Light Pasta Salad with Peas, Ham, and Cheddar

I didn’t always like pasta salad.  In fact, the idea of cold macaroni swimming in mayonnaise rather repulsed me.  One day, it hit me- it was the “swimming in mayonnaise” part I didn’t like.  I started tinkering around with ingredients to see what I could do to get a creamy pasta salad that tasted good, and I settled on the formula you’re about to read.

What I love about this is that it’s lighter than traditional pasta salad, has few ingredients, and is creamy without using a ton of mayonnaise.   This means you taste the ingredients, rather than just the mayonnaise.  It’s a hit at summer cookouts, and makes enough to feed a crowd.  I love this with grilled burgers, but it has enough substance to be a meal on its own.

pasta salad

Light Pasta Salad with Peas, Ham, and Cheddar

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz. box small shell or elbow pasta
  • 1/4 C. light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C. light sour cream
  • 1 10 oz. box frozen peas
  • 8 oz. lean ham, cut into small cubes
  • 1 C. shredded cheddar cheese (reduced fat is fine)
  • 1 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Boil pasta in salted water, drain, and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool.

Put the pasta in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Run the frozen peas under lukewarm water until they are thawed.

Add the peas to the pasta and return to the refrigerator.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Remove the pasta from the refrigerator and stir in the cubed ham.

Add the mayonnaise mixture and stir to completely coat the pasta mixture.

Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese.

Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Refrigerate until ready to serve, serve cold.

Makes 12 generous servings.

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