A great make-ahead entry this Southern Style Pasta Salad R
Next time try this Pasta Salad Recipe - it's filled with fresh vegetables and cheese.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad is the perfect summer salad! With perfectly cooked pasta, chunks of ham and feta cheese with crunchy fresh vegetables all topped off with a creamy southern style salad dressing - YUM!!
I love this salad because...
- It uses everyday ingredients (in fact you may even have everything you need!)
- It's quick and easy to make.
- Uses up leftovers - always a bonus, right?
- And ... that same family that loved your holiday ham is going to gobble up pasta salad with ham!
It's the perfect pasta salad and one of my favorite recipes as a side salad and even a main dish for a light lunch! It's yummy!
For the exact measurements for the Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- ham -
greatsource of protein, ham adds salt and deliciousness! Use leftover ham or a ham steak.
- feta cheese - speaking of salty and delicious, crumbly feta cheese is this perfect addition to this salad. In a pinch, you can always substitute cheddar cheese. Hey... anything that saves you a trip to the grocery store, right!
- pasta - cooked to al dente, seashell pasta has plenty of nooks and crannies to hold the creamy dressing! You can use any small shells pasta shape in this recipe.
- red bell pepper or if you'd prefer green pepper, either works!
- green onions - adds light oniony crunch
- broccoli, celery
andcarrots - add a bright fresh crunch
- red onion - are sweeter and have a less pungent flavor.
This is an overview of the instructions for this classic macaroni salad recipe. For the complete directions for this Easy Ham Pasta Salad just scroll down to the bottom!
- Cook pasta, drain pasta well, rinse with cold water, drain again and allow it to cool completely.
- Dice ham into half inch cubes.
- Clean and dice the vegetables. Dicing the veg into small pieces will allow you to get a scoop of everything when you grab a big forkful!
- Make the dressing by combining mayonnaise and vinegar. Mix until creamy and add to the salad bowl.
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- I have a metal strainer, but my mom has one like this and I'm sure she's had it for at least 20 years. Talk about value!
For a delicious pasta salad, small pasta or shells are a great choice. Think elbow macaroni, shells, rotini pasta too. These varieties have plenty of nooks and crannies to hold the salad dressing.
Yes, when you're making a cold pasta salad, rinse the pasta in cold water. It stops the cooking process and allows it to cool quickly.
No, it will absorb twice as much salad dressing and be overdressed and heavy. Wait untilll the pasta is completely cooled before adding the dressing.
Cold pasta salads generally need more seasoning. So season every step of the way. Starting with boiling the pasta in seasoned water. When you build the salad, taste to make sure it's properly seasoned.
Tips to make pasta salad - cook the pasta ahead of time and allow it to cool completely.
Why? Because if you try and dress the salad when the pasta is hot it will soak up the dressing and you'll end up using twice as much! Cook the pasta the day before. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.Deb Clark
Though you normally do not rinse pasta, when you're making a salad make sure you do. Rinse pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Any small shell pasta can be used for this recipe.
You can really put any combination of fresh vegetables into this salad.
- green onions
- black olives
- purple onions
- fresh mushrooms
- I used a green bell pepper, but switch it out for yellow or red bell pepper for sweetness.
- fresh herbs are great as well - fresh parsley, fresh dill or basil add a bright flavor that's just so good! A small handful is just the right amount of herbs.
- fresh lemon juice will bright the flavors as well.
- If you would prefer something other than a mayonnaise-based salad dressing, used bottled Italian Dressing instead. Ranch dressing is another good substitution.
Even a spoonful of pickle relish can help jazz up this easy pasta salad.
Store leftover pasta salad in an airtight container, refrigerated up to three days.
I have a ton of great salads and delicious pasta salad recipes on the blog, here are some of my favorites!
- Mom's recipes for Deviled Egg Potato Salad - perfect for picnics and bbq's. You'll want to make a large bowl, this classic recipe is a family favorite!
- We love this cream Pea Pasta Salad!
- Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad - filled with crunchy vegetables, this mayo free version is perfect for a cookout, on of our favorites pasta salads!
- A BLT Pasta Salad is crispy, creamy and delicious and did I mention... bacon? YUM!! You'll love this tasty recipe.
- Another mayo free salad recipe this Asparagus Salad Recipe is filled of of asparagus and tons of flavor topped off with a lemon vinaigrette.
- We love this Kale and Quinoa Greek Salad - it takes minutes to make and is filled with all your favorite flavors.
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad - this one is great dish! I make it for most all holidays, it's really a great side dish.
If you still have leftover ham, make this amazing ham and potato casserole. This delicious recipe is so fabulous and can be a side dish or main dish - super yummy!
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Ham Pasta Salad
- 1 16 oz. pasta cooked according to package directions, drained and chilled
- 1-2 cups ham ½ inch dice
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
- ½ green bell pepper diced
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- ½ red onion diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1 cup broccoli diced
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- Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Place in a large bowl.
- Add the olive oil and seasoning salt to the pasta. Toss well and refrigerate. Allow it to cool completely.
- Dice the bell pepper, celery, broccoli and red onion. Peel and dice the carrot. Slice the green onions. Mix the vegetables into the pasta.
- Dice the ham, crumble the feta cheese. Add to pasta also.
- In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and vinegar together and toss everything with the pasta and vegetables. Mix well to combine.
- Serve chilled - refrigerate leftovers. This will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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💭 Recipe backstory
Living in California and specifically the Central Valley sometimes skews your weather outlook. We've been barbecuing and enjoy easy summer foods for some time now.
Now as we're approaching Mother's Day I'm thinking about beautiful buffets filled with piles of delicious food closely followed by Memorial Day full of grilling fun! Have you been planning your menu yet?
We were just talking with Dan's Mom yesterday. Dan suggested a home cooked meal for Mother's Day and Lawanda thought that was a great idea,
I'll be making her Mom's Meatloaf Recipe, a delicious
I was teasing her when we had her on the phone last night. I told her since we'd be feasting on her favorite meatloaf recipe she probably wouldn't be hungry enough for dessert right?
She cackled so loud and said no dessert are you crazy? That's the best part!
My mom-in-law definitely has a sweet tooth!
So as I mentioned I'm going to put this together, it's one of our favorite pasta salads! I try and sneak some extra veggies in whenever I have the opportunity to cook for her and that's why this salad came to mind.