This delicious Creamy Pasta Salad is packed with vegetables, sausage, and an easy three-ingredient creamy dressing! A cold pasta salad, it’s the perfect side dish for summer gatherings.

All home cooks need a go-to easy pasta salad recipe because it’s such a great way to use up the vegetables that are left in your refrigerator! For this classic pasta salad recipe, feel free to add swap out vegetables. Use what you have!

a photo of a creamy italian pasta salad made with rotini

The only thing that I would recommend you don’t swap out is the cheddar cheese cubes. Medium to sharp cheddar is the PERFECT counterpart to the summer sausage in this recipe.

a photo of creamy pasta salad in a bowl

The creamy pasta salad dressing for this recipe doesn’t get easier. I use a combination of mayonnaise and oil-based Italian dressing! If you want to skip the mayonnaise, just dress the pasta salad in your favorite Italian dressing, and call it good.

a photo of a spoonful of creamy pasta salad

Or, I have a few more substitution suggestions below. There’s no need to make the dressing from scratch. I always keep a bottle of Olive Garden’s light dressing on hand, because it’s perfect for this creamy Italian pasta salad! 

“Made this last night and it got the family’s seal of approval! So good!”

an overhead photo of a bowl of pasta salad

I added summer sausage to this macaroni pasta salad recipe for a fun twist! But, if you don’t like summer sausage, I have plenty of substitutions suggested below. 

Recipe Substitutions

This is a versatile recipe. Here are a few suggestions for substitutions so you can use what you have on hand:

  • Instead of rotini pasta, use elbow macaroni or bow ties
  • Instead of summer sausage, try smoked sausage, diced salami or crispy bacon
  • Instead of mayo, use light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt 
  • Instead of the cubed cheddar, consider feta cheese
  • Substitute the veggies at well! Use your favorite veggies 

Recipe Additions

  • Add diced red bell pepper or green bell pepper for extra crunch
  • Top with diced green onions
  • Add fresh herbs, like fresh dill, fresh basil or fresh parsley
a photo of creamy italian pasta salad on a plate

Serving Suggestions

This creamy pasta salad recipe is a wonderful side dish for summer cookouts! Bring a big bowl to your next BBQ, and watch it disappear. I love to serve it with grilled chicken, grilled steak, steak kabobs or grilled pork chops.

I also use this delicious recipe for make-ahead meals!

It’s a hearty, easy lunch that keeps in the fridge all week.

Need another easy side dish recipe for your BBQ? I recommend: Cauliflower Broccoli Salad | Grilled Corn On the Cob in Foil | Cream Cheese Corn Casserole with Green Chiles | Sweet Freezer Corn | Healthier Greek Pasta Salad (21 Day Fix Friendly) | Hawaiian Easy Macaroni Salad  | The Best Broccoli Salad | Smoked Mac and Cheese | Easy Creamy Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Dressing

Storing Leftovers:

Store leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

a photo of creamy pasta salad in a bowl

The Best Creamy Pasta Salad (with Summer Sausage)

Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This delicious Creamy Pasta Salad is packed with vegetables, sausage, and an easy three-ingredient creamy dressing! A cold pasta salad, it's the perfect side dish for summer gatherings!


  • 1 16-ounce package rotini pasta, or pasta of choice
  • 8 ounces summer sausage, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can sliced olives, drained
  • 1 cup cubed cheddar cheese


  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Italian dressing
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (more or less, to taste) 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare pasta in boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. While the pasta cooks, prep the rest of the ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, mix together sausage, broccoli, red onion, tomatoes, olives and cheese. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, Italian dressing, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Allow the cooked pasta to cool for 5 minutes, then add it to the sausage mixture. 
  5. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture, stir well to combine.
  6. Cover, and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. 


If you don't like summer sausage, sub out smoked sausage, crispy bacon or salami!

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 311Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 30mgSodium 417mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 10g

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