Italian Pasta Salad with Lemon Lager Dressing

4 of 5 (1 Review)
Pair With
Light lager_icon
Light lager
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Red (Vienna) lager_icon
Red (Vienna) lager
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  • Difficulty 2
  • Prep Time 40 mins
  • Cook Time 10 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Difficulty 2
  • Prep Time 40 mins
  • Cook Time 10 mins
  • Serves 4
Bright, tangy and lemony, this pasta salad is your backyard barbecue hero. Studded with diced salami, bocconcini cheese, peppers, tomatoes and olives, it’s hearty enough for a meal but makes a flavourful side for your favourite grilled meat, poultry, fish or tofu. The dressing is really tasty on greens, too, so any leftovers won’t go amiss. We’ve included tips for making gluten-free and vegetarian versions of the salad, so you have options.

Ingredients for the Lemon Lager Dressing

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) lager
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper

Ingredients for the Italian Pasta Salad

  • 1 454 g package short ridged or curly pasta, such as fusilli, rotini, radiatore or gemelli
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced salami (150 g), see tips
  • 1 200 g tub mini bocconcini cheese (about 1-1/4 cups/310 mL), drained and halved
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped black olives (preferably sun-dried)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) torn or chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely diced red onion
  • 1 red, yellow or orange pepper, finely diced

Directions for the Lemon Lager Dressing

  1. 1. In a mason jar, combine lager, oil, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Seal with lid and shake until well combined. (Or whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined.) Set aside.

Directions for the Italian Pasta Salad

  1. 1. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. 2. Add salami, bocconcini, tomatoes, olives, basil, onion and red pepper. Drizzle reserved dressing overtop (you may not need it all, depending on the type of pasta you use; save any remainder for other salads). Stir until ingredients are well combined and coated with dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold. To make ahead, refrigerate dressed salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days, adding basil just before serving.


  • Any pasta you prefer works in this salad, from white to multigrain to whole grain.
  • For a vegetarian version, use vegetarian salami in place of the meat, or swap in drained canned chickpeas or cannellini (white kidney) beans.
  • To make a gluten-free version, use gluten-free pasta and check all ingredient labels — even the salami — to make sure they don’t contain gluten, either.

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  1. Daniel Pathy says:

    I used the Vienna Larger, because it has a caramelized toasted maltish taste. I increased the lemon juice and the basil by a pinch and dry roasted the pepper…. It tasted wow!!!!! Loved the tangy citrus ( I added a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice)!
    It was really good😋… paired with a delightful lunch companion (my wife of 32 years) It was light and not too heavy. We enjoyed it in our patio… beautiful! Oh btw the pasta was rigatoni. And to sop up the dressing… my wife’s home made sourdough bread😋😋😋😋😋