This ham and pea pasta salad is a whole lot of yum in every bite. Pasta combined with cubed ham, cheese, and peas tossed in a delicious creamy dressing makes for the perfect side dish for any summer BBQ!
Creamy Ham Pasta Salad
Ditch your classic macaroni salad this spring and summer and try something much more elevated and delicious: this ham and pea pasta salad! Tender pasta, salty ham, heart peas, and chunks of cheese come together to create the perfect bite. Mmm!
Whipped up in under 30 minutes, you’ll have a pasta salad dish that was made to impress. Serve it at your next barbecue, special occasion, or as a delicious side to your family dinner.
No matter how you decide to enjoy it, know that it’s going to immediately become a kitchen staple.
why you’ll love it!
- It has a delicious homemade dressing that everyone will rave about.
- Easy to customize to your liking, whether you’re swapping or adding ingredients.
- The PERFECT combination of flavors. It’s truly mesmerizing.
- Conchiglie pasta: we love to use conchiglie pasta for our pasta salads, but feel free to use rotini pasta or any of your favorites.
- Mayonnaise: pasta salad isn’t anything without mayonnaise. If you’re vegan, a vegan mayo should work just fine.
- Dijon mustard: Dijon adds a pungent flavor to this creamy macaroni salad that you can’t pass up.
- Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar: either vinegar will do. It adds just the right touch of acidity to your dish.
- Spices: tarragon and paprika are the spiced we used in this cold pasta salad. However, you’re welcome to use your favorites.
- Fresh herbs: we used green onion and fresh dill to deepen the flavor of this delicious recipe.
- Ham: use any kind of ham you like! Whether it’s leftover ham, freshly cooked cam, or pre-diced, it’ll still taste yummy.
- Peas: fresh peas, frozen peas, sweet peas, or green peas, this pasta salad will not disappoint.
- Cheddar cheese: we cut cubes of cheddar cheese to get the maximum cheese flavor in every bite.
How to Make Ham and Pea Pasta Salad
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the noodles according to the package directions for about 11 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the noodles. Set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt, tarragon, dill, and paprika to a bowl. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
MIX IT ALL TOGETHER
Next, add the cooled noodles, ham, peas, onions, cheddar, and sauce to a bowl. Stir to combine.
SERVE + ENJOY
This can be served immediately. However, the longer it sits, the more the flavors will develop! Enjoy your delicious pasta salad recipe!
Easy Ingredient Swaps
- Conchiglie pasta: choose your own adventure with the noodles in this pasta salad! We love the look of curly conchiglie pasta, but any noodle will do.
- Ham: you can swap the ham for crab meat, shrimp, or diced chicken instead of ham if you wish!
- Peas: if you’d rather not have peas, corn works just as well. You could also add some diced bell pepper too.
- Herbs: rather not have dill or green onions? Try the recipe out with fresh parsley, thyme, basil, or rosemary instead.
- Additions: you could add black olives or hard boiled eggs to level up the flavor of this dish.
This ham and pasta salad makes for a great side dish! Our sister site, Fit Foodie Finds, has some amazing grilling recipes that would complement this easy pasta salad, including:
- Grilled Protein: Juicy Grilled Chicken, Juicy Grilled Pork Tenderloin, or Tender Grilled Flank Steak.
- Burgers: The Best Homemade Burgers or Seriously Good Black Bean Burgers.
- Summer Sides: Instant Pot Baked Beans, Grilled Corn on the Cob, or Black Bean Corn Salad.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Feel free to toss in additional ham, peas, cheese, herbs, and spices to freshen up the pasta salad when serving as leftovers.
Ham and Pea Pasta Salad
- 8 oz. conchiglie pasta
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 8 oz. diced ham
- 5 oz. frozen peas thawed
- 4 sprigs green onion thinly sliced
- 4 oz. diced cheddar cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the noodles according to the package directions for about 11 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the noodles. Set aside.
- While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt, tarragon, dill, and paprika to a bowl. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Add the cooled noodles, ham, peas, onions, cheddar, and sauce to a bowl. Stir to combine.
- This can be served immediately. However, the longer it sits, the more the flavors will develop.
Tips & Notes
- Any chunky noodles can be substituted for this recipe.
- We used a ham steak in this recipe, but you can ask for a 1-inch thick piece of ham at the deli.