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Creamy Pasta Salad with Chorizo (+ Non-Creamy Style!)

One serving of creamy pasta salad on a wooden plate with bread.

 

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This cold pasta salad can be made either creamy or non-creamy and it is the perfect picnic or lunch idea for Summer! Bring some good bread and butter, a big bowl of (non-) creamy pasta salad with chorizo and you’ve got yourself a tasty treat.

 

I always make this for the Summer months, I love to bring a batch to the beach (in a cooler) or out on a picnic in the garden. It is so simple to make, really versatile and can easily feed a crowd! This is also very often served at parties, potlucks and bbqs for both adults and kids.

 

For a healthier and lighter pasta salad recipe, I can recommend this tomato and zucchini pasta salad with a lemon vinaigrette. But don’t rule this one out, because it has the very best pasta salad dressing.

 

Creamy pasta salad in a white serving bowl, flatlay.

 

The Best Pasta Salad Dressing

 

I do prefer this pasta salad with the creamy dressing, as you know I love my mayo. However, I know a lot of people don’t like the creamy mayoness (see what I did there?) and so I provide a super easy non-creamy version too, which is great as a dairy free option as well.

 

Hands holding a big serving bowl with creamy pasta salad.

 

For the creamy pasta salad dressing: Finely chop pickled cucumber and mix with all the other dressing ingredients. Taste and season accordingly.

 

For the non-creamy, sun-dried oil dressing: Shake the ingredients together in a jar with a lid. In photo numbered (1) in the collage, you can see how this dressing looks.

 

Big white bowl with pasta salad.

 

You can play around with the flavors you like best, but I really love the sweet and tangy mayo dressing, the pickles add such a nice briney touch!

 

How do you get the mayo dressing to stick to the pasta? Choosing the right pasta shape

 

To get the dressing to stick to the pasta salad, you need to choose the right kind of pasta or macaroni. Preferably you should have a ridged pasta, so that the dressing will stick in between the ridges. Choosing a hollow pasta is a great alternative, as the sauce gets trapped inside the pasta.

 

  • Fusilli: the corkscrew shape makes them perfect for holding onto sauces and dressings.
  • Penne: the tube shape makes them perfect for filling with sauce and the ridges on the outside holds the sauce well too.
  • Rigatoni: similar to the penne, and works great for the same reasons.
  • Strozzapreti: the ‘rolled towel’-shape also has nooks and crannies for sauces.
  • Macaroni: the sauce can get trapped inside the hollow shape, choose ridged macaroni for maximum sauciness.

 

I usually go for penne or fusilli for this recipe.

 

Creamy pasta salad in a white bowl, garnished with parsley.

 

Should I rinse pasta for a cold pasta salad?

 

Yes. If you don’t rinse the pasta, the extra starch will lump all your pasta together making one big chunk of pasta. Simply rinse the pasta in cold water, in a colander. As this is a cold pasta salad, it doesn’t matter that the pasta gets completely cold.

 

How long will it last properly stored?

 

Store this cold pasta salad in an airtight container, in the fridge for about 3-4 days. This is a dish that is great for make-ahead lunches!

 

Pasta salad in a big white bowl, blue background.

 

How to make creamy pasta salad from scratch

 

Mix the ingredients for the dressing together, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box, and rinse in cold water in a colander after. Chop all the ingredients to desired size and place in a large bowl along with the dressing and rinsed cold pasta!

 

If there’s any vegetable or meat you don’t like, just leave it out. You can omit anything and replace it with anything, it is just that versatile! In the recipe card below I share with you my personal favorite combination, making it into a Spanish style pasta salad.

 

Steps to make pasta salad.

 

It is delicious with bread and butter or why don’t you try these cheese and bacon dinner rolls!

 

Did you like this recipe? Here’s more Summer picnic recipes:

 

 

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One serving of creamy pasta salad on a wooden plate.


One serving of creamy pasta salad on a wooden plate with bread.

Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe with Chorizo

Yield: 10 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This cold pasta salad can be made either creamy or non-creamy and it is the perfect idea for Summer! Easy to serve a crowd for bbqs, potlucks or picnics.

Ingredients

Creamy Pasta Dressing

  • 2/3 cup sour cream, 150ml
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise, homemade* or store-bought
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped pickles, about 60g / 2 oz
  • 2 tbsp pickle brine, the liquid from the pickle jar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley, or 1 tsp fresh, optional

Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • 12 oz pasta, 350g, fusilli or penne
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded or cubed cooked ham, 180g
  • 1 cup chopped chorizo, 100g
  • 3/4 cup cubed cheese, 100g, like Swiss or Jarlsberg
  • 3/4 cup drained, canned corn, 140g
  • 1/3 cup drained, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, reserve the oil if making oily dressing**
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups arugula, optional***

Instructions

  1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing together, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly, (see notes* if you want to make sun-dried oil dressing instead of creamy). Cook pasta according to instructions on the box, and then rinse in cold water in a colander.
  2. Chop all the ingredients to desired size and place in a large bowl along with the dressing and rinsed, cold pasta. Great with a slice of bread with butter.
  3. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Notes

* Recipe for homemade mayonnaise

** Sun-Dried Oil Dressing: 1/4 cup oil from sun-dried tomato jar, 2 tbsp white vinegar, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried parsley (optional), 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Shake to combine. This is just a little dressing, as I think oily dressings can feel greasy when over-done. Make another batch after if you think it's too little. Better to start with too little than too much!

*** I think arugula works better with the sun-dried oil dressing than the creamy dressing, but it still works with both! Other ingredients that also are delicious in this pasta salad are green olives, avocado and cherry tomatoes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 14.5gSaturated Fat: 6.1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 933mgCarbohydrates: 11.2gFiber: 1.4gProtein: 15.7g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!

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