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8 Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes!

By: Beth Gillem
| June 8, 2021 |

Last week I wanted to throw together a quick pasta salad for my family with ingredients I had on hand. I did a quick google search for ideas and had no idea there were so many delicious pasta salad recipes available! I saved a few favorites from Pinterest then asked my Facebook friends for their favorites also and compiled this list to share today! 

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad (My Favorite!)

If you are a fan of dill pickles then this one is for you! I made this for a Memorial Day meal with Boston Butt and it was a big hit! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups dry shell pasta *I just used the whole box and upped the amounts of the rest of the ingredients. You could use any pasta of course but I think the “wider” style pasta would be best because they soak up the pickle juice! 
  • ¾ cup dill pickles *I used baby dills and just cut them up quickly by hand into bite-size pieces. You can do more than this…I am sure I did! 
  • ⅔ cup cheddar cheese (diced up into little pieces) You could use shredded cheese if you are in a pinch.
  • 3 tablespoons white onion finely diced (not a yellow onion-they are too strong!)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh dill (I used dried!)
  • ½ cup pickle juice (set aside for later when you are dicing the pickles and if you can grab the little seasoning bits that always settle at the bottom of the jar add those too!)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook your pasta. When it is done (al dente) then run under cold water to cool it off. Then place it in a bowl with the pickle juice and let it absorb that juice for about 5 minutes. Then drain the juice.
  2. Combine your dressing ingredients (I think I did this while the pasta was cooking)
  3. Add your diced pickles, cheese, onion, and fresh (or dried dill) to your pasta. Combine. Then mix your dressing into the pasta. 
  4. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour but it is even better if you make it the day before! 

Source and nutritional information here: Dill Pickle Pasta Salad 

Simple Boxed Pasta Salad with Additions!

If you prefer a simpler approach to your pasta salad dish, you can always jazz up a boxed version. Grab a boxed classic pasta salad from the grocery store. Then add fresh ingredients to your heart’s content. Some favorites to include are diced fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, diced red or yellow bell peppers. I love diced black olives in my pasta salad personally! 

BLT Macaroni Pasta Salad

The idea of bacon in anything makes it appealing to the masses. I can’t wait to try this recipe that was recommended by a Facebook friend. 

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 pieces of bacon crumbled (of course cooking your own bacon is ideal but I bet if you are in a pinch that real bacon bits would do!)
  • 1 cup seeded and diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup roughly chopped baby spinach

Instructions:

Cook the pasta according to instructions. Mix all the ingredients together. Cover and let marinate in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Here is the original source for BLT Pasta Salad and some beautiful pics too!

Momma Mia’s Macaroni Salad 

This recipe comes from a barbecue restaurant in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The Shed Barbecue and Blue’s Joint serves this up with all its glorious barbecue so you know it has to be good! This recipe was also recommended to me by a friend. 

“Mac Juice” Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

The owner recommends mixing the “Mac juice” first so it can marry well while you cook the pasta. 

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 large purple onions diced
  • 2 large green bell peppers diced (remove the seeds)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 5 cups large pasta shell noodles

Salt the water before boiling the noodles and add a tablespoon of oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together. After you cook the pasta, combine all the ingredients. Save a bit of the juice to refresh the salad the next day. For other tips directly from the chef, check out their write up in this Al.com article. 

Enjoy! 

Bruner’s Pasta Salad

My dear friend recommended this recipe and everything that comes from her kitchen has always been delicious. She raises chickens at her home so it is fitting that this recipe calls for hard-boiled eggs. 

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz box of elbow macaroni, cooked and cooled
  • 1 ½ cups of mayonnaise
  • 3 hardboiled eggs (cut into smaller pieces)
  • 1 medium-sized tomato diced
  • 2 ribs of celery chopped
  • ⅓ cup of sliced green olives (add more if you like)
  • 2 tablespoons of dill week (can add more if you like)
  • ¾ cup of diced cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: diced cucumbers

Combine all and let marry. Even better the next day!

My Mother-In-Law’s Macaroni Salad

My husband and mother-in-law hail from the Midwest (specifically Omaha, Nebraska) and whenever she comes to visit she spends time cooking and chopping in my kitchen to make this pasta salad because it is my husband’s favorite! It is one of her love languages to him. (I guess I should make it more often for him too!) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of the small elbow macaroni
  • 1 green bell pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 3 celery ribs (diced into small pieces)
  • 6 spring onions diced (also known as scallions)
  • 2 blocks of sharp cheddar cheese diced into small pieces
  • Miracle Whip and Yellow Mustard

No one in the family can give me good measurements of the amount of Miracle Whip (they prefer Miracle Whip over Mayo) and mustard but when you mix it together, it is definitely much more yellow than white. Keep that in mind and just make sure the pasta and everything else has a good coating!

Mexican Pasta Salad

A Mexican twist on traditional pasta salad that is delicious! This would be lovely alongside good guacamole and chips. Be sure to check out our favorite guacamole recipes post!

Dry Ingredients:

  • 10 oz Bowtie pasta
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno minced (remove the seeds)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion

Cook the pasta and cool it under cold water. Mix your wet ingredients and spices. Then combine with the pasta. Then add all corn, jalapeno, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and red onion. 

I found this recipe on Pinterest initially and found it and so many more at Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Vegan Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing

If you are looking for a vegan pasta salad option or are just not a fan of mayo or sour cream, this is a great recipe for you! 

Pasta Salad:

  • Pasta noodles (any type but to be gluten-free make sure you choose “gluten-free pasta”
  • 2 large purple onions diced
  • White cannellini beans
  • Avocado
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers 

Lemon Herb Dressing:

  • Garlic cloves
  • Equal amounts of fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, dill, or thyme
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Red pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Cook your pasta. After it has cooled add the other ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the dressing ingredients and then combine! You could add any other vegetables you want but the original recipe chef recommends keeping the cannellini beans and avocado to make sure it has some good creaminess in each bite! 

There you have it – 8 delicious pasta salad recipes to whip together just in time for summer picnics and barbecues! 

Do you have a favorite pasta salad recipe? We would like to hear about it!

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