Looking for the perfect cold pasta salad? This Classic Creamy Pasta Salad is the perfect summer dish. It makes a great side dish or a light meal, with fresh veggies and a zingy, creamy dressing. Make some to share for the next bbq, bridal shower, and any occasion you can think of!
If you need a great recipe for your next gathering, you're going to love this. It's the best creamy pasta salad, with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, and creamy sauce with lots of seasonings. It's savory, and a little spiced, with just the right amount of sweetness.
❤️Why you'll love this
- Simple ingredients - All you need is a few kitchen & pantry staples, plus your favorite vegetable additions.
- Easy to customize - The pasta we used for this recipe is a low-carb fusilli pasta (affiliate link), but you could easily make this recipe traditional, gluten-free, and even vegan with a few simple swaps. You can also add in your favorite veggies, spices, and herbs to suit your preferences.
- Perfect to feed a crowd - This recipe makes a pretty large batch and is very easy to scale up to make more.
- Full of delicious summer veggies - This recipe is creamy and delicious, but also very fresh with delicious summertime veggies. It's the perfect combo!
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe, plus a few extras.
Here is a list of ingredients, you can see the recipe card for quantities.
For the pasta salad
- Cooked pasta of choice - We used this fusilli pasta, but you could use anything you like, like macaroni noodles, bow tie pasta, rotini pasta, etc.
- Red onion - Diced or minced.
- Cucumbers - we go with English or Persian cucumbers because their skins are soft and sweet, so no need to peel them. Cut in half, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Cherry tomatoes - Nice and sweet. We like to cut them into half or into fourths.
- Bell peppers - We like red bell peppers for their sweet flavor, but you could use yellow, orange or green pepper if you prefer.
- Celery - Cut into small chunks.
For the creamy homemade dressing
- Dry seasonings - Aside from kosher salt and black pepper, you will need garlic powder, celery seed, and cayenne pepper.
- Mayonnaise - Our favorite is this Japanese mayonnaise.
- Apple cider vinegar - You could use red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or just regular white vinegar as well. Fresh lemon juice also works.
- Dijon mustard & Worcestershire sauce - You can find the combo of these two ingredients in tons of our recipes! They always add that extra special something.
- Plain greek yogurt, skyr, or sour cream - Something with a bit of acidity to cut the richness of the mayo, while helping to create the creamy base.
- Sweetener of choice - We love Swerve, as it's zero-glycemic impact, and zero calories. It's highly delicious.
- Fresh herbs of choice - We used some dill, fresh basil, and chives or green onions. Feel free to add your favorite fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro.
- Cook pasta al dente in boiling, salted water, and then run it under cold water in a colander to stop the cooking process. Allow them to dry off and drain completely before putting the pasta salad together. You can use paper towels to dry them off completely.
- Chop all vegetables, then set them aside in a bowl.
- Mince herbs and set aside.
Make the dressing
Start by making the dressing. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream, sweetener, vinegar, dijon, Worcestershire, some of the fresh herbs, the dry seasonings, salt, and pepper.
Whisk until completely combined. This dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container. If you can, allow the dressing to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to meld together.
Assemble the pasta salad
Place cooked noodles and most vegetables in a large mixing bowl, reserving some vegetables for garnishing later if desired. Season the vegetables with the remaining salt.
Pour in the dressing.
Toss to combine. At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until just before serving. This can be done a few hours in advance.
Garnish and serve!
Before serving, add in some more fresh vegetables, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs to garnish if desired.
If you follow a different diet type, don't worry! We have a few suggestions.
- Keto or low carb - Our version of pasta salad is low carb friendly with low carb noodles, and a sugar replacement. If you want to lower the carbs even more, use shirataki noodles, your favorite keto pasta, zucchini noodles, or even cauliflower!
- Dairy free - You can use your favorite dairy free, unflavored yogurt.
- Vegan - Follow the dairy free instructions above, and be sure to also use vegan mayonnaise and pasta.
Here's a few ways to alter this pasta salad.
- Dill pickle - Love pickles? Add extra dill and cut up some dill pickles nice and small. Perfect!
- Black olives - If you love black olives, have at it! We personally only love them on pizza sometimes, so we omitted them here, but feel free to add some.
- Cheddar cheese - Add a little bit more protein, fat, and flavor to this pasta salad by adding in some shredded cheddar cheese.
- Sweet relish - For little pockets of sweet and tangy.
- Crispy bacon bits - Bacon seems like a fabulous idea in this yummy pasta salad!
- Mozzarella cheese balls - We love to get the marinated kind. YUM!
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This pasta salad is best enjoyed the same day it's made, but you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days once everything is mixed up.
You can prepare the noodles and the creamy dressing a couple of days in advance before assembling the whole salad.
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Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe
For the pasta salad:
- 1 package low carb fusilli pasta, about 16 ounces (About 16 ounces. You could use any pasta you want, but be aware this will impact the nutrition facts.)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- ½ medium red onion, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ large English cucumber, cut in half and cored with a spoon
For the creamy pasta salad dressing:
- 120 grams mayonnaise (½ cup)
- 120 grams greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 24 grams granular erythritol (2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Fresh dill, chives, and basil to taste
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions, then drain and set aside. Place in the fridge to cool and be sure to drain all extra water before putting salad together.
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing and whisk to combine. Cover and set aside in the fridge until it's time to assemble.
- Place pasta, and veggies in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt, then pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Cover, and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Garnish with fresh vegetables and herbs. Enjoy!
- Once assembled, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Salad dressing can be made a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Once the pasta salad has been put together, it should be stored in the fridge for only up to 2 days.
- Using sugar and regular pasta will impact the nutritional information. You can also use any pasta or pasta alternative you prefer.
- All seasonings are optional and to taste.
- For a full list of substitutions and variations, please refer to the body of the blog post.
These nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy and are only estimates. We cannot guarantee the accuracy.