Thursday, April 22, 2010

Salmon Pasta Salad

Spring. The season of "firsts". The first time you hear a robin. The first time you have a beer on the deck. The first time you see a flower. The first time you have pasta salad.

Or maybe that's just me.

I love cold pasta. I don't know if it is a Midwest thing, or if all sectors of the U.S. partake in this particular way to eat pasta. Either way, it is part of my heritage!

Growing up pasta salad was always "swimming" in a thin mayonnaise-y sauce. Mostly pasta and sauce with very few extras. Over the years I have tweaked it to my particular liking, almost eliminating the mayonnaise and adding more elements.

Below you find my basic recipe. Feel free to add, delete and change anything you see fit.

And have it with that first beer on the deck!

Salmon Pasta Salad

2 cups whole-wheat rotini or macaroni (6 ounces)
1/3 cup mixture of mayonnaise and low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup yellow or red bell pepper, large dice
2 cups cucumber, large dice
1 cup grated carrots (2-4 carrots)
1/2 cup chopped scallions (4 scallions)
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 can Alaskan salmon, rinsed and flaked

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 6 minutes, or according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, dice the pepper and place in the colander. Drain the pasta, pouring it and the hot water over the bell pepper. Run both under cold water.

Whisk the mayonnaise, yogurt, and vinegar (or lemon juice), garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add the pasta and bell pepper and toss to coat. Add tomatoes, carrots, scallions, basil, feta cheese and salmon; toss to coat well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each


  1. Loved this salad. Made it without the salmon a couple of nights ago to go with our burgers. Perfect for a warm spring night.