Cajun Pasta Salad

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.


There is a slight kick to this pasta salad, but it’s a good kick!. The flavors compliment each other so well. You and your guests will keep coming back for mosr of the amazing Cajun Pasta Salad recipe!

100% Loon Approved!


5 from 3 votes

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).
Course Salad
Cuisine Cajun
Keyword pasta salad, Southern cuisine
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 295 kcal
Author Kris Longwell


  • 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
  • 4 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 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


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes, until tender.
  2. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  4. 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.
  5. Adjust seasonings, to taste.
  6. Add the macaroni and mix.
  7. Top with chopped parsley.


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  • I made this pasta salad today. Loved it! It’s a nice change of pace from most pasta salads with the kick of spice in this one. Will definitely make it again. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. So many of them look great!!

    • Thanks, Chris!! We really love this pasta salad, too. We really like the little ‘kick’ and, as you say, a nice change from your everyday pasta salad. And thank you so much for letting us know! Please do stay in touch. All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Kris, i made your cajun pasta salad over labor day week-end . family & friends loved it. sooooooooo good. thanks for sharing a great recipe.

    • That is so great to hear, Helen!! That’s funny, we made it, too! It’s is definitely one of our favorite pasta salads. Thank you so much for letting us know!! xoxoxo Kris & Wesley

  • Did you really mean 2 T salt? I put 1 in and it seems too salty. I’m wondering if maybe it was supposed to be 2 t? Otherwise good but way too salty for me if it’s the way it’s supposed to be.

    • Hi Kat! Thanks for the note! I went and looked at my notes when I worked up this recipe. I played around with the salt levels. I tend to like pasta salad and potato salt a little on the salty side, but you’re right…2 T is a little off. I’d recommend 2 to 3 teaspoons. 1 lb of pasta feeds a lot of folks, so I felt it needed more than a pinch. I’ll update the recipe to adjust the salt to one’s own tastes. Thanks so much! Kris

  • After a recent trip to The Fresh Market that resulted in bringing home several pasta salads, I was suddenly inspired to make some of my own- so, I searched “pasta salad” on Pinterest and came across this recipe. I just made it and it’s SO GOOD. I love how it’s not “just” another pasta salad and has some interesting flavors to it. Definitely holding onto this recipe; thanks for sharing it!

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