What Makes This Cold Pasta Salad So Delicious
This classic pasta salad has a creamy dressing that is made from mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Its thick and smooth and full of flavor. Mixed with cooked elbow macaroni, its also combined with diced red onion, celery, and red bell pepper. These crispy elements are such a delicious contrast to the creamy pasta dressing.
The Best Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe
There are some recipes that have been in our family for years. They show up to family parties and BBQs. This Creamy Pasta Salad is one of those recipes.
Its the perfect salad when you are asked to bring a side dish to a party. Its a great way to sneak in veggies with the pasta.
We love the sweet and tangy dressing. Its so easy to make. We know youll really enjoy this salad. And its the perfect salad to add your own spin to it.
Related recipe: Spaghetti Salad
Garden Veggie Pasta Salad This Classic Macaroni Salad With A Mayonnaise And Vinegar Based Dressing Is Loaded With Fresh Vegetables And Herbs Perfect For Summer Potlucks And Barbecues
Everyone needs a classic pasta salad recipe in their repertoire, and this Garden Veggie Pasta Salad is my absolute favorite macaroni salad of all time!
It has the classic mayonnaise based dressing, but all of the diced fresh vegetables and herbs give it a unique and delicious flavor thats a step up from the usual pasta salad.
My husband, who is something of a pasta salad connoisseur, agrees that this garden veggie version is one of the best. Plus, its a great way to use up odds and ends of veggies, or a surplus from your garden.
Which makes it the perfect pasta salad to bring along to any neighborhood barbecue or summer time celebration. Just be prepared to get lots of request for the recipe.
The great thing about this salad is that you can totally change up the veggies to use what you have on hand. Any color of bell pepper will work, or you could try a poblano in place of the jalapeno .
I definitely recommend using some crunchy veggies, like carrots, celery and peppers, but things like cucumber are also a great addition. And feel free to mix up the herbs to suit your tastes as well. Although I really am partial to including at least some fresh dill.
This salad tastes better if you can mix it up the day before, or at least several hours ahead of time. Just make sure you re-season and add some extra mayo before serving. The pasta really soaks everything up, and it can lose some of its flavor and moisture as it sits.
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What To Serve With Creamy Pasta Salad
- These Spicy Mexican Burgers are packed with flavor and the perfect main dish to serve alongside our fav pasta salad.
- Our favorite Blackened Chicken Sandwiches with Gouda are another great sandwich to add to your BBQ repertoire this summer.
- One of my favorite recipes on the planet are these Chopped Cheeseburger Sliders. So cheesy, so messy, so delicious.
How To Make Chicken Pasta Salad
Place cooked rotini pasta into a large bowl.
Chop up the chicken, celery, onions, parsley, eggs, and then add to the pasta.
Make the mayo dressing, combine the mayo, milk, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing mix over the pasta.
Toss to combine and adjust salt and pepper to taste if needed. Store this chicken pasta salad in the fridge until ready to serve, always keep pasta salads with mayo cold.
If you love this salad, youll love this program!
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The Best Creamy Pasta Salad
Today is an exciting day, because I happen to be sharing the best creamy pasta salad on the planet. No really, it is. Trust me, Im not proclaiming this lightly, as I fancy myself a sort of aficionado when it comes to pasta salad. And while I love them all , when it comes to straight-forward, old-fashioned backyard BBQ creamy pasta salads, this is the one I reach to time and time again.
I wish I could take credit for this pasta flawlessness, but I cant. The base recipe is adapted from the Junior League of Kansas City cookbook, Beyond Parsley. A tried-and-true cookbook serving up simple, elevated recipes that have become contents in my cooking repertoire.
I first tried, no wait, inhaled this very pasta salad many years ago at a bridal shower some of my Moms friends graciously hosted for me, and havent been able to stop making it since. My first bite was one of those rare moments where I had absolutely no clue what flavors were making me weak in the knees and wanting more. I mean, Ive had pasta salads before, hundreds of them actually, but this? This was different.
You know what the secret is?
Yup, the concentrated beef flavor from a jar that livens up soups, stews and casseroles. Not being able to detect it makes sense now, it adds an element of savoriness, an unami essence if you will, thats near impossible to decipher.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad From Zestful Kitchen
This Mediterranean number is packed with flavor thanks to olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil. Its also endless versatile. Skip the goat cheese and make it vegan make it a meal by adding chicken or go gluten-free by using bean or lentil pasta. Whatever you choose, its guaranteed to be delicious.
Recommended Reading: How To Cook Chicken Salad
Spicy Peanut Pasta Salad
Just because the pasta is cold doesnt mean that it cant set your mouth on fire.
If you enjoy meals that are full of heat, youll love this vegan-friendly spicy peanut pasta salad.
Its both slightly sweet, thanks to the peanut butter, brown sugar, and peanuts, and super spicy. Its also totally authentic.
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What Goes Into A Creamy Pasta Salad
What you add to your macaroni salad is up to you, but think about checking these boxes:
- When choosing the pasta shape, choose something that will hold onto the dressing. Shapes that have nooks and crannies like elbow macaroni, small shells or even spiral shapes work nicely.
- Add some color and texture with a variety of vegetables. We always end up adding onion and prefer red onion for the pop of color. In addition to the onion, we love celery, bell pepper, and radish. For more veggie suggestions, check below where we share possible variations to the salad.
- For a little extra brininess, we love adding chopped dill pickle. You could leave this out or swap with a sweeter option like bread and butter pickles or for something different, go for spicy!
Classic Creamy Pasta Salad
From backyard barbecues to summer dinners, pasta salad is a staple. Theres just something about the taste of creamy, flavorful pasta mixed with finely diced veggies. The textures and flavors of this Classic Creamy Pasta Salad are simple, but really delicious. Its also an easy to make side dish that you can put together fast and serve, or store it overnight as meal prep. If you love cold salads, youll love our pesto pasta salad and Italian pasta salad . You can take it along to potlucks and parties, too. However you serve your creamy pasta salad, its sure to be a favorite.
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Ingredient Substitutions And Additions
MEAT: Canned Albacore Tuna is called for in this recipe. However, not everyone likes tuna. You could easily swap out the tuna for rotisserie chicken that is chopped up or shredded.
MAYONNAISE: If you dont like mayonnaise, or want to cut down on calories and fat opt for plain greek yogurt instead. Its easily interchangeable with mayonnaise. You might want to do a taste test first before serving and adjust the salt and pepper if using plain greek yogurt.
ONIONS: As long as you add onions to this recipe it wont matter what kind they are. My go to favorites are yellow sweet onions and green onions. However, if you prefer a less noticeable onion taste in this cold tuna pasta salad, you can easily use a red onion instead.
Lets Make Creamy Pasta Salad
Cook the pasta. Arguably the most important part of making a great creamy pasta salad is cooking the pasta correctly. It should be perfectly aldente, and not mushy at all.
Start by bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with salt. Add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is aldente. It should have a slight bite to it. Drain and immediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and to wash away any excess moisture.
Make the dressing. If youre using bouillon paste, you can simply add the mayo to a large bowl as well as the bouillon and whisk until smooth. Add the sour cream, buttermilk, white wine vinegar, and salt together. Whisk until smooth.
Toss everything. Add the pasta to the bowl with the dressing. Toss until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, add a little bit of buttermilk to thin the dressing out to reach your desired consistency.
Add in the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and any other veggies or meats youre using. Toss to combine. Again, season with salt and pepper.
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The Best Easy Italian Pasta Salad From Pinch Of Yum
I bet you cant just have one serving of this ridiculously tasty pasta salad! Made with a homemade Italian dressing, summer sausage, pepperoncini, mozz balls, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes, every bite has something interesting. You can make this for a summer potluck, but its also equally as exciting for an easy weeknight dinner.
Additional Pasta Salad Flair
Herbs: Both dry and fresh herbs are welcome in pasta salad. Dry herbs do best in the vinaigrette and hold up well in advance. Fresh herbs should be added just before serving to avoid turning brown.
Soft cheese: Notice I didnt say any cheese here. Please skip the grated cheddar, the mozzarella pearls, or cubes of Swiss cheese. Instead, use a soft spreadable cheese, such as goat cheese or herbed Boursin, and work it into the salad. The rich creaminess will add more fat and more flavor in the absence of mayo.
Toasted nuts: Add nuts with caution, as they too can cause textural confusion. Something small or finely chopped works well. Im particularly fond of toasted pine nuts and pepitas.
Pro tip: Be sure to taste and season the salad at different temperatures. Youll probably need more salt than you think if serving the salad cold.
Read Also: Chicken Salad Chick Nutrition Chart
How To Make Creamy Pasta Salad
In a large pot, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, adding a generous tablespoon or so of kosher salt to the water as it cooks.
Just before the noodles are done cooking, add the broccoli to the pot. Let the broccoli boil for about 30 seconds and then drain everything into a large strainer. Rinse well with cold water.
Stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the bowl and stir well to coat.
Add the cucumber, pepper, olives, and onions and stir again.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir again just before serving.
If you forget to toss the broccoli in the boiling water at the end of the pastas cooking time, you can also steam it in the microwave. Place the broccoli in a glass bowl along with a tablespoon of water. Microwave for 60-90 seconds, until the broccoli is bright green and barely softened.
How To Make The Best Macaroni Salad
There are lots of options when it comes to making pasta salad. Weve already shared a few with you including our Quick and Easy Pasta Salad, this Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumbers, and for a gluten-free salad, this Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles Salad.
When it comes to making a cold, creamy pasta salad, keep these tips in mind:
- Dont overcook the pasta. Use the package directions of the pasta you choose as a guide, but a minute or two before it should be done, test it. If done, drain the pasta and move onto our next tip.
- Rinse the cooked pasta under cold water before tossing with the salad dressing. If youve ever made pasta salad that turned sticky, not rinsing the pasta before tossing with the dressing could be the reason. The cooked pasta is coated in starches. By removing the starches, the salad wont turn sticky or clump as much.
- Choose lots of colorful veggies and textures to add to the salad. Its just better this way.
- Use a bright and flavorful salad dressing. Since the base of our dressing is creamy, we love brightening it up with some acid from vinegar and mustard. If you love sweeter salads, you can add a bit of honey, as well.
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Mayo Free Pasta Salads
Im a gigantic fan of pasta salad made without mayonnaise. These mayo-free salads keep nicely at room temperature for hours, making them super convenient and tasty for summer parties and other outdoor activities in the heat.
While I love a Creamy Pasta Salad, I also like a pasta salad I can serve year-round with no worries. I typically take these salads to potlucks in big disposable pans or plastic containers. This way, I can set it on the table and then forget about it. I never have to worry about a mayo free pasta salad spoiling quickly in the sun.
In the summertime, I often make a double or triple batch of pasta salads like this one. Leftovers are great to keep in the fridge and dish out for a quick lunch.
This Spinach Pasta Salad and this Summer Israeli Couscous Salad are two more excellent salads that are perfect for summer. And this Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad is a must any time you have fresh strawberries around!
If youre looking for a warm pasta dish that the entire family is certain to love, this Easy Baked Ziti is guaranteed to thrill them. One Pot Lazy Lasagna is another easy delicious dinner that comes together.
Check out all my Pasta Salad Recipes for more ideas!
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad From Salt & Lavender
You can have your first course and your main course all at once thanks to this smart pasta salad recipe. The recipe includes two kinds of protein , pasta, romaine lettuce, Parmesan, and a Caesar dressing that binds everything together. Theres also croutons, which for some reason just really make me happy.
Also Check: Hawaiian Bbq Macaroni Salad Recipe
Creamy Pasta Salad With Mayo
This creamy pasta salad with mayo is quick, easy to prepare and so delicious! With al dente macaroni and crunchy vegetables dressed in a tangy homemade mayo/sour cream dressing, it’s perfect for summer BBQs, picnics or as a simple side dish that everyone will love.
Everyone needs a classic pasta salad recipe in their collection. With a light, creamy homemade salad dressing and packed with crunchy veggies, you will absolutely love the fresh flavours and textures in this one. Whether you pair it as a simple side for a family dinneror take it to share at a BBQ or Christmas celebration, this pasta salad with mayo is ALWAYS a winner!
Why I Use My Instant Pot
Of course you can cook Pasta on the Stove. It works and its easy. I choose to use my Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker because I can set it and forget it.
Do you know how many chores I can accomplish in a short time that Im not watching the stove? A LOT!
The Instant Pot allows me to set the pasta and walk away. I get perfectly cooked pasta every time without thinking about it.
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What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Cold Tuna Pasta Salad
With easy ingredients youll be amazed to see just how basic and easy this vintage recipe is. It uses a small secret ingredient to make it completely crave worthy.
No matter where you serve this recipe I guarantee it will be a huge hit!
Heres what youll need to get started:
- large elbow macaroni, cooked per package directions
- canned peas, drained
- ground black pepper
What To Serve With Cold Pasta Salad Recipe
This pasta goes with everything! Sandwiches, burgers, grilled chicken, steaks anything! This is a great side dish for parties, cookouts, and potlucks. You can easily divide the recipe in half if you dont need to feed a crowd. Whip up a big batch ASAP! You wont be disappointed!
Here are a few of our favorite recipes from the blog that go great with this easy side dish:
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