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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.

Recipe Note

Test Kitchen Tips

  • This salad has so many goodies you don't have to dig to find them. But you can stretch the recipe (and save some moolah) by cooking another 12-ounce package of tricolor spiral pasta and drizzling it with olive oil before adding it to the salad.
  • Don't be afraid to make this ahead of time. The flavors actually improve overnight.
  • Reviews for Contest-Winning Picnic Pasta Salad

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    HEXA User ID: 7635575 264684
    Reviewed Apr. 15, 2017

    "Great recipe! Perfect when you're tired of making the same old potato or macaroni salads. Lots of great flavours that mingle well. Even more delicious as leftovers the next day"

    dolo12 User ID: 2379137 252010
    Reviewed Jul. 30, 2016

    "This is my idea of a pasta salad! Great ingredient to pasta ratio."

    amehart User ID: 1464390 248330
    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!"

    runnermomto4 User ID: 8190420 234896
    Reviewed Oct. 13, 2015

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

    Aquarelle User ID: 985301 128661
    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."

    cherylrein User ID: 2921847 93696
    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!"

    jandonato67 User ID: 7815568 54987
    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."

    gaschoenecker User ID: 6561894 205579
    Reviewed May. 3, 2014

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

    palanya User ID: 7398629 48285
    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 *****"

    caglaser User ID: 3870171 87516
    Reviewed May. 1, 2014

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

    bucky2 User ID: 5333798 48273
    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."

    CalR User ID: 5718504 55301
    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."

    butterfly4183 User ID: 7393737 139549
    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."

    Bonito User ID: 1630276 55299
    Reviewed Jun. 29, 2013

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

    pamdevone User ID: 3875916 93675
    Reviewed May. 20, 2013

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

    DawnLockhart User ID: 3466471 129821
    Reviewed Aug. 21, 2012

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

    linsvin User ID: 1584655 126973
    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."

    hottunes User ID: 4062656 48242
    Reviewed Dec. 19, 2011

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

    vapudelko User ID: 2450292 63713
    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!"

    JessBella6 User ID: 5295511 55185
    Reviewed Jun. 28, 2011

    "A perfect easy and delicious summer picnic salad!"

    Burnham User ID: 4072730 87515
    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!! :)"

    arh82881 User ID: 4559650 87514
    Reviewed Oct. 20, 2010

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

    cinsully User ID: 81291 129820
    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!!"

    gopherpup User ID: 5117158 89009
    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."

    TJ1113 User ID: 130018 55182
    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."

    nancyben User ID: 2655342 55174
    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."

    Gemlady User ID: 988323 54985
    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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