Easy Pasta Salad features tri-color rotini studded with diced olives and pimentos in a zesty homemade Italian dressing for a versatile summer side dish!


And guess what that side dish contained? Tri-color rotini, an Italian-ish dressing, and small pieces of diced olives! The recipe I’m sharing here today is actually much more flavorful than the one from my college years, with extra olives, the addition of pimentos, and a bit of Parmesan. But it’s still simple enough to complement a wide variety of main dishes…and it’s so darn good!

Since I was going for zesty flavor in my copycat rendition, I used both stuffed green olives and black Kalamata olives. Finely dicing the olives allows them to become more evenly distributed throughout the dish. Because you don’t want olives overwhelming the other ingredients! And of course, you may always adjust the amount of olives to your liking, adding more or less to taste.


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR neutral vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar OR red wine vinegar OR a combo of the two
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, DIVIDED
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces tri-color garden rotini
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos
  • 1/3 cup finely diced green olives
  • 1/3 cup finely diced black olives


  1. Measure oil, vinegar, water, honey, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, garlic salt, parsley, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Cook pasta in well-salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pimentos, green and black diced olives, remaining Parmesan, and about 2/3 of the dressing. Gently mix all of the ingredients with a large spoon until well combined. Refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving, shake and then stir in the remainder of the dressing and garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired.