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Looking for pasta salad recipes without mayo

Im love pasta salad, but hate mayo. Ive been getting pretty sick of the usuals so any recs?

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  1. I'm having a hard time imagining pasta salad WITH mayo -- unless you mean tuna-pasta salad, which is just a cheap and cheerful way to stretch tuna salad to feed more people.

    Boiled rotini pasta (soft, not al dente), sweet onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, olive slices tomatoes "en concasse" (no seeds and no skin), tiny squares of hard salami, maybe a bit of mozzarella cheese in cubes, etc. Mix with mustard vinaigrette or, if you're really pressed for time, bottled "Italian" dressing -- it has a LOT of sugar in it, be aware.

    Whole-wheat pasta works great here because the challenge of WW is keeping it al dente without being crunchy or slimy, but in pasta salad you want it soft rather than al dente, and the toothsomeness of WW pasta works well.

    1. Instead of using mayo in a dressing, you might want to try any variety of vinaigrette. There are also a ton of Asian-style dressings that would be great on egg noodles, rice noodles (any kind), or glass noodles. These dressings usually involve shoyu, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, or miso and go great with julienned veggies.

      Hope this helps...

      1. I make an orzo salad with olive oil and lemon juice as the dressing. Most bottled salad dressings have unnecessary sugar or HFCS, so oil and lemon it is, often with a little crushed red pepper shaken with the dressing in advance of tossing with the pasta.

        Most commonly, it's a "greek" pasta salad, with artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, feta, roasted red pepper strips, kalamatas, some toasted walnuts, halved grape tomatoes, and whatever else I think seems good at the time.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cheesemonger

          I agree with cheesemonger on the orzo salad...really good! Here's one you might try, very popular from Epicurious, Orzo with Everything. Great flavors...and do use crumbled feta instead of the parmesan, much better, in my opinion (I also toasted the orzo before cooking it, gives it a somewhat nutty flavor):


          1. re: cheesemonger

            I do something similar with orzo, olive oil, and lemon juice with my add-ins of choice being halved, seeded, and sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, scallions, and feta.

          2. I do a classic Italian pasta salad with rotini trio (plain, tomato and spinach noodles). I don't know actual proportions off the top of my head.

            Add chopped green pepper, red onion, tomato, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated baby mushrooms, pepperoni or salami, and a touch of grated parmesan or romano cheese. Mix in a red wine vinagrette. (red wine vinegar, light olive oil, herbs and spices, s&p). Marinate overnight in the fridge. Serve chilled.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lisaf

              This is pretty close to what I do, but w/o shrooms, and I never thought to use artichoke hearts - thanks for that tip. I also add cubed swiss or provo.

              I actually prefer this to anything mayonaisy.

            2. actually, I don't make any pasta salads with mayo - I always use some type of vinegarette or even the marinade from artichokes. I recently have been adding pasta with some couscous or tabouli and then loads of vegies (whatever I have on hand to compliment and add color and crunch). A cheese in nice too.

              1. I do a pasta salad with whatever pasta I happen to have, crumbled feta, red onion or sweet onion- again, whatever you have...add in sliced or chopped grilled chicken breasts, and whatever veggies you like....I've done roasted summer squash slices, zucchini...whatever, and then for the dressing, I make a white balsamic dressing. Terribly easy...just white balsamic, olive oil, s & p - - done.

                1. My fave is pasta w/ olive oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, julienned sundried tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, chifonnaded basil, shredded parmesan, salt and white pepper. Gets better with age.

                  1. I like to dress summer salads with pesto, although I sometimes add mayo or yogurt to the sauce to make it creamy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: coll

                      ditto to pesto! I also make pasta salad with spiral pasta, lemon vinaigrette, Kalamata olives, bell pepper or red pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

                    2. almost all that I make are without mayo too!
                      love tortellini salad
                      orzo with everything, giada's orzo
                      greek pasta salad
                      even make a nice tuna pasta- really good & no mayo, and it's not just made to stretch the tuna (nor just cheap if good tuna is used), got rave reviews at a party!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pamd

                        Like Pam said, Giada's orzo salad is amazing. I make it all the time:


                      2. One of my hands down favs is the orzo with everything salad from epicurious.

                        1. I've only ever had one pasta salad with mayo in it ... and we'll end the discussion there :)
                          I always toss the hot pasta with olive oil. And then assemble a vinagrette based on the ingredients. Pasta, broccoli, spinach, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and some tangy cheese always gets a rather traditional red wine vinaigrette (sans the mustard). Pasta, garbanzo beans, onions, and peppers gets an orange-citrusy dressing. Pasta, black beans, habaneros, cilantro, spinach, tomatoes, and corn gets a cumin spiked vinaigrette. Pasta, roasted garlic, tomatoes, spinach, and feta gets a balsalmic-based vinaigrette. And any other combos I kinda make up as I go along, much depends on what's in the pantry. I've used a peanut dressing, miso, pesto, flavored vinegars, and a really tasty orange-cumin-cilantro-habenero-garlic combo I found a recpe for somewhere.

                          1. also, some of your hot pasta recipes could do well as a salad if you let them cool. this risotto made with farro is great cold: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10895
                            or, you could even dress others up with some more veggies. try a pesto: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10397 with some tomatoes and blanched broccoli florets added in.

                            1. A great book to buy is "While the Pasta Cooks" by Andrew Schloss. It contains over 100 recipes that you can literally prepare in the time it takes the pasta to cook. One of my favorite pasta salads w/out mayo is the Tuna Nicoise. Quick, simple, and very tasty!!!

                              1. Orzo is very refreshing salad and I make this one often and sometimes change the ingrediets.
                                the one I love is Orzo with dried cherries and balsamic/olive oil and veggie salad.
                                Red onion
                                grape tomatoes
                                Fresh basil or fresh parsley
                                garlic- a little
                                pinon or pepitas
                                asparagus/ broccoli any fresh summer veggie
                                dried cherries - Trader Joes

                                make orzo according to the package best al dente

                                the add the chopped veggies and herbs and then the balsamic and some olive oil. This is one of those recipes not measured. I love balsamic so I will have more of that than the olive oil
                                salt and pepper
                                This is a great salad for parties and can best be served room temperature

                                1. I also make a good pesto dressed pasta salad.
                                  Sun dried tomatoes, sliced red bell pepper, artichoke hearts, pine nuts

                                  1. We make this orzo salad alot:

                                    red onion
                                    red bell pepper
                                    feta cheese

                                    toss with a vinaigrette made from lime juice, honey, cumin, oregano, and a bit of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

                                    Also good with some shrimp or chicken tossed in as an entree.

                                    1. Most of my pasta/orzo salads rely on just olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper. Add in whatever veggies are lying around and some shredded chicken or canned beans and it's a pretty rounded meal.

                                      We had a tub of Rondele cheese (like Boursin) in the fridge from a party so I just tossed that into the warm pasta with some sliced spinach, basil, and chives and then used some leftover zucchini. It was creamy, but not overly so, like with mayo.

                                      1. i recently tried this pasta salad after picking up a bottle of citrus-infused olive oil and falling in love with it. It is sweet and balanced, colorful and healthy.

                                        1 green bell pepper
                                        1 orange bell pepper
                                        1 medium-sized Maui onion, chopped
                                        1 pkg. curly pasta of your choice
                                        2 T Vanilla and Fig Balsamic Vinegar
                                        1 cup Citrus Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                                        2 t Salish Smoked Sea Salt, finely ground
                                        1 pkg. Feta cheese
                                        1 pkg, pine nuts, raw, unsalted
                                        1 cup chopped olives, more torn then cut (I like to use half Mission Olives and half Tuscan Spiced Balsamic Olives)
                                        Fresh edible flowers (optional)

                                        here is a link to the recipe: http://www.temeculaoliveoil.com/shop/...

                                        1. You guys are scaring the hell out of me with all these crazy ingredients. THE classic Italian pasta salad is quite simple: seeded tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil. Another one has giardiniera and diced pecorino, salt, pepper, olive oil.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: mangiatore

                                            Just because you say it's classic doesn't make it the only pasta salad. Here in these United States, it's very common for cold vegetables to make their way into pasta salads.

                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                              That's nice. I never said anything about cold vegetables. However, it is true that pasta salads in the United States are often a complete disaster. Usually it's because there are about 800 ingredients, including mayo.

                                              1. re: mangiatore

                                                I'm as American as they get.
                                                I've never made nor eaten a pasta salad with mayo in it. Maybe I grew up in the wrong place?
                                                Doesn't matter what is "classic" or not. The only thing that matters is what tastes good to you. If people like 800 ingredients in their pasta salad, it doesn't make it less of a pasta salad than your version.

                                          2. Made an amazing pasta salad last week for our July 4 potluck. I used a pound of radiatore pasta, and threw a 6oz bag of spinach into the colander before draining the pasta, so the spinach cooked when the boiling pasta water passed throgh the colander.

                                            Then, I put the pasta and spinach in a big bowl, and stirred in about 2/3 cup of green olive tapenade, the juice of one very big, very juicy lemon, two tablespoons olive oil, 4oz crumbled feta, one diced medium red onion, and a few twists of cracked black pepper.

                                            Simple and delicious.

                                            1. Cooked cheese tortellini, halved grape tomatoes, chunked provolone (or mozz), torn fresh basil and artichoke hearts. Pepper and a tiny bit of salt.
                                              Toss with a vinaigrette (lemon works really well here, as does a shallot vin).