You are going to love this Creamy Pasta Salad recipe I am sharing with you today. We made a passion from eating a variety of salads in the summer months. However, we don’t always want to be eating the same ones over and over again. So, a pasta salad such as this delicious Creamy Pasta Salad makes for a bit of a change. With its creamy, yet slightly tangy dressing, along with its abundance of crisp vegetables, it is not only delicious but also very colorful and filled with lots of goodness!
This salad is perfect standing on its own as a light lunch, as well as being comfortable as a hearty side dish for when you are barbequing for family or friends, much like the more wintery baked potatoes. It also makes a fantastic salad to cart along to potluck and covered dish suppers! It is also very adaptable as far as which vegetables you can choose to add.
CREAMY PASTA SALAD RECIPE: INGREDIENTS
One thing I pride myself on is creating simple and easy recipes that don’t require a lot of unusual or expensive ingredients. Here is what you need to make this creamy pasta salad recipe
Please, keep in mind that if your family is not fond of one or would prefer another ingredient, feel free to make and adapt this recipe according to your own family’s tastes and desires! Also, if your family is really fond of vegetables, then you can easily increase the number of vegetables used! This is really a very basic recipe that can very easily be played with.
|8 ounces of Ditalini pasta (or any short cut tubular pasta)|
|½ cup of chopped broccoli florets|
|½ red onion, peeled and minced|
|1 cup peeled, seeded, and cubed cucumber|
|½ red bell pepper, trimmed and minced|
|12 pitted black olives, drained, dried, and sliced|
|½ cup cubed Colby cheese|
|½ cup good quality mayonnaise|
|1 tsp white wine vinegar|
|1 tsp sugar|
|½ tsp salt|
|½ tsp black pepper|
TIPS AND TRICKS WHEN MAKING PASTA SALAD
My hints and tips will ensure your success in making this delicious Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe. So, before anything else, give them a read and then go through the steps below! In this way, you will be ready to get it started.
- Read through the recipe several times to help familiarise yourself with any ingredients or equipment needed to make this recipe.
- Assemble all of the ingredients needed prior to beginning. This simple step can help to prevent you from forgetting or leaving out any ingredient integral to the recipe.
- You will want to use a short tubular type of pasta for this recipe. This kind of pasta will “hug” the dressing and the shorter shapes are much easier to eat. Also, they match the shape and size of the other ingredients.
- Mince the onion finely for this recipe. It adds color, but nobody really wants to chomp down on a large piece of onion. I also like to mince the red pepper finely, but feel free to leave the red pepper in larger pieces if you prefer.
- You can either peel your cucumber or not, as you prefer. Some people are not happy with the texture of the cucumber peel. Always, always remove the seeds from the cucumber as they can give off a lot of moisture which can water down the dressing.
- I have used a Colby Jack Cheese in this, but you can use a swiss cheese if you prefer, or even a medium cheddar. Just make sure the cheese you use does not have too strong a flavor as you don’t want it to overwhelm the other flavors in the salad.
- Use good quality mayonnaise. I have my favorite brand which I like and I am sure you will as well. Even better if you make really good homemade mayonnaise, use that! If you like your dressing more on the tart side, feel free to use a bit more vinegar.
- Cook your pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water. This helps to prevent your pasta from sticking together and gives it ample room to move around the pot while it is cooking.
- Make sure your water is at a complete boil prior to adding the pasta and keep it at a full rolling boil while the pasta is cooking. Handy tip – if you keep your wooden spoon perched across the edge of your saucepan, your pot is unlikely to boil over.
- Drain your pasta well and then rinse under cold running water. This helps to cool the pasta down so that it is ready to use in the recipe, as well as helping to wash off any excess starch which may interfere with the integrity of the recipe. After rinsing, drain well again.
- I am not overly fond of totally raw broccoli. It wreaks havoc with my digestive system. So, I usually blanch it first in some boiling water. Only 2 minutes does the trick, and then again, place under cold running water to prevent it from cooking further. Make sure you dry it well! Also, I found out that you can use thawed frozen broccoli with success. Just make sure you pat it dry before using it so as not to water down the dressing.
- Do let the salad sit for at least an hour, covered, in the refrigerator prior to serving. This helps to develop the flavors more fully and enables them to mesh well together.
HOW TO MAKE CREAMY PASTA SALAD
Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain them. Rinse under cold running water until cold and drain well. Place into a mixing bowl.
Chop and prepare all of your vegetables while the pasta is cooking.
Add the chopped broccoli, minced onion, minced bell pepper, sliced olives, cucumber, and cheese. Thoroughly combine.
Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until totally amalgamated.
Gently fold the dressing into the salad ingredients until everything is evenly coated. Cover tightly and chill until ready to serve, or for at least 1 hour.
Transfer to a serving bowl when you are ready to serve.
As you can see, this is an amazingly simple salad and attractive, as well as being most delicious!
HOW TO SERVE CREAMY PASTA SALAD
This is a pasta salad that is completely at home on the family supper table, but also comfortable showing up at the latest get-together and potluck supper! Also, this is the perfect salad to bring along when you are asked to bring a side dish to a party and makes a great addition to any buffet table! It’s also a great way to sneak some nutritious vegetables into your family’s diet without them realizing what you are doing.
I often enjoy a small bowl of this for lunch on its own, but you can also easily turn it into a main dish salad by adding some flaked tinned tuna or salmon for variety. However, do feel free to add your own twist to this by varying the vegetables used or even the amount of them.
Finally, as you already saw, this is an incredibly versatile recipe and is also quite easy to double or triple for larger groups. In addition, please keep in mind that this salad will be kept very well in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for three to five days, not that you are likely to have it around for that long. This is such a delicious salad I can guarantee that it will disappear very quickly!
Last but not least, I will be super excited to find out what is your opinion on this recipe. Did you enjoy preparing it? What did your family think about it? Did you find it as delicious as we did? Also, if you improved it in any way, please let me know. So, just tell me everything about your experience with the Creamy Pasta Recipe. Not to mention that all your further questions are more than welcome in the comments section!
For the Salad:
- 8 ounces of Ditalini pasta (or any short cut tubular pasta)
- ½ cup of chopped broccoli florets
- ½ red onion, peeled and minced
- ½ red bell pepper, trimmed and minced
- 1 cup peeled, seeded, and cubed cucumber
- 12 pitted black olives, drained, dried, and sliced
- ½ cup cubed Colby cheese
For the dressing:
- ½ cup good quality mayonnaise
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain. Rinse under cold running water until cold and drain well. Place into a mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped broccoli, minced onion, minced bell pepper, sliced olives, cucumber, and cheese. Thoroughly combine.
- Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until totally amalgamated. Gently fold the dressing into the salad ingredients until everything is evenly coated. Cover tightly and chill until ready to serve, or for at least 1 hour.
- Transfer to a serving bowl when you are ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271 per serving
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.