This lightened up, healthier version of the popular summer creamy pasta salad is perfect for the upcoming grilling season, Easter lunches and potlucks. It packs well for picnics and lunches and can be made ahead of time and brought out for the big event.
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In a strange twist, we ended up enjoying this creamy pasta salad as our main dish on Easter Sunday this year. We had friends over for what was supposed to be a super casual dinner on Saturday night…but ended up becoming a bit of a party.
We all slept late on Sunday (turns out that dancing until 10pm will actually make my kids sleep past 5.30 in the morning…about the only thing!), and when we woke on Sunday, everyone was super relaxed. Subsequently, the thought of spending the day in the kitchen cooking up a big ham was not enticing at all and we decided on a picnic instead.
It was actually really lovely, and we enjoyed it so much that I think we will definitely be incorporating more of these little jaunts into our spring and summer weekends.
Get Rid Of The Pre-Packaged Stuff. Homemade Creamy Pasta Salad Is The Way To Go
Every time I ask my husband what he wants to bring for a picnic, his first response is always creamy pasta salad. You know the type, the rich and creamy pasta glug/goodness that comes prepackaged in huge containers at Costco.
It is the ULTIMATE picnic food, and I used to be quite partial to it as well. I stopped buying it years ago though, so poor hubby always makes a bee-line for the big bowls of creamy pasta salad that you know will be at pretty much every BBQ over the spring and summer season.
I finally decided to have a go at making him a homemade version. I wanted to make it taste as close to the store-bought version as possible, because otherwise what’s the point, right? It worked out way better than I could have expected, and this will definitely be my go-to creamy pasta salad recipe for the entertaining months to come.
What To Pair Creamy Pasta Salad With
Whether you are planning a little picnic, a family BBQ or a fun Easter brunch this creamy pasta salad should be your new go-to take-along salad. In these situations I like to whip up some of these great recipes as well:
- Homemade Rotisserie Style Chicken;
- Easy Quinoa Salad;
- Ham, Ricotta and Asparagus Pastries;
- and of course some Homemade Watermelon Lemonade.
Lightened Up Creamy Pasta Salad
- 2 cups dry whole wheat rotini pasta the swirly pasta
- 1 1/2 cups greek yoghurt full fat
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup milk (less or more if needed)
- 3 tbsp pickle juice from sweet/spicy pickles to taste
- 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/3 oz can black olives finely chopped, 6 .
- 5 baby dill pickles diced
- 3 whole green onions sliced finely
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse well under cold water, set aside and allow to cool completely
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, red wine vinegar, coconut, sugar, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add in the milk and pickle juice, until the mixture is pourable
- To the yoghurt mixture, add in the chopped red peppers, olives, pickles and green onions. Taste and adjust according to your own likes (i.e. I always add more pickles)
- Once the pasta has cooled completely, add it into the bowl with the other ingredients and stir well. Pop the salad into the fridge and allow to cool for about 2 hours before serving. The longer you leave it, the thicker and creamier the dressing will become
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Try some other salads great for potlucks, BBQ’s and picnics:
- Radish Pea and Quinoa Shaved Asparagus Salad;
- Summer Stone Fruit and Spinach Salad;
- Garlicky Orange Spinach Salad.
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