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 because it was so easy to make.  And quite honestly, I think it came off the back of a bottle of Kraft Italian salad dressing.

Just cooked pasta, avocado, sliced pepperoni and classic Italian dressing.  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.  This recipe is made for two people so make more if you want to feed more.  

It also keeps really well in the fridge without the avocado.  So you can make a batch of the pasta, Italian dressing and pepperoni and store in the fridge.  Then add some fresh avocado when ready to eat.  It is a perfect way to use up the little avocados we get in our Imperfect Foods home delivery service.

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

Lots of Options

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

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.  

Here is an easy recipe for homemade Italian dressing.  I cut the recipe in half for this pasta dish.

But most importantly, we’ve cleaned this recipe for summer pasta salad up by using ingredients that don’t contain additives or preservatives as well as being gluten-free.

Some of my favorite brands to use are:

  • Bionaturae gluten free pasta (made with organic rice and lentils)
  • Ancient Harvest gluten free pasta (made with organic corn and quinoa)
  • Applegate Naturals uncured turkey pepperoni

We like the turkey pepperoni because it has less fat and calories than pork/beef pepperoni.  And we like the uncured version because it doesn’t contain nitrates and nitrites.  No antibiotics are used.  As well as being gluten and casein-free.

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

Heads Up On Food Safety

If you are using ingredients that are preservative-free foods, like the uncured pepperoni listed above, they are meant to be kept cold (below 40 degrees – fridge temperature) until eaten.   

So if you are planning to take this dish to a potluck I would opt for a pepperoni that is cured and does 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 growth is high.  And you don’t want give people at the block party food poisoning.   🙂


Want More Recipes Like Summer Pasta Salad?

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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


  • 6 oz dried gluten free pasta
  • 2 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. After draining the pasta, add to a bowl and place in the freezer. Stir a few times to get the pasta to cool down. Remove from freezer when the pasta is cold.

  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. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

NOTES: Here is an easy recipe for homemade Italian dressing.  I cut the recipe in half for this pasta dish.

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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2 Responses

  1. simon andrew says:

    I love pasta It looks so yummy I will try it at home.

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