Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe

If you like creamy pasta salad, you'll love this fun play on the classic that recipe developer and registered dietician Kristen Carli is cooking up. In this recipe, macaroni is tossed with a vibrant, colorful combo of red onion, tomato, bell pepper, green onion, and fresh dill. A creamy, mustard-spiked dressing gets a touch of added pizzazz from white vinegar. It's the ideal pasta salad to serve at your next barbecue or picnic.

Those who aren't fans of celery are in luck: There's none lurking in this salad. "I love celery," says Carli, "but for this dish, I wanted to bring some crunch with the red bell pepper instead, for more sweetness and color."

In addition to its crunch and vibrancy, one thing we love about this pasta salad is that it gets better with time. Toss it together a day in advance so that the flavors have time to mix and meld. It'll be all the more delicious when you finally dig in!

Gather the ingredients for this creamy pasta salad

To make this creamy pasta salad, you will, of course, need pasta. Classic elbow macaroni fits the bill, though Carli notes that you can use any small pasta shape you like. "I would avoid long noodles," she advises, as shorter shapes mix better with the panoply of chopped veggies that make up the rest of the salad: red bell pepper, roma tomato, and two kinds of onion for added punch.

"I love onion and onion flavor!" says Carli. "Red onions bring a bit of sweetness, and green onions are more mild and herby. "You'll also need fresh dill and a trio of mayo, Dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar to make the dressing. A touch of salt and pepper, and you're ready to go!

Make the sauce for the creamy pasta salad

To make this creamy pasta salad, first cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water. While you're waiting for the pasta to reach that perfect al dente stage, mix up the creamy sauce by stirring together the mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Prepping the sauce in advance means that it's ready to add to the pasta as soon as it's cooked. Otherwise, cautions Carli, you'll want t be sure to toss the pasta with oil or rinse it so that it doesn't stick together in starchy clumps.

Combine the vegetables for this creamy pasta salad

Next, turn your attention to the veggies for this creamy pasta salad. Finely dice the red onion, tomato, bell pepper, and green onions into nice, even pieces. You don't want some veggie pieces to be much larger than the others. Not only does this make the salad look better, but it might even make it taste better too.

When the veggies are all chopped, add the dill and toss to combine. This allows the dill's flavor to fully permeate the salad. If dill is too assertive an herb for you, parsley or chervil make fine substitutes!

Combine all the creamy pasta salad ingredients

When the pasta is cooked, add both the drained noodles and the sauce to the vegetables. Toss well so that all of the noodles are coated.

And now? The waiting begins. This creamy pasta salad is best enjoyed chilled, so you'll want to wait at least two hours before dishing it up. But since leftovers will keep for up to five days, feel free to make the salad a day or two before you plan to serve it. Just before serving, give it one last stir, and sprinkle a touch of dill over the top for an extra pop of color.

Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe
4.9 from 36 ratings
If you like creamy pasta salad, you'll love this fun play on the classic that recipe developer and registered dietician Kristen Carli is cooking up.
Prep Time
Cook Time
creamy pasta salad served
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 pound macaroni pasta
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. Boil a large pot of water for pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the red onion, tomato, bell pepper, green onions, and dill. Add the cooked pasta and the creamy sauce. Stir to combine.
Calories per Serving 649
Total Fat 24.4 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 11.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 90.1 g
Dietary Fiber 5.4 g
Total Sugars 5.7 g
Sodium 526.5 mg
Protein 15.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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