Hearty and Easy Pasta Salad Recipe. This pasta salad is loaded with pasta shells, bacon, cucumbers, tomatoes and cheese in a creamy homemade Caesar dressing.

This is the perfect salad for a family picnic or to make ahead for a potluck or parties as it can be made in advance!

Easy pasta salad recipe in a bowl with cheese, bacon, cucumbers and a creamy dressing.

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A good salad is a must for any party. We have some favorites that we usually bring. We like this pasta salad, or the  Pasta Chicken Caesar Salad, the delicious Broccoli Salad and our personal favorite, our unique Caprese Salad.

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easy pasta salad-

I just love this pasta salad recipe. Cooked mini shell pasta combined with crispy bacon pieces, tomato, cucumber and cheese in the creamiest homemade parmesan Caesar dressing. This combination of ingredients isn’t your typical one for pasta salad but it’s GREAT! Everyone always raves and asks for the recipe

Serve the salad with easy Grilled Chicken Thighs or the sweet and tangy Grilled Shrimp!

Ingredients cubed in a large bowl for pasta salad topped with ground black pepper.

tips how to make an easy pasta salad-

  • Make salad ahead- If making the salad ahead of time, don’t mix it until you are ready to serve the salad. Unlike traditional pasta salad with Italian dressing that is best to mix overnight, this salad is best if mixed 1-2 hours in advance.
  • Pasta shells- Though you can use any pasta for this salad recipe, our favorite is the mini shells. They add an appeal to the salad and perform so well with the remaining ingredients.
  • Cut uniform sizes- Be sure to cut the cucumbers, cheese and tomatoes into small uniform pieces. Finely chop the red onion. This way you’ll get all of the ingredients in every bite.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta– Overcooked pasta will become mushy and unpleasant in the salad. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to keep the shells from sticking.
  • Homemade salad dressing- The dressing can also be made ahead and kept refrigerated. You can tweak the dressing with more milk for a thinner consistency if desired but this proportion is our favorite! TIP: Add about 3/4 of the dressing and mix salad, add more dressing as needed.

Easy pasta salad in a bowl tossed with homemade dressing and garnished with greens.

can pasta salad be made in advance?

Yes! This salad can be made two days in advance, just don’t mix it until you are ready to serve the salad. Keep the dressing and salad covered and refrigerated.

This easy salad will become a favorite not only for parties but to enjoy at home for a lazy lunch enjoy leftovers for days! So good!

OTHER SALAD RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE:

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

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5 from 8 votes
Quick and easy pasta salad recipe. Pasta shells with tomatoes, cucumbers, bacon and cheese in a creamy homemade Caesar parmesan dressing. This pasta salad is perfect for barbecues, potlucks and parties!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

pasta salad-

  • 6 oz uncooked mini pasta shells
  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 oz colby jack cheese, cubed
  • 3 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 oz bacon, cooked

pasta salad dressing-

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain water and rinse pasta under cold water.
  • In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing.
  • Cut bacon into small pieces, saute until fully cooked. Pat with a paper towel to remove excess grease.
  • Cube cheese, finely chop onions, cut cherry tomatoes in half or quarter and slice the cucumbers.
  • In a large salad bowl, add all the ingredients for pasta salad. Pour in dressing and mix.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

This salad can be made two days in advance, just don't mix with the dressing until you are ready to serve the salad. Keep the dressing and salad covered and refrigerated.

Nutrition

Calories: 576kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 16gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 699mgPotassium: 377mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 485IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 224mgIron: 1mg
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)