Crave: Try these unique takes on pasta salad

photo by: Courtesy of Mother Earth News

Irish Pasta Salad.

What better side dish for a summer cookout than a tangy, zesty pasta salad? Here are a few options to spice up your next barbecue — from Greek flavors to a Southwestern-style crowd pleaser.

Zesty Shrimp Pasta Salad


8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked and drained

1 1⁄2 cups medium-size shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined

1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

1⁄2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)

1 small can (3 1⁄4 ounces) medium-size pitted black olives

3⁄4 cup green bell pepper strips

2⁄3 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cayenne pepper, to taste


Place pasta in large bowl. Add shrimp, tomatoes, cheese, olives and bell pepper; toss well.

In small bowl, combine yogurt, mustard, chives and lemon juice. Season with cayenne.

Pour yogurt mixture over pasta mixture and toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Southwest Corn Pasta Salad


4 ounces macaroni, cooked (about 2 cups cooked)

3 cups fresh sweet corn kernels (raw, blanched or cooked on cob and removed)

1 cup chopped celery

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3⁄4 cup chopped red onion

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup picante sauce

1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon oregano leaves

1⁄2 teaspoon salt


Combine macaroni, corn, celery, green pepper, onion and tomatoes in large bowl.

In jar with lid, combine picante sauce, oil, lime juice, garlic, oregano and salt; shake well.

Pour oil mixture over macaroni mixture; toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Irish Pasta Salad



4 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1⁄2 teaspoon salt


8 ounces corned beef, cooked and sliced thin

6 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

1⁄2 cup chopped green onions

15 ounces shaped pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed in cool water

For dressing: In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; mix well and set aside.

For salad: In large serving bowl, combine corned beef, cabbage, carrots and onions. Gently add cooked pasta.

Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss gently to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Yields 6 servings.

BLT Pasta Salad


8 ounces bow-tie pasta, cooked, rinsed and drained

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 cup packed, coarsely chopped arugula leaves

1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Coarse salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked until very crisp

In chilled bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, scallions and arugula; set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss with pasta and vegetables. Crumble in bacon, and toss to combine. Yields 6 servings.

Greek Pasta Salad



3⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1⁄3 cup red wine vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

11⁄2 teaspoons garlic powder

11⁄2 teaspoons dried basil

11⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

11⁄2 teaspoons sugar


1 pound penne pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 small cucumber, halved and chopped

3⁄4 cup black or Kalamata olives, pitted

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced, optional

11⁄2 cups crumbled feta cheese

For dressing: In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, basil, oregano, pepper and sugar; set aside.

For salad: In large bowl, toss together pasta, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, olives, spinach and chicken.

Pour dressing over top. Chill well. Top with feta cheese just before serving.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.