If you want to be the most adored person at your party, serve this loaded pasta salad. This is a great pasta salad to serve as-is, or you can add in whatever ingredients you want! This starts with an easy seasoned mayo dressing, then add the remaining ingredients and you’re ready to eat!
This recipe was originally posted in June 2019 and was updated in February 2024.
I think we can all agree that a cool and creamy loaded pasta salad is a basic requirement at any summer party. The meats always get all the attention: the burgers, the dogs, steaks, chicken wings. Huddled around the grill, taking inventory of how many burgers there are, how many need to be made into cheeseburgers…and who wants a hotdog? But you know where you’ll find me? Yes, the bar area but I mean other than that…you’ll find me hovered over the side dishes. That’s why for me, it’s so important to have a pasta salad such as this one at a party.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Elbow noodles
- Cheddar cheese
- Cooked bacon
- Red onions
- Dijon mustard
- White sugar
- White vinegar
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
STORAGE AND MAKE AHEAD
Pasta salads are best served the day you make them. The longer they sit in the fridge they can lose some of that creaminess. So I wouldn’t recommend making this in advance.
If you have to make this a day or two ahead, I’d recommend whipping up a little extra of the mayo dressing and storing it in a separate bowl. Then, when you’re ready to serve mix in the extra dressing to bring the pasta salad back to it’s original creaminess!
SUBSTITUIONS AND ADD-INS
The great thing about this pasta salad is it’s really versatile. It’s a loaded pasta salad so you can really add in whatever you want! Here are some more ideas.
- Red peppers
- Hard boiled eggs
Want more pasta salads? Check out more of my recipes!Print
Easy Summer Pasta Salad
A pasta salad perfect for parties and gatherings. Start with a seasoned may dressing, then load it up with your favorite ingredients!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 servings
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Mix
- Cuisine: American
2 and 1/2 cups dry macaroni noodles
1 and 1/4 cups mayo
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 and 1/2 cups cooked frozen peas
6 – 7 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
1 cup diced red onion
3/4 cup diced sharp Cheddar cheese
1. Cook the pasta according to box directions. The strain and run under cold water. Add to your large serving bowl.
2. To make the dressing, in a bowl combine the mayo, mustard, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
3. To assemble the pasta salad, pour the dressing over the cooled pasta and stir until all the noodles are covered in the dressing. Then add in the diced red onion, diced cooked bacon, cooked peas, and Cheddar cheese. Stir until everything is well distributed throughout the pasta.
Serve immediately, garnish with more salt and pepper to taste.
Pasta salad lose their creaminess the longer they are refrigerated. If you are making this ahead, I recommend making a little extra dressing in another bowl and adding it to the pasta salad just before serving.
Keywords: loaded pasta salad
Adapted from: Eating on a Dime