Pasta Salad Recipe with Yogurt Dressing

rotini salad

Pasta salads are excellent take-along dishes that can be prepared ahead of time.  Popular in all seasons, pasta salads are a healthy, filling, and delicious addition to a potluck or buffet-style meal.  By choosing whole grain pasta, and adding lots of crisp vegetables you can add fiber and vitamins A, B, and C.  Mayonnaise has traditionally been used as a creamy dressing for pasta salad recipes, but it can be high in fat and cholesterol.  By using a low-fat homemade yogurt for most of the mayonnaise you can cut your fat content in half. Yogurt dressings are also a much better source of calcium than mayonnaise.  Pasta salads are quick to prepare – plan on spending about half an hour to prepare this creamy Pasta Salad with Yogurt Dressing.


1 pound of whole wheat rotini (corkscrew) pasta

2 1/4 cups thinly sliced carrots

2 cups small broccoli florets

2 cups red, yellow, orange, or green bell peppers, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery

1 cup finely chopped red onion

Ingredients for Yogurt Dressing:

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley OR basil

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp curry powder (optional)


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water but DO NOT use salt.  After about 7 minutes, when the pasta is still firm, add carrots and broccoli to the pasta pot.  Let it cook for another 3 minutes, then drain the pot.  Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking immediately, and drain all the water out again.

In a large mixing bowl, measure in the peppers, sliced celery and onion.  Add the pasta mixture and toss gently.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice and dill.  Pour half of the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss well.  Cover the salad and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  Pour the remaining salad dressing into a glass container and store it separately in the fridge.  Serve the salad with the dressing on the side.  Garnish with freshly ground pepper and freshly grated parmesan or assagio cheese if desired.

To make this a hearty pasta salad recipe, add thinly sliced grilled or cooked chicken.  Serve with whole grain bread and serve fresh fruit and frozen yogurt for dessert.

This recipe makes 6 servings.  There are 415 calories per serving, with 73 grams of carbs, 15 grams of protein 188 mgs of sodium, and 8 grams of fat.