HomeSide Dish Savory Pasta Salad

Savory Pasta Salad

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savory pasta salad

This week’s recipe is dedicated in part to Rachel’s sister, who said we need more pasta salad recipes (as she has filed a formal complaint with the management), and part dedicated to our neighbor Mrs H. who commented we need to get more recipes up (I’ve been a terribly host as of late and have been skipping our usual weekly posts now and then). So – Katie and Mrs. H, this post is for you!

What a delicious – and well timed – post this is too. With the 4th of July just a few days away, and many more summer BBQ’s to go, a good pasta salad is a summer necessity.

I often stay away from traditional pasta salads at BBQ’s because they tend to strike me as just pasta with a ton of mayonnaise. Blegh, no thank you. This recipe, however, is a welcome change to the ho-hum pasta salad! Yes, it has mayo- infused with lemon juice and delicious herbage- loaded up with a bunch of fresh veggies and fresh oregano.  It’s a vibrant, aromatic, taste bud pleasing side dish!

A big thank you to Jane, The Heritage Cook, who was our Secret Recipe Club blogger this month. If you have not been to her site- get over there and check it out! There are an abundance of fantastic sounding recipes ready begging to meet your grill this summer.  Jane shares our passion for preserving family memories and sharing the food that goes along with them- and she graciously shares tips and tricks that will make up your culinary skills to boot! In actuality, Jane is more than just our assigned blogger this month, she is the host of our group and ensures everything is coordinated and running smoothly between all of us food blogger. So a double thank you to Jane for both this delicious recipe and for being such a good host!

savory pasta salad

It’s back to being hot and humid in NJ. To beat the heat we have a little kiddie pool and a water table for the babies (ok, Rachel and I put our feet in the pool, too). Both Toddler and Baby start off with interest in it, but after a (short) while Toddler ends up filling up his little honey bee watering can and “Watering” everything he can; the driveway, the grass growing in the cracks of the driveway, the rocks and sticks near the driveway, the dog. The Baby lasts a bit longer with his interest. So long as there are toys floating around he’s happy to stand, splash and watch his brother water things. So long as the “watering” isn’t aimed at him 😉

I took off last Friday and took Rachel and the kiddies to the beach. Not the “Jersey Shore” kind of beach (ugh) but rather a nice family friend little boardwalk and beach at Asbury Park, NJ. There is a fun little splash park there perfect for kids that I thought Toddler Boy might like. But Toddler had so much fun on the beach, chasing seagulls and being chased by the waves that we never made it off the sand.

What a difference a year makes. Last year we went to the Outer Banks, NC for a week. Toddler had some interest in the sand and water, but after about a half hour he was done, he’d want to go back to the house. This summer, at 2 years old, he is all about the sand and water. Digging holes, burying feet, filling up and dumping out buckets, collecting sea shells. Such fun.

Where ever you are this week (lucky enough to see the ocean, kiddie pool or simply a nice cool drink in your hand), have a great 4th and stay cool!

savory pasta salad

Savory Pasta Salad


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound small pasta (any shape), cooked al dente in salted water, drained, and rinsed
  • 1 cup pasta cooking water, reserved
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped fairly fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, ground pepper, salt, and herbs. Whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta with chopped vegetables. Toss to combine well. Add enough of the mayonnaise mixture to make a smooth salad. If you like a “drier” salad, you don’t have to use it all. Toss well to coat all ingredients thoroughly. If needed, add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin the sauce.
  3. Chill, covered, at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Sprinkle with chopped herbs.
  4. Can be made ahead and will last 3 to 4 days, covered, in the refrigerator. Flavor improves with age, so make this a day ahead and save yourself time on the day of your party.
  5. *Note - We recommend reserving some of the dressing to mix in just before serving.

Recipe adapted from: The Heritage Cook

savory pasta salad


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