This classic pasta salad recipe is creamy, crunchy, slightly sweet, and totally Southern. Make it ahead for easy entertaining. It’s a tried and true summer side dish recipe making it great for backyard cookouts, bbq’s, and potluck parties.
Southern pasta salad
One of my favorite pot luck side dishes is pasta salad. I got this recipe from a friend about 15 years ago after she served it at a backyard cookout, and I’ve been making it ever since! I love the creaminess, the crunch, and the perfect balance of flavors, and I think you will too.
This is the perfect side dish for casual entertaining or weeknight meals with the family. As with most salads of this nature, it tastes better if it’s allowed to sit for several hours or overnight, so try to plan ahead if you can.
I would certainly consider this a true Southern side dish with the addition of pickle relish, but the shredded cabbage is an unexpected touch that adds texture and bite.
How to make it
This side dish is easy to prepare, but you want to make it early enough so the flavors have time to combine. This makes it a good recipe for make-ahead party prep.
What you’ll need:
- box of pasta – elbow macaroni, penne, or rigatoni are good choices; use whole wheat for nutritional boost
- 5 hard boiled eggs
- medium onion – you only need half to dice
- green pepper – you’ll need half to dice
- 4 stalks celery – cut off the leafy ends and use some to garnish the top of the salad
- shredded cabbage – just use pre-bagged slaw mix
- sweet pickle relish – this is one of the keys to making it “southern”
- celery seeds
- black pepper
PRO TIP: Did you know you can buy hard boiled eggs at the grocery store? Save time and effort by purchasing hard boiled eggs that are already peeled and ready to use.
- yellow mustard
- Cook the pasta according to box directions, to al dente. Drain it and rinse if you like.
- Mix the dressing ingredients separately and pour over pasta salad ingredients.
- Combine well and cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.
More pasta salad recipes
Want more recipes to round out your menu? Try these.
- Easy pesto pasta salad
- Asian-style pasta salad with broccoli and peanuts
- Thai noodles with shrimp
- Asian-style peanut noodle salad
- 12 ounces of pasta – elbow macaroni works well, as does petite penne, or rigatoni
- 5 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
- black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 Tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Cook pasta al dente (according to directions on box) and rinse and drain.
- Add pasta and all salad ingredients to a large bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, mix together dressing ingredients and pour over pasta salad. Combine well and cover.
- Place in refrigerator and let chill for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.