In the transition to the new website a few posts got lost, and this Creamy Garden Pasta salad in particular had a lot of fans. I’ve had so many people writing asking for the recipe that I just decided to make it again (I wanted to tweak the dressing and take better photos anyway).
So, if you’ve been missing this Creamy Garden Pasta Salad from a couple of years ago (you remember, the one with the wagon wheel pasta?), here it is!
For those who have never tried it, it’s loaded with fresh vegetables and has a light, creamy, ranch-esque dressing. It’s super fast to make and is perfect for summer BBQs (hello Fourth of July!).
Want some other pasta salad ideas for the 4th of July? How about these…
- Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad
- Cajun Pasta Salad
- Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Parsley Pesto Pasta
- Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
Anyway, back to business…
Creamy Garden Pasta Salad
Creamy Garden Pasta Salad
This Creamy Garden Pasta Salad is full of fresh vegetables and drenched in a light, tangy ranch-like dressing.
- 1 small yellow squash $0.48
- 1 small zucchini $0.67
- 1/2 medium red onion $0.46
- 2 large carrots $0.27
- 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley $0.21
- 1 medium broccoli crown $1.05
- 1 lb. pasta $1.77
- 1/2 cup buttermilk $0.27
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise $1.35
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.03
- 3/4 tsp salt $0.03
- generous dose freshly cracked pepper $0.05
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
Cut the squash and zucchini into thin quarter rounds. Thinly slice the red onion. Peel and then grate the carrots using a box grater or large holed cheese grater. Roughly chop the fresh parsley. Place all of these vegetables in a large bowl. You can also add the broccoli if you want it raw, or proceed with the steps below for blanched (lightly cooked) broccoli.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and let it continue to boil for 7-10 minutes, or until al dente. While the water is boiling, cut the broccoli crown into small pieces. Add the broccoli pieces to the boiling water with the pasta for the last 60 seconds of cooking. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to stop the broccoli from cooking and cool off the pasta. Let them drain really well.
While the pasta is cooking, make the creamy dressing by whisking together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, freshly cracked pepper, and lemon juice.
Once the pasta has cooled and is very well drained, add it to the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over top and stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
The only difference between this updated recipe and the original is the addition of 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to the dressing.
Step by Step Photos
These are the fresh vegetables that I used. I left them all fresh/uncooked except for the broccoli and that’s only because I don’t like the flavor of uncooked broccoli. I ended up blanching the broccoli in the pasta cooking water, but you can add it raw to the salad if you’d like.
Cut the yellow squash and zucchini into thin quarter-rounds. Thinly slice the red onion. Use a box grater or a large-holed cheese grater to grate the carrots and roughly chop the parsley. Place them all in a large bowl.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and then boil for 7-10 minutes, or until it is tender. While the pasta is boiling, cut the broccoli crown into small pieces. Add the broccoli pieces for the last 60 seconds of cooking the pasta. This will cook them just every so slightly and take that raw edge off. It also helps make the color a bright, vibrant green!
Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander. Give them a brief rinse with cool water so that the broccoli does not continue to cook from the residual heat. Also, you want to bring the temperature of the pasta down before adding it to the salad. Let them drain very, very, very well so that the water doesn’t make your dressing watery.
Either while the pasta is cooking or while it’s draining, you can prepare the dressing. It only takes a minute. Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, freshly cracked pepper, and lemon juice. I just happen to have the right amount of buttermilk ice cubes left in my freezer, so handy!