Summer Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing is a wonderful combination of flavors and is perfect on a warm day. Serve up this chilled pasta salad all season long for a delicious dish the whole family will enjoy!
This creamy pasta salad recipe is a refreshing cold summer salad and pretty easy to make too. Made with a nice lemon pasta sauce, the ingredients combine well to create a burst of flavor you won’t soon forget.
Summertime Chilled Pasta Salad
This easy pasta salad recipe is an inexpensive, yet filling, dish that is great to serve at family get togethers or backyard BBQ’s. The pasta salad only has 4 ingredients, which makes this an easy recipe to whip up. However, the homemade lemon dressing is the real star of this pasta recipe. It has under 10 ingredients, some of which are most likely already in your kitchen. The effort to make this pasta is minimal and the end results are an extremely flavorful side dish. Give this incredible recipe a try and see for yourself just how delicious it is.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS COLD PASTA RECIPE
- It’s easy to make! This recipe is very simple to follow along with, making it a quick and easy dish to whip up for parties or get togethers.
- Basic ingredients. You do not need much to make this recipe, but you will need a few items. You will be surprised how many ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
- 30 minutes or less. With a little prep and a fast cook time, you can easily have this recipe completed in about 30 minutes or less. Then let it chill while you prepare the rest of the meal items.
Chilled Lemon Pasta Salad Ingredients
For the pasta salad, you will need:
Pasta: You will need 12 ounces of cooked pasta noodles. I like using macaroni noodles, but you can use whatever type you prefer.
Peas: Adding in 1 cup of frozen petite peas will be plenty to enjoy one in every bite.
Bacon: To add some amazing savory flavor, use 6 slices of cooked bacon for this recipe.
Thyme leaves: You will want about 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves for garnish in this pasta.
For the lemon-thyme dressing, you will need:
Mayo: You will need ¾ cups of mayo to for the base of this creamy dressing recipe.
Olive oil: Use ⅓ cup of olive oil to help create a good dressing consistency.
Lemon juice: Adding in ¼ cup of lemon juice will really add some fresh and tangy goodness to every bite.
Lemon zest: You will want to use about 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh lemon zest to give this pasta salad another blast of citrus flavor.
Sugar: You need 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, of granulated sugar to help the dressing to be less acidic but still flavorful.
Salt: Add in 1 ½ teaspoons of salt to make the flavors in the pasta salad really stand out.
Mustard: Use 1 teaspoon of whole grain Dijon mustard to add some delicious zest to this recipe.
Thyme: You need 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves to go into the dressing.
Pepper: Use ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to help add some more flavor to the pasta.
How to Make Summertime Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing
Start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Then, about 2 minutes before you are going to drain the pasta, add in your frozen peas to help them thaw and cook. Proceed to drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
Also, you need to cook the bacon before assembling the pasta salad. Give this great recipe for the easiest way to cook bacon a try. Once cooked and cooled, dice it into small pieces and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, add in the salt, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Whisk again to combine well.
Next, add the bacon and fresh thyme to the pasta, then pour the dressing over the top and toss well to combine.
Place the pasta in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes before serving.
Serve and enjoy!
Summer Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing
- 12 oz macaroni pasta
- 1 cup frozen petite peas
- 6 slices cooked bacon
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves for garnish*
Creamy Lemon-Thyme Dressing ingredients:
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon sugar plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Prep: Start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Then, about 2 minutes before you are going to drain the pasta, add in your frozen peas to help them thaw and cook. Proceed to drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
- Also, you need to cook the bacon before assembling the pasta salad. Give this great recipe for the easiest way to cook bacon a try. Once cooked and cooled, dice it into small pieces and set aside.
- Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, add in the salt, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Whisk again to combine well.
- Assemble: Next, add the bacon and fresh thyme to the pasta, then pour the dressing over the top and toss well to combine. Place the pasta in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!
How long is pasta with bacon and peas good for?
This pasta salad is good for about 2 or 3 days if kept well covered and stored in the fridge. I do not recommend freezing the salad for longer storage or letting it sit out for more than 2 hours as it will spoil.
Can I prepare lemon pasta salad in advance?
Yes, you can prepare this salad up to a day or so in advance and keep the dressing separate from the salad until right before serving.
HOW TO COOK PASTA PERFECTLY EVERY TIME
Pasta is pretty simple to cook, but there are a few little tricks to making sure it turns out perfect every time!
- Make sure you use a large enough pot to boil your noodles in. If it is too small, you may find that your noodles stick together and you may run out of water before the noodles are completely cooked. To cook one pound of pasta, you should be using at least 4-6 quarts of water. Make sure your pot is big enough to hold the water and the pasta and be able to boil without boiling over. Remember, pasta expands as it cooks!
- Add some salt to the water. Adding salt increases the boiling point of the water, meaning that the water will boil faster and also helps the pasta cook a little bit faster too! I usually add about a tablespoon of salt.
- Test the pasta. Even though there are recommended cooking times for each type of pasta, the only fool-proof method I have found to make sure pasta is done perfectly is to taste test it! About a minute before the recommended cooing time, I use a slotted spoon to get a noodle out of the pot. Rinse with cold water to avoid burning your tongue! If it is still a little crunchy, let it boil another minute or two before testing again.
- Drain the pasta well and rinse with cold water immediately. The cold water will prevent the pasta from continuing to cook and will also prevent the noodles from sticking together.
Check out these other great pasta salad recipes!
- Pizza Pasta Salad
- Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad
- Fiesta Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad
- Martha’s One Pan Pasta
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken
- Mexican Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- Summertime Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing
- Pasta Caprese
- Easy Zucchini Pasta
- Chicken Pasta Salad
- Fresh From the Garden Pasta Salad
Summer Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing is an incredible combination of flavors and is great on a warm day. Serve this chilled pasta salad all summer long for a tasty dish the whole family will love!