the Italian Sausage and Peppers . You can also refresh yourself with a NY Slush Cannoli Ice or Italian Lemon Ice.

Give this delicious and satisfying Italian Pasta Salad a try that I’m sure you’ll make it more than once.   

Note:  Using brands other than the brands listed, may alter the taste of this recipe. 

Italian Pasta Salad


1 lb. of Barilla penne or short fusilli
1 bag of Italian Village or Celentano cheese tortellini (Optional)
1 -2 cups of Good Seasons’ salad dressing OR Preferred salad dressing
1 pint of grape tomatoes sliced in half
1 large can of pitted black olives
1 large can of chickpeas
1 small jar of sundried tomatoes sliced (with or without oil)
2 8-ounce containers of feta cheese (or preferred cheese)
1 medium – large red onion diced into small pieces
1 lb. Grilled or sautéed chicken chopped into bite-size pieces (Optional)


Prep: In a large pot, add water and salt to taste. Bring water to a boil. If adding tortellini to the pasta salad, bring a separate pot of water to boil and following package cooking directions.
While waiting for water to boil, slice grape tomatoes in half. Drain and rinse olives.
Chop sundried tomatoes.
Chop red onion.
As you prep these ingredients, add to a large mixing bowl. Prepare salad dressing. Add one cup to the ingredients in mixing bowl. Retain the other cup for later use.
When water comes to a boil, cook pasta/tortellini to desired tenderness. Drain and rinse pasta(s) with cold water.
Combine pasta(s) with other ingredients in mixing bowl. Toss well. Add one 8-ounce container of feta cheese. Toss mixture with feta cheese.
If making this dish with chicken, add cooked bite-sized pieces and toss. Using the second container of feta cheese, sprinkle over the pasta salad to garnish. Serve and enjoy! Wait for the Mm mm’s…

Suggestion: Top grilled or breaded chicken cutlets with seasoned mixture in place of pasta. For a time-saver, you can use leftover rotisserie chicken (bones removed) chopped into small pieces.

For a lighter version: Swap pasta with Zoodles (thinly sliced zucchini) or Barilla Chickpea pasta. The seasoned mixture tasted great over salad greens, too

Note: This dish can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator. If pasta salad is prepared in advance, take the pasta salad out of the refrigerator and place on the counter for 20 – 30 minutes. You may need to add more salad dressing and toss again before serving. When preparing this dish in advance, wait to garnish until you are ready to serve. The serving size is approximate. You will want leftovers. Great to take to work for lunch. For parties/ barbecues, this recipe can be doubled (or tripled), if necessary.

Tessa's Kitchen Tales
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