Pasta Salads for Spring & Summer Meals

Pasta Salads for Spring & Summer Meals
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tuna pasta saladI love pasta salads because they are easy to make and serve, but also because I can alternate the ingredients to change the salad. If I don't have celery, I can add chopped green pepper or radishes. Hard boiled eggs can be left out or in and it still turns out great. Green onion, chives and red onion can be used when a recipe calls for onion. Each tastes great in pasta salads. The light dressings and mayonnaise products have improved so much over the years, that I don't use full fat any longer. No one even notices and it makes the salad healthier. When a recipe calls for cheese you can add a lowfat cheese because it's a cold salad, and it works just fine. As far as the meat or seafood in these salads, it can easily be changed to diced ham, turkey, chicken. I also like using salmon instead of tuna too. For a zippy addition to the dressings you can add horseradish, cayenne pepper or a seasoned pepper.
Tuna Macaroni Salad (pictured)

3 cups uncooked macaroni
2 cans light tuna in water, drained
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Cook macaroni, drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl. Add the drained tuna, celery and onion. Toss gently to mix. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, juice and seasonings. Add to the macaroni mixture and toss with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Chill and serve.

Tuna Ranch Macaroni Salad

1 pound package of elbow macaroni
2 cans tuna in water, drained
3 stalks of celery chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 8 ounce package shredded cheddar cheese (lowfat is okay)
1 16 ounce bottle of light ranch dressing

Cook macaroni according to directions, rinse and cool. Mix in the tuna, celery, onion, and cheese. Add the dressing and stir gently to mix.

Seafood Pasta Salad

1/2 pound medium or small pasta shells
1 cup salad shrimp, precooked type
1 cup chopped crabmeat, fake is okay
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, diced
1 8 ounce bottle Italian dressing (light or fat free)
Optional: chopped olives

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and chill. Add the chilled pasta to a large bowl and mix well with salad dressing. Add the shrimp, crab, celery, onions, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Chill again until ready to serve. Just before serving add the eggs and cheese; mix again.

Spicy Macaroni Salad

1 pound elbow macaroni
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2-1/2 tablespoons wine, herb or cider vinegar
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black or red pepper

Cook pasta according to pkg. directions, rinse in cold water and drain. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add cooled pasta and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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