Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad

I swear it’s lighter don’t look at me like that!

Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad / Bev Cooks

On top of that, it’s meeeega retro. Which come on, is the only true way to approach a classic pasta salad.

Because to me, there are a few necessary components to a pasta salad that makes it even worth anything at all.

Let’s discuss.

Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad / Bev Cooks

Well, BACON. Obviously. Chopped-up bacon chunks in a pasta salad makes the world go ’round. Don’t argue with me.

Creamy textures! There’s nothing like a cold shell that’s coated in a luscious, silky blanket of bliss traveling down your throat at a cruising party boat speed. But instead of full-on mayo, I swapped in half Greek yogurt for HAYELTH. And of course that subtle tang that makes you oh so weepy.

CRUNCH. You must have crunch, and this is no debate. Preferably with onion essence! (We should start a band called Onion Essence. We’re terrible.) Red onion + finely diced carrot = all the yes.

Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad / Bev Cooks

Citrus and peas!

Those thawed peas that pop in your mouth with their unmistakable chalky sweetness, all swirled in with the acidity and brightness of lemon zest and juice? GIRL. Guy. You. Yes.

Cook the pasta, run it under cold water, mix it all together, let it chill some more. The end forever.

Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad / Bev Cooks

T H A T.  ^^

Oh oh! Give it a healthy pinch of salt. Just to taste. Whatever your buds dig, you know.

It is sooooooo good. Insanely summer. Perfect for a neighborhood pot luck. Divine for quick lunches throughout the week.

Oh you know what! I totally didn’t add cheese, but I bet if you found a hard, salty cheese and cut it into teensy, tiny chunks and toss it in, that would be sooo pimp. Do that.

Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad / Bev Cooks

That is, unless your husband is an alien who hates cheese, then leave it out. And cry forever.

But first, make this pasta salad!

Not only does it have a complexity with the BACON and pea marriage, but that lemon juice SPRINGS THAT MUTHUH into straight-up party mode. Ridiculous. So good.

You need it.

Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad / Bev Cooks

Right now and today and now.

Creamy, But Lighter Pasta Salad
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  • 2 cups medium pasta shells
  • 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped into small pieces
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Boil the pasta until al dente, then drain under cold water. Rinse until the pasta has cooled.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta with the remaining ingredients, and toss until coated and fully mixed together. Season generously with a pinch of salt (to taste), and give another toss. Garnish with parsley leaves. Cover and let the pasta salad chill for about an hour. Then devour!
  3. Serves 4.

Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad / Bev Cooks

Summer in ya face.

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19 Responses to Lighter, Creamy Pasta Salad

  1. Dana July 17, 2018 at 8:04 am #
    This is my childhood fav! Add some tuna, and I’d be all set. Ya know what I’d love to see? A compilation of all “our” band names. They are so legendary.
  2. Toni July 17, 2018 at 4:39 pm #
    I hate peas
  3. Turner July 18, 2018 at 2:30 am #
    Totally making this, with the cheese add-on! Yum.
  4. Alison Mirra July 18, 2018 at 7:04 am #
    You had me at pasta!!
  5. Colleen July 19, 2018 at 7:23 pm #
    I made this today with fresh peas from our garden. Its delicious and so easy to make. I may double the receipe to have extra for quick meals or snacks. Could be my new, take to potluck, summer salad Thank you!
  6. Pat July 19, 2018 at 9:47 pm #
    Looks delicious and yes, very retro!? I'm making this for the weekend!
  7. Kathleen Lane July 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm #
    Oh my. Just made this but didn't have all ingredients. Didn't have peas so used edamame, Didn't have carrots so used a combo of small sweet peppers and some already chopped salad, chopped smaller (had some carrots in it). Then didn't have Greek yogurt so used a tiny bit of blue cheese dressing. Man - so yummy. You can use fridge stuff - not my specialty but made me feel creative and special today. Thanks for this go to!!!
  8. clipboard windows September 1, 2018 at 1:37 am #
    Looking so yummy and i can't wait to taste this amazing food.
  9. Rachel @ Queen Of Constance April 22, 2019 at 1:36 am #
    the first time I made this dish my family went crazy over it. I put in some cherry tomatoes and that made the dish colorful and tasty. Thanks for This dish is quick and easy to make and once you make it you can pretty much memorize it for the next time. thanks sharing the recipe!
  10. Scott August 9, 2019 at 3:40 am #
    I’m going on a trip around Northern Europe in October (The most northern I’m going is Norway – not quite Sweden but pretty close! ? ) so I’ll get a sample of your autumn weather soon! I hope your clients find my recipe useful (and yummy!)WiFi
  11. Harry August 15, 2019 at 11:00 am #
    Hello, Hello, What wonderful memories and pictures for your family! Growing up my grandparents had a place on Crystal Lake and then Lake Michigan, both in northern Michigan. I loved running the dunes along Lake Michigan! We have a cabin in Twin Lakes, Colorado and the cold, clear water reminds me of northern Michigan, although it is actually colder (48 degrees on Memorial Day) so we do more wading than swimming. We like to drive the boat to deserted beaches and enjoy picnics and playing in the sand. The cold water scares most boaters away (and the lake is surrounded by national forest, so no houses directly on the lake), so often we are the only ones out there! There are some warmer reservoirs in southern Colorado that are better for swimming and not quite. Craft Beer Sacramento
  12. Shiza August 17, 2019 at 12:38 pm #
    These were a big hit last night! Especially with the kids…but a few of the adults were super stoked about them too;) The only negative thing that happened was when I had the treats displayed on the table for several hours. Cannabis Crop Insurance
  13. lisa August 29, 2019 at 11:14 am #
    These were a big hit last night! Especially with the kids…but a few of the adults were super stoked about them too;) The only negative thing that happened was when I had the treats displayed on the table for several hours. yoga shorts hawaii
  14. lisa September 1, 2019 at 9:23 am #
    Ahhh this list is great! Like everyone this year I listened to Serial … and I tried to tune in to Radio Cherry Bombe! I need to remember to podcast it up WAYYY more when I’m in the kitchen. DUH, me!! Happy new year, sweet friend! XO.jeftine avio karte
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  16. tuky September 24, 2019 at 12:07 pm #
    These were a big hit last night! Especially with the kids…but a few of the adults were super stoked about them too;) The only negative thing that happened was when I had the treats displayed on the table for several hours.fussball wetten
  17. Janette May 15, 2020 at 5:55 pm #
    Coming back to this recipe for some quarantine comfort food. :) Love your version!
  18. Tammy Johnson December 24, 2021 at 4:30 am #
    Nice Savory recipe! I made this last night by taking instruction from your article. My children said it was one of the best creamy pasta salads I’ve ever made for them. Thanks!

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