Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other summer recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe

When the summer season rolls around, it’s time for grilling, which means it’s time for a delicious pasta salad. This sweet, tangy, and totally creamy pasta salad is going to be a favorite for you this year, much like it has been for my family for years. It’s super easy to assemble and best when served cold on a hot summer day!

Why this recipe works.

The best side of the summer is a pasta salad. There are as many versions and recipes for pasta salad as there are people. This is a take on the sweet and tangy one we had all the time growing up. Originally the recipe used a can of sweetened condensed milk, and as a child, I thought that sweetness was perfect. Now I find the condensed soup too sweet, leaving almost an acrid flavor. This recipe balances the sweet with the tangy using honey and apple cider vinegar. The honey is thick and gives the dressing the perfect level of sweetness. Mayonnaise offers a creamy and slightly tangy flavor that is enhanced with apple cider vinegar. As will any pasta salad, the flavor only becomes better as it sits in the refrigerator. All the flavors soak into the pasta, and a perfectly updated notalgic salad is ready.

Marble surface with large bowl filled with creamy pasta salad with lettuce, hamburger buns, red bell pepper, herbs, and a wooden spoon.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Red bell pepper is a sweeter variety of bell pepper and works well to complement the sweetness in the dressing.
  • Red onion is a sweeter variety of onion as compared to a white or yellow onion. In this pasta salad, the red variety has a milder flavor that does not overpower the other ingredients.
  • Mayonnaise is both creamy and slightly tangy. The flavor offers the perfect compliment to the honey and is balanced with Greek yogurt. Make sure to get my recipe for homemade mayonnaise and make it at home!
  • Honey adds sweetness to the salad without being overpowering.
  • Apple cider vinegar ups the tangy flavor and mellows to become more subtle as the salad marinates in the refrigerator.
Marble surface with all ingredients needed to make creamy pasta salad including dried pasta, carrots, herbs, red onion, bell pepper, honey, mayonnaise, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Cook the pasta. To a pot of boiling water, add salt. Then pour in the pasta and cook until fully cooked. Then remove to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Place the pasta over a plate and let drip while preparing the vegetables and sauce.
  1. Prepare the vegetables. Grate the carrot using a box grater or food processor. Dice the bell pepper and red onion. Set the vegetables aside while preparing the dressing.
  1. Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, salt, black pepper, fresh tarragon, fresh dill, and minced garlic. Whisk together all ingredients until a homogeneous texture is achieved.
  1. Assemble the pasta salad. In a large bowl, add the pasta, vegetables, and dressing. Mix everything together to ensure the pasta and vegetables are fully coated in the dressing. Let the pasta salad sit for a few hours to allow the pasta to soak in the dressing.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • While most recipes indicate to cook the pasta to al dente, the pasta in this recipe should be fully cooked. Since there will be no additional cooking time, there is no chance for the pasta to cook even further. Once it is done cooking, the pasta is rinsed in cold water to ensure it stops cooking, which will prevent it from becoming too soft.
  • While fresh dill and fresh tarragon are the herbs that are listed in this recipe, they are not the only herbs that can be used. If there is a specific herb that you love, use it in place of dill or tarragon. It’s truly a customizable dressing. If you want a herb that has a less pungent flavor but still provides some green color, use parsley.
  • When preparing the dressing, always make sure to taste it before adding it to the pasta. That way, you can assess the flavors and adjust as needed.
  • When mixing together the pasta salad, add about ⅔ of the dressing and mix everything together. Then add the remaining ⅓ of the dressing as a final finish. This process allows for some discernment in the amount of dressing that you want on the salad, in case you like it on the lighter side.
Cooked pieces of pasta covered in creamy dressing tossed with pieces of red pepper, red bell pepper, and grated carrot.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Is there a type of pasta that works best for this recipe?

There is no specific pasta that has to be used for this recipe. But the spiral-shaped pasta works especially well at catching the creamy sauce that’s poured over the entire recipe.

Does any vegetable work in this pasta salad?

Yes, the vegetables can be customized for any personal preference.

Does Greek yogurt have to be used, or can it be substituted for sour cream?

Either sour cream or Greek yogurt can be used for the same outcome.

How long does this pasta salad recipe last once mixed together?

Once mixed together and stored in the refrigerator, the salad will keep for 7 days.

Does the pasta salad have to sit for a few hours before serving?

The salad is best after it has marinated for a few hours. It can be served fresh but will have a better, more mellow flavor after a few hours in the refrigerator.

Watch how to make this recipe.

YouTube video

More summer recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Marble surface with large white bowl filled with creamy pasta salad with red bell pepper and hamburger buns to the side.

Creamy Pasta Salad

5 from 10 votes
When the summer season rolls around, it’s time for grilling, which means it’s time for a delicious pasta salad. This sweet, tangy, and totally creamy pasta salad is going to be a favorite for you this year, much like it has been for my family for years. It’s super easy to assemble and best when served cold on a hot summer day!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spiral dried pasta
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • ½ medium red onion diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic minced

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, 8-12 minutes. Once the pasta has cooked, drain and rinse it with cool water to stop the cooking. Set the pasta aside to drain.
    1 lb spiral dried pasta
  • In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, garlic, tarragon, and dill. Whisk to combine until it is smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
    1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup Greek yogurt, ¼ cup honey, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill, 1 clove garlic
  • In a large bowl, combine the drained pasta, shredded carrot, diced bell pepper, red onion, and dressing. Stir together and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
    1 cup shredded carrot, 1 medium red bell pepper, ½ medium red onion

Notes

  • While most recipes indicate to cook the pasta to al dente, the pasta in this recipe should be fully cooked. Since there will be no additional cooking time, there is no chance for the pasta to cook even further. Once it is done cooking, the pasta is rinsed in cold water to ensure it stops cooking, which will prevent it from becoming too soft.
  • While fresh dill and fresh tarragon are the herbs that are listed in this recipe, they are not the only herbs that can be used. If there is a specific herb that you love, use it in place of dill or tarragon. It’s truly a customizable dressing. If you want a herb that has a less pungent flavor but still provides some green color, use parsley.
  • When preparing the dressing, always make sure to taste it before adding it to the pasta. That way, you can assess the flavors and adjust as needed.
  • When mixing together the pasta salad, add about ⅔ of the dressing and mix everything together. Then add the remaining ⅓ of the dressing as a final finish. This process allows for some discernment in the amount of dressing that you want on the salad, in case you like it on the lighter side.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 320kcal
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Mixing

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this creamy pasta salad yesterday for dinner. It is absolutely delicious! The only thing I changed was dill because I didn’t have any but everything else was the same. I used parsley along with the tarragon. The dressing is so good! Thank you for all your recipes – I so enjoy your videos!

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this recipe and it is DELICIOUS! We’re going to have the salad with your pork burger recipe tonight for dinner and I can’t wait! I had a few radishes and some fresh broccoli that I didn’t want to go bad so I took the liberty of adding those finely chopped but I tasted it before adding to get the true flavor first!