Light and slightly tangy Creamy Pasta Salad, with just enough creamy dressing to coat the noodles and vegetables, this is one heck of an awesome pasta salad. Perfect on its own for a light meal or as a side dish for all the summer potlucks and barbecues. This is better than any deli salad you can buy at the store!
A few years ago, while visiting my aunt and uncle, we were fortunate enough to arrive around dinnertime. (My aunt is a fabulous cook, so I tend to time it that way. You know, accidentally on purpose?) Her pasta salad was so simple and so delicious, I had to recreate it for my family as soon as I got back home. Thanks once again for the inspiration, Aunt Judy.
This Creamy Pasta Salad has become one of our most popular recipes. Cooking the broccoli just long enough to brighten the color and soften the crunch gives this salad a little something extra. (So, I highly recommend that you don’t skip that step.) Last time I made this, I shot a video to share with you. So check it out at the top of this post.
If you haven’t tried the salad yet, I hope that you’ll love it every bit as much as we do. Every time I make this salad, I stash containers of it in the fridge for my lunches all week. With the temps here in Phoenix already hitting the high 80s, I’m ready for this easy dinner to be a staple on our meal plans once again.
If you love pasta salad for easy meals all year round, you’ll want to try this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad and the Italian Artichoke and Tomato Pasta Salad after you’ve finished the last bite of this Creamy Pasta Salad. I have this Greek Pasta Salad and this Tuna Pasta Salad on my list to try soon too. You just can’t have too many great pasta salads at your fingertips, right?
- SALAD INGREDIENTS:
- 8 ounces salad macaroni or ditalini pasta
- 1 cup tiny broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup very thinly sliced green onion
- DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons white wine or plain vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 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 colander. 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, and onions and stir again. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir again just before serving. Enjoy!
If you forget to toss the broccoli in the boiling water at the end of the pasta's 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.
(originally published 6/6/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 3/23/17}