Loaded with peas, cubed cheese, red onions, and a creamy ranch dressing, Pea Pasta Salad is a quick and easy make-ahead side dish that's perfect for potlucks, parties, and picnics.
Why you'll love this recipe
This Pea Pasta Salad is always a huge hit at our house! Tender elbow macaroni, sweet green peas, spicy red onions, and cubed cheese tossed in a creamy ranch dressing- what is there not to love??
This is the best pasta salad with peas, aside from the Classic Pea Salad of course!
Pair this summer pea pasta salad with family favorites like Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches or Iowa Maid Rites. Looking for a crowd-pleaser? You've got it! This will be the next big hit at your BBQ or potluck party.
This easy summer potluck side dish only requires a handful of simple ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Frozen peas
- Large elbow macaroni, or gluten-free macaroni
- Colby Jack cheese
- Red onion
- Ranch seasoning mix
- Salt and pepper
Use different types of pasta! Swap out the large elbow macaroni for rotini, shells, or even bowties!
Make it gluten-free
To make this creamy party pasta salad gluten-free and equally delicious, try using gluten-free elbow macaroni such as this!
Start this recipe by bringing a large stockpot full of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta al dente, according to the package directions.
Drain the noodles in a colander, rinse them with cold water, and set them aside for now.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise and ranch seasoning mix.
Stir in the thawed peas, cooked macaroni, cubed cheese, and diced red onion. Season with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate pea pasta salad for at least two hours (or overnight) before serving.
How to thaw frozen sweet peas
If you have time, throw the bag of frozen peas into the refrigerator and let them thaw overnight. Sometimes I'll let them thaw on the counter for about an hour or so, flipping the bag every once in a while.
To quickly thaw peas, pour them into a colander. Using cold water, rinse the peas until they are thawed completely and drain them.
Will this keep overnight?
Yes, absolutely yes! In fact, it tastes so much better that way because the flavors have time to blend together. Most pasta salads do so well when they're made ahead of time.
To make this recipe ahead of time, make the pasta salad up to one day in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve it.
Tips & tricks
Add bacon. Take this recipe up a notch by adding crumbled bacon! Fry up 6 to 8 slices of bacon, chop it into small pieces, and toss it in.
Use shredded cheese. Instead of using cubed cheese, try shredding it up.
Rinse the cooked pasta with cold water. If the noodles are added while they're still hot, they can melt the mayonnaise. We don't want a hot mess, so rinse the noodles with cold water and drain them well.
- Stockpot. Boil and drain your pasta in an 8-quart stockpot.
- Colander. Quickly and easily strain your large elbow noodles with a 5-quart colander.
- Mixing Bowl. Easily toss together the ranch dressing with the peas and cheese in a large mixing bowl.
Store pea pasta salad with cheese and ranch in an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to four days.
If the pasta salad dries out, add a splash of milk or a spoonful of mayo until it is creamy again.
More easy side dishes
- Creamy Deviled Egg Potato Salad
- Amish Macaroni Salad
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Pistachio Fluff Salad
Pea Pasta Salad
- 24 oz frozen peas thawed
- 16 oz gluten free elbow macaroni or large elbow macaroni
- 8 oz Colby Jack cubed
- ½ small red onion diced
- 2 c mayonnaise
- 1 pkg ranch seasoning mix*
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Bring a large stock pot full of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayo and ranch seasoning mix.
- Stir in the thawed peas, macaroni, cubed cheese, and diced onion. Season with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate the salad for at least two hours or overnight before serving.
The nutritional information provided is only an estimate. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
Double or even triple this recipe for graduation parties, baby showers, BBQs, potlucks, family gatherings, Super Bowl parties, camping get togethers, and Labor Day or Memorial Day weekend parties.
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