Cheddar Broccoli Pasta Salad with Bacon
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Cheddar Broccoli Pasta Salad will be the star of your barbecue! This easy pasta salad recipe is a snap to make, packed to the brim with Campanelle pasta, healthy veggies, and crispy bacon. It’s scrumptious for potlucks, picnics, or a make ahead holiday side dish!
Who doesn’t love a good pasta salad at summertime potlucks and barbecues? Not only is a cold summer salad a guaranteed crowd pleaser, it can be prepared ahead of time.
Plus, most cold pasta side dishes require just a few ingredients, so they’re budget friendly!!
The favorites of most everyone are usually the simplest to make, too; like my recipes for Southern Macaroni Salad and Rotini Pasta Salad.
But I also love making unique pasta salad recipes, with interesting flavor combinations. Like this scrumptious potluck side dish!!
Cheddar Broccoli Pasta Salad
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- As a shortcut you can buy the precut broccoli. Usually the pieces are still a bit larger than I prefer so I trim the stems and large florets. In a pinch this can save you some time.
- Add in extra veggies to bulk up this pasta salad even more. Fresh spinach, onions, zucchini, olives or tomatoes would all be great additions.
- Use your preferred pasta. I like campanelle pasta for this salad but, most any pasta will work just as well.
- Transfer the hot, drained pasta directly over the prepared broccoli to make it slightly tender. If you prefer the broccoli to be even more tender, place it in the colander and pour the pasta/water directly over it. This will cook it slightly.
- I prefer to cook bacon in the oven. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick. Lay bacon flat on pan. Bake at 375ºF for approximately 15-20 minutes.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Other Easy Broccoli Recipes
Cheddar Broccoli Pasta Salad w/ Bacon
- 16 ounces Campanelle pasta , cooked according to package instructions, and drained
- 2 large broccoli crowns , stems removed, trimmed down to small florets
- 8 ounces cooked bacon, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed (1/2 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Place prepared broccoli florets into large bowl. After draining pasta, transfer hot pasta to bowl. Allow the hot pasta to cool on top of broccoli. This will make the broccoli slightly tender.
- Once pasta is cool, add the remaining pasta salad ingredients.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined.
- Pour dressing over pasta salad. Gently toss until salad ingredients are evenly coated with dressing.
- This amount of dressing is for a lightly dressed salad. If you prefer a heavily dressed pasta salad, double dressing recipe.
- For best results, refrigerate 2+ hours before serving.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published August 2018. Updated and republished June 2022.
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Cheddar and Broccoli? A perfect pair! I made a double batch for a family birthday last week and it was gone before it was over! Everyone loved it and went back for seconds.