Hearty and Easy Pasta Salad recipe. Pasta shells with bacon, cucumbers and tomatoes, cheese in a creamy homemade Caesar dressing. The perfect salad for a family picnic or to make ahead for a potluck!
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 isn’t your typical one but it’s GREAT!
We especially love to bring pasta salads to summer events like picnics, barbecues and potlucks. This quick salad will become a favorite to bring to all your summertime parties once you try the recipe!
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 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– it 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.
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
- 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-
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp oil
- In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain water and rinse pasta under cold water.
- Cut bacon into small pieces, saute until fully cooked. Pat with a paper towel to remove 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.