Classic Muffuletta Pasta Salad

Our Muffuletta Pasta Salad recipe is a tangy and refreshing pasta salad with a Mediterranean spin.  Also known as Mardi Gras Pasta Salad this colorful salad recipe is festive and flavorful! 

Colorful olives, salami and other veggies mixed with mardi gras muffuletta pasta salad

If you like this recipe you may also enjoy our Dried Beef Cheese Ball.

Muffuletta Pasta Salad Recipe

When you take a bite of Muffuletta Pasta Salad you know what you’re getting. It’s like a muffuletta sandwich without the bread in salad form. This recipe makes a great light lunch or side dish.

The olives, artichoke hearts, salami, pasta, red wine vinegar, feta cheese and other ingredients pack more flavor in than you can see! Even if you’re not an olive fan you can still enjoy this salad because of the unique mixture.

Orzo pasta gives a unique appearance that you think is rice, but the taste buds enjoy a classic picnic pasta salad.

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Onions and olives give a nice crunch, vinegar gives a zesty, tanginess and your choice of salami or prosciutto and feta makes it savory.

Mediterranean flavors stirred into a Muffuletta pasta salad

We enjoy a variety of pasta salads, especially in the summer like our Linguine Salad and Rotini Pasta Salad with Lettuce.

New Orleans Muffuletta Pasta Salad

This pasta salad originated in New Orleans and is fun because it’s like being at a picnic with a light meal that fills you up! Just like our Angel Hair Pasta Salad and Brown Rice Salad with Spinach and Tomatoes people go back for seconds. 

My family says Muffaletta Pasta Salad reminds you of a pepperoni pasta, with a pleasing hint of saltiness from the red wine vinegar and olives. There’s a similarity to an Italian dressing flavored salad.

Over head view of flavor pack muffaletta pasta salad on blue napkin

Ingredients Needed:

  • Orzo pasta
  • Hard salami
  • Red onion
  • Olive salad
  • Roasted red bell pepper
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Koshor salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Shrimp, optional

I’ve made multiple variations of this recipe. Picture are the first set of ingredients that I used, but I updated the recipe card below to feature our very favorite version!

Orzo, olive salad, red onion, shrimp, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper and feta cheese for muffuletta pasta salad


Olive salad is sold in jars at your grocers. Sliced olives are typically accented with pimentos and other pickled vegetables and may be called Muffuletta Olive Salad.

There are a variety of types and qualities of olive salad. If a jar is not available create your own by visiting the grocer’s olive salad bar and chop finely. Olive salad can have green olives or black olives depending on the varieties. 

Olive salad options on white counter top


  • Salami can be substituted for another protein source like prosciutto, ham or other salted deli meat
  • If using prosciutto make sure all pieces are chopped and separated when stirring into the pasta
  • Further dice olive salad to keep mild flavors blended together
  • Shrimp is optional, but should be seasoned with cajun seasoning or similar flavors before adding
  • Feta can be substituted for small cubes of mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • Red pepper flakes are optional and can add a little or a lot of heat to the salad
  • Orzo pasta is shaped like rice, but tastes like pasta an can be substituted for ditalini or other very small pieces of pasta
  • Red wine vinegar can be substituted for balsamic vinegar or olive oil 
  • When we have extra shrimp we like to use it in our Shrimp Jambalaya
Slices of Olives laying on artichoke pieces, peppers, onions and other pickled things in pasta salad with feta

Step By Step Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water immediately to stop cooking and help rinse extra starch off the pasta. This will help prevent the pieces of Orzo from sticking together.

Cooked orzo pasta in large white mixing bowl

Measure out red wine vinegar and stir kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes if using to make a vinaigrette. 

Red onion, roasted red bell pepper, olive salad, salami, drained artichoke hearts and feta cheese in piles in mixing bowl on orzo pasta

Pour cooled pasta into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss together.

Garnish with fresh parsley and pepperoncini if desired.

Stirring muffuletta pasta salad recipe together in large bowl with brown wooden spoon

Chill before serving to allow all of the flavors to meld together. Store in the refrigerator.

More Easy & Delicious Cold Salad Recipes:

Almond Chicken Salad is a creamy and tangy chicken salad with fruit and slices of almonds to make a delicious Chicken Salad with Green Grapes and Almonds.

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad has sweet dried cranberries, crunchy carrots, and tart apples mix perfectly with a light dressing.

Sauerkraut Salad is surprisingly sweet and goes perfectly at your picnic or cookout.

Apple Salad with Marshmallows borders between a side dish and dessert but is named as a salad.

Broccoli Salad with Cranberries & Bacon makes a festive and delectable salad all year around.

Close up bowl of easy muffuletta pasta salad in white bowl on blue and white napkin

Classic Muffuletta Pasta Salad

Servings 12 servings
Author: Jennifer
Our Muffuletta Pasta Salad recipe is a tangy and refreshing pasta salad with a Mediterranean spin.  Also known as Mardi Gras Pasta Salad this colorful salad recipe is festive and flavorful! 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes


  • 1 3/4 cup Orzo pasta uncooked
  • 4 ounces Salami chopped
  • 14 ounce can Artichoke hearts drained
  • 1/2 cup Roasted red pepper chopped
  • 3/4 cup Olive salad mix
  • 3/4 cup Red onion chopped
  • 1/3 cup Feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Koshor salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crushed red pepper optional


  • Cook pasta according to the directions on the package; drain and rinse immediately with cold water
  • Add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to red wine vinegar and stir.
  • In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and serve cold.



Calories: 157kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 6gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 791mgPotassium: 118mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 94IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent and refreshing for a hot summer day. Love that it tastes like the sandwich without the bread.

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