Creamy Pasta Salad loaded with petite peas and crispy bacon is super quick and easy to make (with hardly any chopping) and smothered in tantalizing Lemon Parmesan dressing!
This Creamy Pasta Salad is destined to become a new favorite dinner side or potluck crowd pleaser and couldn’t be any easier! You can make the salad ahead of time and just add the bacon before serving for the perfect stress side everyone will love. You can customize the ingredients with your favorite veggies or leave it perfect – and extra easy – in its simplicity.
Warm weather has been late in coming this spring, but before we know it, it will be everything sandals and sunscreen which means potlucks and barbecues galore – my fav! I love the smorgasbord of beef brisket, chicken kebabs, steak kabobs, potato salad, watermelon, corn on the cob, and of course, creamy pasta salad.
Every get together needs a fabulous pasta salad – not just obligatory pasta salad – enter Bacon Pea Creamy Pasta Salad! This creamy pasta salad boasts the winning trifecta of bacon, peas and pasta to create a harmonious blend of bright, fresh crunchy textures. One of my favorite texture combos in the world. It’s so simple, but so perfect.
Most pasta salads involve a lot of chopping due to the veggies – but this cool and creamy pasta salad doesn’t have any – aside from crumbling your bacon in two seconds – winning! Of course, you can add whatever veggies you want as long as you stick to the drool worthy, luxurious creamy, Lemon Parmesan Dressing.
The creamy dressing is based off of my BLT Pasta Salad recipe because after I made that salad, I was soooo in love with the dressing (and the whole salad), that I couldn’t get the creamy lemon deliciousness out my mind. And now we don’t have to.
This Parmesan Lemon Dressing enlivens the creamy pasta salad with it’s zippy tangy kiss and cuts through the richness of the dressing. I swapped the chives for Parmesan (from my BLT Dressing version) and made a few other tweaks and now we have a bright and tangy, lusciously creamy dressing infused with oregano, parsley, garlic and most importantly, lemon juice and lemon zest. It’s fresh and vibrant and so addicting you will want to smother it on everything!
Looking for more potluck sides?
- Caramelized Grilled Pineapple
- Cucumber, Tomato, Avocado Salad
- Moist Sweet Cornbread
- Strawberry, Broccoli Avocado Salad
- Chipotle BBQ Chicken Salad
HELPFUL TIPS TO MAKE this Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe:
- You can make the dressing up to 24 hours in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Whisking the ingredients together is the most time consuming part of the recipe (although super) easy, so if you have this done, then the recipe comes together lightening fast!
- I like to use medium pasta shells in this recipe but any medium or small pasta will work great. Mini Farfalle would be delicious as would macaroni.
- It is important to not overcook your pasta – you want it al dente so it still has a little bite otherwise the pasta salad will be soggy. We want creamy – not soggy.
- To stop your pasta from cooking after it’s removed from the heat, rinse and drain it in cold water then drizzle it with a touch of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.
- It is essential to use thick-cut bacon in this recipe so it retains its meaty texture when covered in the creamy dressing.
- Make sure you are using petite frozen peas as they taste fresh and almost crunchy vs. mushy.
- Unlike vinaigrette dressings, you will want to make sure the pasta is completely cool before mixing in the creamy dressing to ensure the dressing doesn’t separate.
- Feel free to add any other veggies your heart desires! Even chicken would be delicious!
HOW TO MAKE Creamy Pasta Salad IN ADVANCE
- You can make the Lemon Parmesan Dressing up to 24 hours in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you choose to make it this far in advance, you might want to add a little more lemon before tossing as the lemon will mellow over time – just taste first and then make the call.
- To make the Creamy Pasta Salad ahead of time, add the pasta and peas to a large bowl and toss with half of the dressing once the pasta has cooled (so the dressing doesn’t separate). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add the remaining dressing and the bacon and toss until evenly combined.
Want to try this Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe?
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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
©Carlsbad Cravings Original
A version of this recipe first appeared on The Slow Roasted Italian where I am a contributor.
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Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad