This salad is one of my favorite summer sides. It has the flavors of a typical Italian pasta salad without the pasta. I like it because it’s lighter and lower in carbs without being short on flavor. It’s also quicker to make and eliminates the need to boil water on a hot summer day. The trick is letting the veggies marinate in the dressing for a few hours before serving. You can make this up to 36 hours before serving. It’s great for potlucks, barbecues, or ordinary weeknights.

Prep Time: 15 mins | Total Time: 3 Hours
Yield: About 2 Quarts – 8-10 Servings
TAGS: VEGETABLES | SIDES | ITALIAN | SUMMER | PALEO | WHOLE30

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 2-3 Summer Squash – For added color, use a combination of green (zucchini) and yellow summer squash.
  • 1 Medium Onion – I’ve used both yellow and red onions in the past.
  • 2 Sweet Peppers – Or about 8 mini sweet peppers.
  • 3-5 oz Pepperoni  – More or less to taste. I like Applegate Naturals Pepperoni because it has fewer preservatives and is easy to find at most grocery stores. You can also substitute salami.

For the Dressing

  • 1/3 c White Balsamic Vinegar –  Or white wine vinegar.
  • 1/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 t Garlic Powder
  • 1t Italian Herb Blend – Or mix together a few of the following: oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, or marjoram
  • 1 t Salt – Or more to taste
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the squash, peppers, and pepperoni into approximately 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. Slice the onion into thin strips.
  3. Combine vegetables and pepperoni in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Pour dressing over salad dressing and toss.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving; this allows the flavors in the dressing to permeate the veggies and the tastes to meld. The salt and vinegar in the dressing will cause the vegetables to release additional liquid. You can pour off excess liquid just before serving or serve with a slotted spoon.

Variations Galore

This recipe can be easily modified to suit your tastes. Try it with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, or black olives. Prefer a little extra kick? Mix in some hot banana peppers.

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Pasta-less Italian "Pasta" Salad

This salad is one of my favorite summer sides. It has the flavors of a typical Italian pasta salad without the pasta. I like it because it’s lighter and lower in carbs without being short on flavor. It’s also quicker to make and eliminates the need to boil water on a hot summer day. The trick is letting the veggies marinate in the dressing for a few hours before serving. You can make this up to 36 hours before serving. It’s great for potlucks, barbecues, or ordinary weeknights.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian, Paleo, Whole30
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 servings
Author kimnegaard

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 2 Summer Squash For added color, use a combination of green (zucchini) and yellow summer squash.
  • 1 Medium Onion I’ve used both yellow and red onions in the past.
  • 2 Bell Peppers Or about 8 mini sweet peppers.
  • 5 oz Pepperoni More or less to taste. I like Applegate Naturals Pepperoni because it has fewer preservatives and is easy to find at most grocery stores. You can also substitute salami.

For the Dressing

  • 1/3 c White Balsamic Vinegar Or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 t Garlic Powder
  • 1 t Italian Herb Blend Or mix together a few of the following: oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, or marjoram
  • 1 t Salt Or more to taste
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the squash, peppers, and pepperoni into approximately 1/2-inch pieces.

  2. Slice the onion into thin strips.

  3. Combine vegetables and pepperoni in a large bowl.

  4. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

  5. Pour dressing over salad dressing and toss.

  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving; this allows the flavors in the dressing to permeate the veggies and the tastes to meld. The salt and vinegar in the dressing will cause the vegetables to release additional liquid. You can pour off excess liquid just before serving or serve with a slotted spoon.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be easily modified to suit your tastes. Try it with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, or black olives. Prefer a little extra kick? Mix in some hot banana peppers.

What’s your favorite summer side dish? Leave me a comment below.