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.
CAJUN PASTA SALAD IS EASY TO MAKE AT HOME
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!
CAJUN PASTA SALAD IS A NICE CHANGE OF PACE
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.
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
- 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!
MIX THE PASTA WITH THE DRESSING SOON BEFORE SERVING
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.
Cajun Pasta Salad
- 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.
I added Cajun grilled shrimp.
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
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
I’m known for my pasta salads I make for our teams of food pantry volunteers every week for the last year and a half since the shut down. ( We still serve our clients to their cars.) I’ve never made anything Cajun, but this sounds like another winner! What do you think about adding cubed ham and shredded sharp cheese?
Please be honest. I always credit my Pinterest inspirations.
Hi there!!! We are so sorry for the delayed response!!! Cubed ham and shredded cheddar would be AMAZING! Next time we make this salad, we’re adding that!! Thanks for the inspiration! Let us know how it turns out! All the best, Kris & Wesley
You guys… Another hit with the family. I personally liked it more the next day, such a different taste we loved it!! Keep cooking you are making me look good
Delicious!! Great flavors!! I was thinking of adding some crab next time…what do you think?? Thanks!
Hi Cyndi!! Thank you so much! And heck YES! Crab would be an amazing addition to this salad. Can we come over? LOL!!! Thanks again for the great review! That means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley
Thanks guys! I will let you know how it turns out with the crab! And of course, you are always welcome at our home!!
Super easy and tasty! Made this for meal prep and added rotisserie pulled chicken to make it more substantial for lunch/dinner. Will definitely make again and taking the suggestion to add crab. Yummalicious!
That is so awesome, Melissa!! Sounds absolutely delicious!! Thanks for letting us know!! xoxo Kris & Wesley
Wayyy too much salt in the dressing. Taking to a party today. How can I fix this? Ugh
would have been nice if you bothered to update the recipe!! Ruined due to following your instructions of 2 ,TB SALT!!
Hi Patti, it’s actually 2 tsp of salt, not 2 tbsp. So sorry the pasta salad wasn’t to your liking.
This recipe is amazing!!!! It’s got the perfect amount of kick to it. I meal prepped this and had it for the week. Wasn’t too thick for me at all. The second time I made it I doubled it. Then it seemed a little thick. Not too bad though. Still tasted amazing. My new favorite pasta salad!
Woo hoo!! That’s awesome to hear, Melissa! Love that you did the meal prep and then enjoyed it all week! We find that sometimes if it’s a bit thick, we just thin the dressing with a little chicken stock, or even water. Anyway, so glad you enjoyed it so much and thank you so so much for letting us know!! All the best, Kris & Wesley
This is my new favorite thing! I just made it a second time, and doubled it this time so I can share with family and friends. The complexity of the flavors and textures is incomparable! ❤️
That is so awesome to hear, Holly!! So glad you love this pasta salad, it’s definitely one of our all-time favorites! Thanks for letting us know and for the great review!! We appreciate that so very much! All the best, Kris & Wesley
Loved this recipe. I added a bag of grilled chicken as well. My wife works for usps and has no way to take hot lunches soooooooo she is way tired of sandwiches. So I made this for her and packed her with club crackers. Lasted her a week and she loved it!
Hi Ashley!! That is so awesome to hear!! Grilled chicken added to the salad is the PERFECT lunch on the go! Wesley’s sister works for the USPS, so we know what you mean! Thanks so much for letting us know, and please give our love to your wife!
I’m definitely going to make this for a party. I wonder if it will taste bad if I mix the dressing and pasta a few hours before the party and leave it in the fridge till then.
I found Creole Mustard Seasoning, would that work or will in need to be a “wet” mustard?
Hi Amanda, the wet mustard does help the consistency of the dressing. How about adding some of the seasoning in yellow, or Dijon mustard? Then you should be set!! Let us know how it turns out!! All the best, Kris & Wesley
I love you two! I am making this for my picnic tomorrow. I am sure it will be a hit. Everything is ready except the pasta. 7.15 in Baldwinsville, NY but I may need to cook the pasta before tomorrow for a helping or two. I’ll keep you posted
I love you guys. I’ve watched all your videos. You guys explain every thing in such detail. Really fun to watch. Don’t ever stop. Love your recipes.
Hi Gretchen!! Thank you so so much!! That means the absolute world to us! Stay in touch and stay tuned…lots more on the way! All the best!! Kris & Wesley
Kris, Made this again for Memorial Day. So good! Just had to let you know again. Chris
Awesome, Chris!! So glad it worked well for you again and THANK YOU SO MUCH for letting us know!!! You are the BEST! Kris & Wesley
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!
This has become one of my favorites. I know I say this all the time but it’s true! Happy Holidays!