Creamy Pasta Salad with Bell Peppers and Grapes

by Shawnda on June 19, 2007

in Salads,Sides

Pasta Salad

Me: So what do you need me to bring for Father’s Day Dinner?

Mom: Whatever you want.

Me: Cool! I’ll bring dark chocolate brownies and a pasta salad.

Pasta salad? Did I really just say that?

I have never been a big fan of pasta salad – or “macaroni salad,” as it’s known in this part of the state. When I think of macaroni salad, I think of macaroni noodles swimming in a vat of luke warm mayo. Real appealing, huh? I blame the old ladies at our church and their countless dinner-on-the-grounds growing up. Room temperature mayo is not good, not good at all.

But apparently, I’ve been harboring some secret craving for pasta salad – how else does something like that just happen? So I found a recipe that sounded really tasty (anything that incorporates fruit into a savory dish always scores points with me) and did my best to mostly de-mayo it. Don’t get me wrong – mayo is my condiment of choice, right after Tobasco. But the idea of eating it by the spoonful… blech.

I incorporated as much fresh produce as I could into the salad – the red and orange bell peppers gave the salad a nice crunch and the grapes lent a refreshing sweetness to the dish that complimented the tart dressing. The contrasting textures seemed to delight even the picky eaters!

Pasta Salad Pasta Salad

This was the first time I’ve ever used dill. Apparently there’s more to the herb than just sour pickles! Who knew? The delicate flavor of the dill weed added an extra oomph to the dressing – I almost didn’t buy it but I wanted to try out something new for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Astrid at Paulchen’s Food Blog.

Creamy Pasta Salad with Grapes

A creamy pasta salad loaded with crispy peppers and sweet grapes.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp creole mustard
  • 3/4 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar, (optional, to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 12 oz farfalle, cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked, cooled and cubed
  • 2 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. Whisk together mayo, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, dill, garlic and sugar (if using) in a small bowl.
  2. Taste for seasoning and sweetness and adjust sugar, salt, and pepper if necessary.
  3. In a large bowl, assemble the remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss well.
  5. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Source: Unknown

Estimated time: 20 minutes

For more summer cook-out ideas:
Chicken Quesadillas on the Grill
Dad’s Baked Beans
Rosemary Coleslaw
Peach Salsa
Black & White Salsa

And most importantly, for dessert:
Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
Pecan Pie

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katerina June 19, 2007 at 10:21 am

Couldn’t agree with you more, pasta salad can be so dull and, well, gross! This looks nice though, refreshing and lighter then the usual.

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2 Cheryl June 19, 2007 at 10:26 am

I love the grapes in your pasta salad. That must give it such a nice slightly sweet flavor.

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3 Deborah June 19, 2007 at 3:35 pm

This reminds me of my favorite pasta salad that has grapes in it. I had never had grapes in a pasta salad before, but it has quickly turned into my favorite pasta salad because of the grapes!!

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4 Kalyn June 19, 2007 at 6:08 pm

I think this looks very good. I’m actually quite a pasta salad fan, but I agree, too much mayo is not good. I had a salad like this once on a river trip of all places, it had chicken, grapes, and cashews, which were a good addition.

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5 sra June 19, 2007 at 11:12 pm

Like the touch of grapes in the salad!

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6 Cynthia June 20, 2007 at 7:23 am

Okay, with this post, you’ve convinced me to give the pasta salad another try, this time, I’ll make it myself. Thanks for the recipe.

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7 Delilah (mrssisler) June 20, 2007 at 8:28 pm

This looks great! I like the bowtie pasta.

& I am tagging you!
http://delilahscorner.blogspot.com/

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8 canarygirl June 21, 2007 at 12:46 am

Oooooh, that looks simply delicious! Perfect for the many cook-outs of summer ahead of us! :)

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9 Katiez June 22, 2007 at 1:38 pm

I love pasta salads but rarely make them with mayo and more. I think I’ll switch back and give this a try – sounds great!
FYI: Mayo is always made fresh in Spain, and can sit on the table for hours. I was told once that more people die of bad mayo in summer than car accidents… If you’ve ever driven in Spain that would really scare you…

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10 astrid June 24, 2007 at 6:32 am

I definitely have to try this. We like pasta salad very much.
Thanks for joining in!

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11 John June 25, 2007 at 2:58 am

Pasta salad is very popular at the restaurant. I use sultanas aswell as a little curry in the mayo, once again it chnges the flavour all together. great entry

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12 Helene June 25, 2007 at 3:39 am

I love pasta and salads, it´s a must try with me. Thanks for sharing!! :)

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13 elf June 27, 2007 at 8:06 am

I can definitely relate to your feelings about pasta salad. My DH made a really good one once, though, which changed my outlook. It involved mixing a generous amount of honey in with the mayo and adding sliced black olives and finely chopped red bell pepper (I think some of the juice from the pepper ended up flavoring the sauce.) There may have been some fresh lemon juice, too. I asked DH recently whether he remembered how he made it, but all he seems to recall is mixing stuff together until it tasted good.

Your pasta salad looks tasty, too. I like the idea of combining sour cream with the mayo.

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