Cajun Pasta Salad

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Cajun Pasta Salad.  Now, that’s something special.

Nothing spells summer much more than a good outdoor BBQ.  And the best BBQ’s have amazing side dishes.

This Cajun Pasta Salad recipe is one of our all-time favorites.

A large white bowl of freshly prepared Cajun Pasta Salad.


You can easily prepare the pasta ahead of time, as well as the dressing.

Right before serving, mix the dressing with the cooled cooked pasta (and a little more water, if needed), and you’re good to go!

Watch us show you how easy it is to make Cajun Pasta Salad!



There is a slight kick to this pasta salad, but it’s a good kick!.

The flavors compliment each other so well.

Of course, if you don’t like bell peppers or shallots, just leave them out! But we think they add a nice, but subtle, dimension to the salad.

Sprinkle chopped parsley on top of the cajun pasta salad for garnish.

The seasonings in the dressing really provide a delicious depth to the salad.

If you can’t find cajun seasoning, just get a large bowl, and mix together 1 tbsp of the following:

  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt

And then 1 tsp of the following:

  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground thyme
  • Onion powder

If you are interested in other amazing BBQ side dishes, try one of these favorites:

In the meantime, be sure to make this amazing Cajun Pasta Salad!

A white bowl full of Cajun pasta salad with a gold spoon nearby.


Once you mix the pasta with the dressing, if you are not serving the pasta salad immediately, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

We recommend not putting the pasta salad together until close to serving time.

If you have stored in the fridge, mix again with a couple tablespoons of water to help thin the dressing a bit.

Use a large spoon to dish out the salad.

A large white bowl of Cajun Pasta Salad with a gold spoon nearby.

Cajun Pasta Salad

This Cajun Pasta Salad is just so good! Really bursting with flavor. Just a little kick, but nothing too much. Perfect for a Summer BBQ!! Yum! If you make this ahead of time (say several hours early...add a little extra water, as it will thicken as it sits in the fridge).
4.36 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: BBQ Side Dish, pasta salad, Southern cuisine
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 295kcal


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 tbsp good-quality olive oil divided
  • 1/2 cup shallots finely minced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery finely chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Creole/Cajun, or whole grain Dijon mustard see Note
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp hot sauce ie, Tobasco, Crystals
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped, for garnish


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes, until tender.
  • Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • In a separate medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, to thin slightly.
  • Adjust seasonings, to taste.
  • Add the macaroni and mix.
  • Top with chopped parsley.


If you can't find Creole or Cajun mustard, any kind of whole grain, or spicy, or even just Dijon work just fine. 
You can make the pasta several hours before serving. Just rinse after cooking, then toss with the oil then cover with plastic wrap.  No need to refrigerate.
You can also make the dressing several hours before serving, after mixing together, cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the refrigerator.
Just before serving, mix pasta with dressing and a couple tablespoons of water.  You don't want the dressing too thick.  Best served at room temperature. 


Calories: 295kcal
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  • 4 stars
    I made this and it was awesome. I used reaper hot sauce and added three tablespoons of sugar. It was a hit at the bbq. They loved the sweetness and the kick of heat.

    • Woo hoo! We are so so thrilled you made the Cajun pasta salad and had such great success with it! Congrats!!!! And THANK YOU for letting us know and for the nice review! That means the world to us! Stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Julie! So sorry for the delayed response! YES! Cajun grilled shrimp would be AMAZING in this pasta salad! Thanks for sharing and for the GREAT review! That is AWESOME! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Thanks for your response, even though it’s about two hours late. Tuesday is the day I take the pasta salads. I added the ham and sharp cheese and it was fabulous! The only thing I did different was add the olive oil directly to the dressing (helps thin it a bit). Plus no salt in the dressing, I thought there was enough with mustard, hot sauce and mayonnaise.
    Pinned it! Great recipe; I definitely will be making this again.

    • So sorry we didn’t get back to you in time, but it sounds like you prepared it perfectly! So glad you had success and your modifications sound spot on! Thanks so much for sharing and for the wonderful review. We truly appreciate that so very much!! Check out our other pasta salads. We have several other really yummy ones! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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