If you’re a pasta salad with meat fan, you must try this smoked Italian pasta salad. It takes everything that’s great about pasta salad and adds a wonderful smoky flavour to it. Pepperoni, salami and mozzarella cheese are included in this summer BBQ salad along with a pepperoncini dressing.
Smoking some of the ingredients on a pellet smoker or Traeger grill adds so much flavour to this smoked Italian pasta salad. Salad recipes are already popular during the spring and summer months and this one is really special.
Summer BBQ Salad Ingredients
The main ingredient in smoked Italian pasta salad is the pasta. You can have fun deciding what kind to use. I love to add plenty of colours to my pasta salad with meat dishes. Try tricolour pasta spirals like I used or what about penne or shells? Gluten-free pasta would also work. Just grab a package of your favourite and use that.
The tasty add-ins include tomatoes, peppers, basil, and onion. Grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes are best. You will also need pepperoni, salami and mozzarella cheese for this truly Italian pasta salad with meat. Shaved parmesan goes on top as a garnish. Always use freshly grated real parmesan for the best flavour!
The pepperoncini dressing includes oil, pepperoncini juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, chilli powder, and some salt and black pepper. You can omit the chilli powder if you don’t want the hit of spice or swap it for cayenne or even smoked paprika if you prefer.
Feel free to change some of the ingredients if you want. You can use any cold cuts from the deli in place of the salami and pepperoni, swap the red onion for a white one or try a different type of cheese.
How to Make Smoked Italian Pasta Salad
The first thing you need to do is preheat the pellet smoker or Traeger grill. Arrange the tomatoes, peppers and pepperoncini, mozzarella, salami, and pepperoni on a wire rack over a baking tray. Smoke them for an hour.
While these ingredients are in the smoker, you can prepare the pasta. Follow the instructions on the package and then drain and cool. Shake the pepperoncini dressing ingredients in a jar to make the vinaigrette.
Next you will take the smoked ingredients out of the pellet smoker or Traeger grill and chop them. Finally, toss everything together, add the parmesan on top and serve.
What are Pepperoncinis?
Pepperoncinis are little sweet chilli peppers. Also known as Tuscan peppers and sweet Italian peppers, they offer a unique, delicious flavour and are a greenish yellow colour. They turn red when mature.
Can’t find them? Banana peppers are similar in flavour profile and are a suitable alternative here. You can use jalapeños for this summer BBQ salad if you want more heat. But use the ones from a jar because some of the juice will go into the dressing.
If you are a pepperoncini fan, I bet you will also like this Instant Pot French bread pizza recipe.
How to Make It without a Pellet Smoker or Traeger Grill
If you don’t have a smoker you can still make this. Yes, really! Put wood chips in a high-rimmed baking dish, put a wire rack on top and light the wood. When the wood begins smoking, add the ingredients on top and cover tightly with foil on top.
This will give you a very similar result, so if you’re in an apartment and don’t have a smoker in the back yard (or on the balcony!) this is handy to know. You will still be able to get that incredible wood-fired flavour.
Smoked Italian Pasta Salad FAQs
Keep pasta salad leftovers in the refrigerator in a sealed container. This pasta salad with meat should be good for up to 4 days. Typically, oil-based pasta dishes keep for longer than mayonnaise-based ones. Also bear in mind, you shouldn’t leave pasta salad sitting out for more than a couple of hours, for safety reasons.
This salad with pepperoncini dressing is freezer-friendly. Freeze it in individual portions and thaw only what you need overnight. This smoky pepperoni, salami and mozzarella cheese should be fine in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Smoked Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoncini Dressing Recipe
Smoked Italian Pasta Salad with Pepperoncini Dressing
- 2 Cups grape tomatoes
- 9 sweet peppers
- 1 Cup pepperoncini peppers canned, whole
- 8 Ounces mozzarella pre-sliced log
- 1 Pound salami
- ½ Pound pepperoni
- ¼ Cup basil chopped
- 1 Pound pasta
- 1 red onion
- ½ Cup olive oil
- ¼ Cup pepperoncini juice from can
- ¼ Cup red wine vinegar
- ½ Tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon oregano
- 1 Teaspoon chili powder
- 1 Pinch salt
- 1 Pinch pepper
- ¼ Cup parmesan shaved
- Preheat the smoker lid closed for 15 minutes at 180 degrees F.
- Add tomatoes, sweet peppers, pepperoncinis, mozzarella, salami, and pepperoni to a wire rack lined baking tray.
- Place onto the smoker and smoke for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook per box instructions. Drain then rinse with cold water. Place into the fridge to cool.
- Prepare vinaigrette. Combine Olive oil, juice from canned pepperoncinis, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, oregano, chili powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a mason jar and shake well.
- Remove the baking tray from the smoker. Slice the peppers and pepperoncinis. Cut the mozzarella into 4ths.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Top with shaved parmesan.
- Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Offering elegance as well as truly delicious flavours, this smoked Italian pasta salad is well worth making. The pepperoncini dressing and tasty smoked pepperoni, salami and mozzarella cheese are harmonious and the smoky flavour is so delicious.
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
I love my new smoker. Trying this one!