This Easy Classic Pasta Salad is a family favourite recipe! It makes a delicious side dish, it’s packed with veggies, and it’s easy to make in under 30 minutes!
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I don’t know about you, but as a busy mom I’m ALWAYS looking for new ways to get and healthy dinner on the table FAST. This Easy Classic Pasta Salad is one of our family’s favourite easy side dishes because it’s packed with fresh veggies, it’s got a creamy Italian-style dressing, and it’s just delicious. The kids LOVE it!
This Easy Classic Pasta Salad is a go-to recipe for our family throughout the year – we enjoy it all summer long with meat off the grill and fresh veggies from the garden, we enjoy it in the fall when the kids go back to school and mom just needs a break (!), and we enjoy it in the winter and spring with whatever leftover veggies we happen to have in the fridge that we need to use up! It’s so versatile and delicious, no matter what you throw in it!
Our favourite veggies to include in this pasta salad are cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers of any colour, but you can also add corn, peas, broccoli, your favourite greens like spinach or arugula, cauliflower – the possibilities are endless! And it’s easy to customize the dressing too – we make it with greek yogurt or coconut yogurt instead of sour cream, and sometimes even substitute vegan mayo for real mayo.
How to Make Easy Pasta Salad
1.) Choose your pasta! – any variety of pasta will work, but pasta shapes with lots of ridges (like penne) or craters (like rigatoni or fusilli) are best for pasta salad because there are so many places for the dressing to hide!
2.) Add some colour – veggies are ALWAYS my choice ingredient for adding colour to pasta salads, but additions like olives, jarred roasted peppers, or even fresh herbs is a great way to add colour.
4.) Make your own dressing – Making the dressing yourself is a great way to customize the flavour! Just add equal parts fat (oil, mayonnaise, etc.) and acid (vinegar, lemon juice), fresh herbs, a touch of honey or maple syrup (if you want), sea salt, and whisk to combine! OR, use your favourite bottled dressing to save time!
Looking for more pasta salad recipes? You’ll love this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, or this Rainbow Vegetable Pasta Salad!
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I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! Let me know in the comments below, what’s your favourite go-to easy side dish? I’d love to know!
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Easy Classic Pasta Salad
- 500 grams dry Penne pasta approx. 1 pound package
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 long english cucumber chopped
- 1 yellow pepper chopped
- fresh herbs for serving optional
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream substitute Greek yogurt if desired
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Set a large pot of water over high heat and let it boil. Add some salt to the water for flavour.
- When the water is boiled, cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water until the pasta has cooled.
- Add the pasta to a large bowl along with the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing, mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and veggies and toss well.
- Serve with some freshly chopped basil or parsley, or serve as it is.
- Store in the fridge before serving for up to 2 days.