So the new semester is in full swing, and life is suddenly full of to-do lists and deadlines. Between internships and study sessions, it can be tough to find the time to eat a solid meal, especially when you don't want to spend a ton of money without resorting to crappy fast food. Obviously the best option is to bring food from home, but that's not always the most practical option. What if it needs to be refrigerated? How will you find time to prepare it?

That's where this pasta salad comes in. It's the quick and easy, no-frills option that will definitely hold you over until well after that 5:30pm class. I'm often on campus for eight or nine hours a day, and there's no way I could afford to eat a delicious and healthy lunch from one of the spots on campus everyday on my Starbucks salary, so this recipe is my go-to. Bonus: I've eaten it at least twice a week for the past month, and I'm still not sick of it. That's impressive. 

  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:25 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Easy


  • 1 box uncooked pasta
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 medium-sized tomato
  • 1-2.25 oz can black olives crushed or sliced
  • 1-6 oz package pepperoni
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 tiny dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
Morgan Nielsen
  • Step 1

    Cook the pasta according to directions on box. Drain and rinse with cold water until it is room temperature. Put in a large bowl and set aside.

    Morgan Nielsen
  • Step 2

    In a smaller bowl, combine the spices and parmesan cheese. Mix well.

    Morgan Nielsen
  • Step 3

    Slice the cucumber and tomato into small cubes.

    Morgan Nielsen
  • Step 4

    Add the sliced tomato, cucumber, pepperoni, and olives (drained) to the pasta and mix together.

    Morgan Nielsen
  • Step 5

    Add in the spices and mix well to evenly coat the salad with the spice mixture.

    Morgan Nielsen
  • Step 6

    When ready to serve, top with a generous amount of Italian salad dressing and mix well to combine. Serve chilled.