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A bowl of deli-style pasta salad.

Deli-Style Pasta Salad

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5 from 11 reviews


Inspired by the classic pasta salads found in delis the world over, this one combines a red wine vinaigrette and a mix of pantry items and fresh produce. This is a salad that lends itself well to improvisation, so use what you have on hand, and use the ingredient list as a guide. 

The dressing recipe is inspired by one I read about on Dinner A Love Story from Odette Williams’s Simple Pasta.


For the dressing: 

  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • kosher salt
  • 1 pound pasta, such as rotini or ditalini
  • 4 to 6 scallions, thinly sliced (to yield 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely diced (to yield 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives (I’ve been using kalamata)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced pepperoncini
  • 2 to 3 ounces soppressata or salami, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces cubed mozzarella or provolone
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • flaky sea salt


  1. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, place the onions, salt, vinegar and lemon juice. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. Whisk in the honey and olive oil. Taste. Adjust with more salt to taste. Add more vinegar or lemon if you like a sharper dressing.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Boil the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. 
  3. Assemble the salad: Add the pasta to the bowl with the dressing. Add the scallions, peppers, olives, pepperoncini, soppressata, mozzarella, and a few generous twists of black pepper. Toss to combine. Taste. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. For a sharper dressing, squeeze in more lemon or add a splash more vinegar. 
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American