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Contest-Winning Picnic Pasta Salad Recipe

Contest-Winning Picnic Pasta Salad Recipe

My family's not big on traditional pasta salads made with mayonnaise, so when I served this colorful version that uses Italian dressing, it was a big hit. This crowd-pleaser is loaded with vegetables, beans and tricolor pasta. -Felicia Fiocchi, Vineland, New Jersey
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 25 min. YIELD:14-16 servings


  • 1 package (12 ounces) tricolor spiral pasta
  • 1 package (10 ounces) refrigerated tricolor tortellini
  • 1 jar (7-1/2 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
  • 1/2 pound fresh broccoli florets (about 1-3/4 cups)
  • 12 ounces provolone cheese, cubed
  • 12 ounces hard salami, cubed
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 envelopes Italian salad dressing mix


  • 1. Cook spiral pasta and tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Place in a large bowl; add the artichokes, broccoli, provolone cheese, salami, peppers, beans, olives, onion and garlic.
  • 2. Prepare salad dressing according to package directions; pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Yield: 14-16 servings.

Reviews for Contest-Winning Picnic Pasta Salad

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Reviewed May. 17, 2016

"LOVED this salad and it made a huge amount. Which everyone loved so they could have some the next day. Big hit at my father's 90th birthday celebration!"

Reviewed Oct. 13, 2015

"Delicious! Holds up really well for a picnic and everyone loved it!"

Reviewed Jul. 4, 2014

"I took a bowl of this to a family potluck get-together today. I made just a few changes: forgot to buy broccoli, so omitted it, added some siced green stuffed olives, used a 7-oz. box of dried tortellini, subbed green onions for the red onion, and left the garlic out. It was still very good! There is a little left over (there was a LOT of food), but it won't last long around here as my daughter and I just love this."

Reviewed Jun. 2, 2014

"I have made this recipe for years, as it appeared in a Taste of Home issue previously. We love it. And it makes a large salad for a big group. In fact, I'm getting hungry for it just reading about it!"

Reviewed May. 22, 2014

"Awesome salad and a great big thanks for all that contributed optional derivatives. For those of you that are chefs by trade or are diy's , we value your input and optional suggestions. They're always welcome. As you know all families have different tastes and preferences."

Reviewed May. 3, 2014

"This is an amazing salad, just a little expensive to be economical. Taste is really great!"

Reviewed May. 1, 2014

"butterfly 4183 you changed the recipe almost entirely, no one cares just submit your own recipe are you kidding? get a life the author doesn't need a lecture, i am a seasoned cook and don't need a lecture from you either this a five star *****"

Reviewed May. 1, 2014

"My family loved it Very flavorful. Keeping this one!"

Reviewed Apr. 23, 2014


Did you see the title of this recipe? "Contest-winning picnic pasta salad"So you see i'm questioning why you bore us with your trivial family preferences. Sit there in your kitchen and try to figure out how to really cook instead of boring all of us with how you "are going to change it for your family". We really don't care until you reinvent it and prove it then publish it as your own, and possibly give this recipe credit for your inspiration. Girl, you sound like my sister who likes nothing that she doesn't cook!For goodness sake try something that someone else makes or just shut up. I for one and most every one else don't like something in a recipe so we delete or substitute...just life in the kitchen...keep cooking but don't be a dork."

Reviewed Apr. 22, 2014

"I've made this as a summer picnic/potluck staple for years. I frequently use a bottled Italian cheese salad dressing (such as Bernstein's) instead of the dressing mix. Doing so perks up the provolone. And, instead of cubed hard salami I buy turkey pepperoni to use. It adds color and dimension without high fat. Stack the rounds of pepperoni and cut them in fourths for better distribution in the salad when tossed."

Reviewed Sep. 1, 2013

"This recipe is good! I would make a few changes for my family though. I would change the cheese to Dubliner, it is extra sharp and has more flavor than the provolone. I would also blanch the broccoli for 2 or 3 minutes so you get the full nutritional value of it. The cell walls are too tough to break down when eaten raw unless you put it in a green smoothie. I would also use only 1 package of italian dressing and stir some mustard into it. 2 pkgs. is too much dressing and way too much sodium and the mustard gives it a bit of a bite. I would probably use a regular can of olives and slice them myself as we are fond of olives. Might add some queen stuffed green olives sliced too, again we love olives and the green ones have a nice bite to them. I add them to my spagetti sauce too. I never thought of adding salami to pasta salad, it is quite good. I usually use ham or italian canned tuna."

Reviewed Jun. 29, 2013

"OMG this is so easy and so good - great for those summer picnics"

Reviewed May. 20, 2013

"I thought this pasta salad was very flavorful, there are so many components in this salad."

Reviewed Aug. 21, 2012

"Perfect to bring to a potluck. It is always a hit. Makes a huge bowl."

Reviewed Jun. 18, 2012

"I like this pasta salad for the different textures of the noodles. Into the recipe box this goes for future potluck salads."

Reviewed Dec. 19, 2011

"This is thr best pasta salad ever!!! It is now the only one I make."

Reviewed Jul. 29, 2011

"This is the best pasta salad I've ever had. It makes a ton and seems to explode out of the bowl as you build it, but it won't last long!"

Reviewed Jun. 28, 2011

"A perfect easy and delicious summer picnic salad!"

Reviewed May. 8, 2011

"This is my very favorite pasta salad. My go to salad for any get together. Left overs are great for lunch if you are lucky enough to have left overs. This one should be on your favorite's list, it is mine!! :)"

Reviewed Oct. 20, 2010

"I have made this several times. Everyone loves it!"

Reviewed Sep. 23, 2010

"I just love this salad. It is colorful and flavorful. It is also different from most salads as it has spiral pasta and tortellini. You must try this!!"

Reviewed May. 27, 2010

"I've made this recipe since it was published in 2003. Absolutely love it! It's always a hit no matter where I take it."

Reviewed Apr. 9, 2010

"I cook lunch at our motorcycle store every Saturday and this pasta salad is always a big hit. Even the guy's ask for the recipe, although they prefer me to make it for them."

Reviewed Jun. 22, 2009

"Re: Picnic Pasta Salad

I find when I make pasta salad, I put the green beans, broccoli, carrots in the pasta water with the pasta during the last 3 minutes, and it really brings out the color of the vegetables."

Reviewed Aug. 3, 2008

"This is a definite winner! I made a small amount of this just to try..and my mother made a surprise visit and scolded me for not making enough to share! I made it again a week later and it didn't last long. I added some plum tomatoes to it and I steamed the broccoli."

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