A large bowl of muffuletta pasta salad.

Muffuletta Pasta Salad

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Like the famous New Orleans muffuletta sandwich, this Muffuletta Pasta Salad packs a punch of flavor. It has the same combination of spicy cold cuts, Italian cheeses, and salty olives found in that classic sandwich. The salad is perfect for a light lunch, appetizer, or side dish for any meal.

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What’s A Muffuletta Sandwich?

This classic sandwich was the invention of Italian immigrants who lived in New Orleans. They introduced the round muffuletta bread loaf of their homeland and stuffed it with Italian cold cuts, cheese, and olive salad. That’s the beauty of New Orleans, the city of many rich cultures and their foods.

I had my first as a teenager at Central Grocery & Deli – Home of the Original Muffuletta Sandwich. I was visiting the French Quarter with my cousin, Anne. She and her husband were living in New Orleans while he attended medical school, and I was invited for a fun weekend.

The walk through the French quarter to Central Grocery made a permanent mark in my memory. I can still sense the sights, sounds, and smells of the city we experienced that day.

New Orleans is such a special treat, I recommend you visit whenever you have the chance.

What Is The Best Way To Make A Pasta Salad?

It’s simple. There are four or five main ingredients. Start first with pasta, of course! Your favorite one will do.

Boil the pasta and select some veggies, meats (if you want), and cheeses. The combinations are endless! And after you combine them, toss with a vinaigrette dressing. Then chill in the refrigerator, and there you have a tasty pasta salad.

Now For Our Muffuletta Pasta Salad

The Dressing

Although this recipe has a lot of ingredients, 21 to be exact, it’s still as simple and easy as any pasta salad can be. Making the homemade dressing is what brings the ingredient count up. But it’s well worth every tasty ingredient!

All you do is combine the vinegar, oil, water, mayonnaise, and seasoning in a jar, close the lid and shake to mix well. Adding a little mayonnaise makes the dressing creamier, but you can omit it if you prefer a light vinaigrette dressing in your pasta salad.


My pasta of choice is the small bow tie or farfalle (pronounced far-FAll-lay), which is the Italian word for butterflies. It’s so clever and cute! I find the smaller size doesn’t overtake the salad with too much pasta bite. This gives everyone on my plate a chance to shine!

Meat, Cheese, and Vegetables

There are many combinations of meats, cheeses, and veggies when making a muffuletta sandwich. Everyone has their favorite flavor combinations. Feel free to add or take away to suit yours in this Muffuletta Pasta Salad.

As I mentioned before, salad olives are a basic ingredient, but I added sliced black and green olives because of my own taste preference. The colors are attractive also, but salad olives will do. And they’re already sliced to save you an extra prep step.

Ingredients of Pasta, meats, cheeses, peppers, olives, and celery.

Note To keep pasta salads from drying out, toss them with half of the dressing before marinating in the refrigerator, then add the other half later to flavor and moisten the salad when it’s time to serve.

So there you have it! A pasta salad with all the taste of a classic muffuletta sandwich. Enjoy!

A large bowl and a small bowl of muffuletta pasta salad.

More New Orleans-inspired Recipes You Might Like:

  • Barbecue Shrimp Bowl – If you’re a barbecue shrimp fan, tune in to this Barbecue Shrimp Bowl recipe. It has all the flavor of the spicy, saucy New Orleans classic with a little lagniappe.
  • Va Vite Red Beans and Rice – A quick, delicious, and easy recipe of Red Beans and Rice for the Instant Pot or stove-top that is sure to satisfy any hungry appetite.
  • Jazzed-Up Grillades – Surprisingly, this Cajun stewed meat dish gets its jazz from a mustard marinade of spices, onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
  • Shrimp Creole – Shrimp Creole is a spicy-delicious thick stew made from a slow-cooked tomatoey sauce flavored with seasonings, fresh herbs, and the Cajun trinity.
  • Muffuletta Cheese Ball – The flavors of salty salad olives, provolone cheese, and salami that meld together with cream cheese and Italian seasonings make for an appetizing appetizer.
  • The Beauty of a Jambalaya – Jambalaya made its way to New Orleans before the Cajuns embraced it as one of their beloved rice dishes.
  • 24 Mardi Gras Food Recipes – A collection of dishes fit for Mardi Gras season celebrating.
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A large bowl of muffuletta pasta salad.

Muffuletta Pasta Salad

A delicious pasta salad with all the fresh flavors of a classic muffuletta sandwich.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x




  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules or garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise


  • 8 ounces dried small bow tie pasta (prepared according to package directions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives stuffed with pimentoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 ounces salami, diced
  • 3 ounces pastrami, diced
  • 4 ounces provolone cheese, diced
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese


Before making the dressing, fill a large pot with water according to the package directions to cook the pasta, turn the heat on, and bring it to a boil.


  1. Add all the dressing ingredients into a pint jar and cover tightly with a screw-on lid.
  2. Shake the jar vigorously until ingredients are mixed together; set aside.


  1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions, then drain the cooked pasta in a strainer giving it a light rinse with tap water; see notes.
  2.  Add the salad ingredients into a large bowl, and mix them together.
  3. Pour half of the salad dressing over the salad and toss until all ingredients are covered with the sauce.
  4. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. Before serving, Pour the other half of the dressing over the rest of the salad and toss.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  • A light rinse with tap water helps keep more of the pasta’s flavor.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours for better flavorful results.
  • To keep the salad from drying out, toss it with half of the dressing before marinating it in the refrigerator, then add the other half later to flavor and moisten the salad when it’s time to serve.
  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: salads
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: muffuletta pasta salad, pasta salad, salad

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“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

Booker T. Washington

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