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Jun 26, 2007 09:36 PM

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.