Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lighter Creamy Pasta Salad

2 cups (dry) shell pasta
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped celery
2-3 green onions, sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
3/4 cup chopped ham

1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

additional plain yogurt
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Add the frozen peas to the pasta for the last minute of cooking time.
  2. Drain the pasta and allow it to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the pasta, peas, celery, green onions, hard-boiled eggs, and ham. 
  5. Add the dressing to the large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  6. Allow the pasta to sit in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  7. Before serving, check the consistency of the pasta salad (the pasta will absorb some of the liquid from the dressing).  If it seems to need more dressing, just stir in additional yogurt a spoonful or two at a time until the pasta salad is the consistency you want.
I made this for a week's worth of lunches, and it was really good.  I like macaroni salad and creamy pasta salad, but the thought of using a whole cup of mayonnaise or something like that was just not appetizing.  I looked online for a lighter version, found Macaroni Salad with Bacon, Peas, and Creamy Dijon Dressing, and tweaked it a little.  You could always change up the vegetables, leave out the eggs, switch up the ham to something else, or adapt it to your taste in other ways.  It really got thick after I let it sit in the refrigerator, but it worked out really well just stirring in some more yogurt.  I think I used an additional 1/2 cup of yogurt, but I didn't measure.  The flavor was not affected by adding more yogurt, and it gave the creaminess without all the fat of mayonnaise.  I need to remember to make this again!

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