It seems like I blinked and now the end of summer is here.
(Can I let you in on a little secret? I’m looking forward to summer ending. Fall — ahem, Autumn, which happens to be my niece’s name — is my favorite season for a million reasons, not least of which are chilly temps, cozy sweaters, and warm mulled cider, but I am also head-over-heels in love with winter. And yes, when I tell people that, the most common question I get is Really? Lol, yes, really.)
With Labor Day next weekend, I know a lot of people are looking for new twists on picnic food, and this salad is a great way to switch up your normal pasta salad routine.
Here are a few more picnic salad ideas:
- Easiest Pasta Salad
- Poached Salmon Pasta Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad
- Roasted Veggie Potato Salad
- Succotash-Style Pasta Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing
- Sweet Mango Chili Shrimp Salad
- Wheat Berry Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette
- White Bean-Roasted Red Pepper Salad
If you have a favorite picnic food to share, feel free to link to it in the comments below!
- 8 oz pasta (I used gemelli, but you can use any shape you like)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 slices turkey bacon, diced
- 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 medium onion, very finely diced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat mayo or Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
- Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions; drain and set aside to cool.
- Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat; add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Whisk together the cream cheese, onion, mayo or Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. (Alternatively, process everything together in a food processor until smooth and then transfer it to a large bowl.)
- Toss in the pasta, peas, red bell pepper, and shallot in the dressing.
- Refrigerate until serving; right before serving toss in the bacon or sprinkle it on top.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light’s recipe for Macaroni Salad with Bacon, Peas, & Creamy Dijon Dressing.