Mom’s Favorite Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad made with Italian dressing, pepperoni, avocados and gluten-free pasta

Summer Pasta Salad

This summer pasta salad reminds me of my mom and summer and neighborhood block parties growing up.  It was her go-to signature potluck dish, which probably came off the back of a bottle of Kraft Italian salad dressing.

Regardless, it was always a hit and so simple to make.  Just cooked pasta, avocado, sliced pepperoni and classic Italian dressing!  Tossed together and chilled before serving.  That’s it!

My husband loves it.  There is just something about that combo that is really decadent and it’s kinda hard to stop eating it.

Over the years, I’ve added various ingredients like roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts, roasted red bell pepper, sweet mini peppers, banana peppers, peperoncino, or fresh herbs from the garden.  There are so many ways to add to the basic recipe.

But we’ve cleaned it up and use ingredients that don’t contain additives or preservatives.  

I’ve made Italian dressing from scratch or we use a gluten free, organic, and non-GMO store-bought brand (free of additives, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, too) if I don’t feel like prepping the dressing.

You can make a little or a lot.  This recipe is about enough for the two of us depending on how hungry we are.

Heads Up On Food Safety

Some of my favorite brands to use are:

If you are using ingredients that are preservative free foods, they will spoil much faster than foods that do contain preservatives.  Some of the ingredients I’ve suggested are preservative free.  This is going to matter if you use the uncured pepperoni, which needs to remain below 40 degrees.

And make sure the pasta has cooled before adding it in.  

So if you are planning to take this dish to a potluck I would opt for ingredients that do have preservatives.  It’s not a good idea let this “clean” version sit out for a long time at room temperature because the potential for pathogenic bacteria to grow is much higher than that for salad dressings that do contain preservatives or cured meats.


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Gluten-Free Summer Pasta Salad

A wonderful summer pasta salad made with Italian dressing, gluten-free pasta, avocado and pepperoni.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Italian pasta salad, summer pasta salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Author Deana Larkin Evans


  • 4 oz dried gluten free pasta
  • 3 oz gluten free, casein free pepperoni
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/4+ cup gluten free Italian salad dressing
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Cook the pasta according to instructions and let cool.
  2. Chop the pepperoni into strips and add to the cooled pasta.
  3. Cut the avocado flesh into cubes and add to the pasta.
  4. Add the Italian dressing and gently toss. Start with 1/4 cup and add more to your desired amount of salad dressing to pasta ratio. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving. Also, keep it chilled in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.

Deana Larkin Evans

You get one life - do your best to ENJOY IT! So hi, I'm Deana. This food blog is all about cooking wholesome real food and developing gluten-free recipes for some of our favorite comfort foods. I had to start eating gluten-free in 2010, then cut dairy and casein (except for the occasional Parmesan) in 2014. We learned A2 casein (goat, sheep and buffalo milk) is easier to digest than the predominate A1 form in cow milk. So we brought back goat milk dairy into our recipes in 2016. Thank goodness, right! So I'm kind of a science nerd, too. In the '90s, I earned an undergrad degree in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook 'em! Then followed up with a PhD in biochemistry and a law degree from the University of Houston. I recently earned a certificate in genomics/sequence analysis from Johns Hopkins University, where I also took a very cool food microbiology course. Currently, I'm learning about the microbiome and gut health. And trying to come up with healthy recipes to feed those gut bugs! #feedthegutbugs

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