Creamy Lemon Spring Pasta Salad Recipe: Here is How

Spring is such a beautiful time of year when the weather starts to warm up and it’s the perfect time for get-togethers with fam. One of my favorite things about this time is spending time outdoors enjoying planting-based food. I often found it difficult to plan holiday dinners that were vegan and wholesome without relying too heavily on meat or dairy which can be problematic for those with allergies or dietary preferences. A few years ago, I decided to try making a pasta salad to be the centrepiece of one of our Easter get-togethers. I was nervous about having to juggle so many balls in the air as host but I wanted everyone to feel included and enjoy the feast no matter their dietary needs.

My creamy lemon pasta salad ended up being a hit with vegans and non-vegans alike. The light tasting and refreshing pasta tossed in a lemon yogurt dressing took the pressure off having to please everyone with the main while supporting those with different needs. No one had to sit at the table nervous and it was so nice listening to aunts rave about how they got enough to enjoy without sacrificing flavor.

I also knew this dish would always bring something to fill out the most important nutrient bases like carbs, plant-based protein, and vegetables which are so important for total satiety. Its look is super pretty too so I knew people would want to try it even if they didn’t have certain dietary considerations. This made it fun to play with different dishes making it easily nut-free, gluten-free adaptable to accommodate the needs of other attendees at our family gathering.

Creamy Lemon Spring Pasta Salad Recipe

Generally as a host having an easy allergen-friendly dish or two takes some of the burden and annoyance out of dinner planning. As a proactive option for potlucks, my creamy lemony PASTA salad is always a familiar and vibrant, vegetable-filled yet delicious and seriously filling yet simple and make-ahead friendly dish to bring. Guests can enjoy scooping servings onto their plate without feeling obligated to bring a traditional green salad. It allowed me to feel good to go knowing it was easy to make modifications to the recipe to suit different diets or taste if needed.We ended up spending one nice holiday weekend after another that Spring trying new variations like Grilled Broccoli and Pepperoncini Pasta Salad just for the fun of seeing tastes different directions

Why You’ll Love this Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe

  1. This herb infused pasta salad is perfect to have prepared in advance and stored in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container.
  2. The fresh and light creamy, lemony dressing complements the mix of vegetables serving as a side dish.
  3. The asparagus, peas and peppers add variety of colors, flavors and nutrients.
  4. You can easily add and sneak your favorite veggies like the green beans, red bell peppers, snap peas, cherry tomatoes depending on what’s available locally.
  5. For extra plant-based protein, you can add a can of chickpeas to the already easy pasta salad recipe.
  6. It makes several servings so is perfect for meal prep, BBQ potlucks or picnics.
  7. You can easily customize the recipe by using different past shapes like Gemelli pasta, penne or whole wheat pasta to suit your dietary preference.


1- Lemony Dressing

finely grated lemon zest1 1⁄2 teaspoons
fresh lemon juice1⁄4 cup
small shallot, chopped1⁄2 shallot
agave nectar/maple syrup2 teaspoons
Dijon mustard3⁄4 teaspoon
sea salt and ground black pepperto taste
neutral-flavoured oil, I like avocado1⁄2 cup

2- Pasta Salad

asparagus, woody ends trimmed3⁄4 lb
shelled green peas, fresh or frozen1 cup
small pasta (shells, penne, rotini)1 lb
cooked chickpeas, from approximately 1 can, drained & rinsed1 1⁄2 cups
green onions, finely sliced3
radishes, finely sliced into half moons6-7
flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped1⁄2 cup

Customize This Pasta Salad

This creamy lemon spring pasta salad recipe offers many options to make it your own:

  • You can add a handful each of chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers or red pepper for extra color and flavor.
  • Fresh herbs like basil and mint can be tossed in for an additional layer of freshness.
  • For a touch of tangy cheese, consider mixing in a handful of crumbled goat cheese, grated cheddar or feta cheese.
  • To make it spicy, try adding about 1 tsp red pepper flakes to the dressing.
  • Bacon lovers may enjoy roughly chopping a few slices of crispy bacon to toss into the fantastic pasta salad recipe.

The combinations are endless – get creative based on your tastes and what ingredients you have on hand!

How Long Will Pasta Salad Last?

The general shelf life of a fully-prepared pasta salad will depend on the specific ingredients used and how it is stored. Homemade varieties using this recipe should retain good quality and taste when kept in the refrigerator for around 3 to 5 days.

The freshness may begin to slowly deteriorate after the first couple of days. However, most of the shelf life can typically be achieved if stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge. For maximum freshness, it’s best to plan to finish any leftover pasta salad within 5 days.

How to Store This Pasta Salad 

  1. To extend the shelf life, store the pasta salad properly. Transfer it to an airtight container and cover tightly  with plastic wrap or a lid. This will prevent moisture loss and absorption of odours from other foods in the fridge.
  2. Refrigerate promptly after serving or preparing. Bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature, so it is important to maintain freshness and prevent foodborne illnesses.
  3. If adding the dressing before storing for several days, it is a good idea to add the dressing just before serving instead of letting it soak in. This will help keep the salad moist without becoming overly soggy.
  4. Consider storing the components separately in the refrigerator. Alternatively, store the cooked pasta, vegetables and dressing separately and then combine just before serving to help maintain the texture and quality of the ingredients.

RELATED: How To Freeze Gnocchi

Why Is My Pasta Salad Dry? 

  1. The most common reason for dry pasta salad is insufficient dressing. Be generous – the salad needs enough dressing to become moist and flavorful. Use a tossing motion to evenly coat the ingredients.
  2. Overcooked pasta will be very soft and absorb more liquid. Ensure the pasta is cooked al dente according to package instructions to avoid excessive moisture absorption over time.
  3. If the salad sits for an ext ended period before being served, it has more time to dry out. Plan to serve it within a day or two of preparation.
  4. Prepare an extra amount of dressing and toss just before serving to freshen up the salad with more moisture.
  5. The addition of moisture-rich vegetables can also help prevent dryness. Ingredients like tomatoes, cucumbers and olives provide natural juiciness that is lacking if the salad only contains drier ingredients. Without sufficient hydrating vegetables, the pasta salad may result in a dry texture after refrigerated storage. Be sure to include juice-containing veggies for their moistening properties. Improper storage methods can speed up drying – transfer the salad to an airtight container to better retain moisture levels when chilled.

Creamy Lemon Spring Pasta Salad

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: Meals, PastaCuisine: Mediterranean


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Here is the recipe ingredients and instructions. You can also print the recipe.

1- Lemony Dressing

  • finely grated lemon zest 1 1⁄2 teaspoons

  • fresh lemon juice 1⁄4 cup

  • small shallot, chopped 1⁄2 shallot

  • agave nectar/maple syrup 2 teaspoons

  • Dijon mustard 3⁄4 teaspoon

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • neutral-flavoured oil, I like avocado 1⁄2 cup

  • 2- Pasta Salad
  • asparagus, woody ends trimmed 3⁄4 lb

  • shelled green peas, fresh or frozen 1 cup

  • small pasta (shells, penne, rotini) 1 lb

  • cooked chickpeas, from approximately 1 can, drained & rinsed 1 1⁄2 cups

  • green onions, finely sliced 3

  • radishes, finely sliced into half moons 6-7

  • flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped 1⁄2 cup


  • To make the lemony dressing, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, shallot, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in an upright blender. Blend on high until the mixture is creamy and unified. Slowly add the oil until an emulsion is formed, then set it aside.
  • Fill a large pot with water, add salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl near the counter to quickly cool the cooked vegetables.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus cut into 2-inch lengths. Boil for 2 minutes, until the asparagus starts to become tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the ice water bath, allowing the veggies to chill down.
  • Add the peas to the boiling water and boil for just 30 seconds, until they turn bright green. Give a quick stir then transfer to the ice bath using the slotted spoon.
  • Once chilled, gently sit the vegetables on the counter to dry fully before assembly. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions in the same boiling water, then drain and add to the dressing and vegetables in a large bowl to create the finished spring pasta salad.


  • Refrigerate any leftovers within 3-5 days.
  • Consider adding diced tomatoes, sliced cucumber or kalamata olives for extra freshness.
  • Crumbs of feta or goat cheese make a delightful topping.
  • Use as a salad or try stuffing into sandwiches for a grab-and-go lunch.


This recipe provides a fresh and flavourful take on pasta salad that’s perfect for spring meals. With bright lemon flavour and a variety of crunchy vegetables, it’s both healthy and satisfying. With some tweaks to cooking the pasta properly and balancing the seasoning, home cooks can enjoy this dish without facing issues like sogginess or blandness. Overall, with its versatile mix of ingredients, this salad offers a tasty option for lunch boxes, pot lucks or simple weeknight meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five mistakes to avoid pasta salad? 

  1. Using the wrong size or shape of pasta – Long strands can get tangled and overpower other ingredients. Shorter pastas work better.
  2. Overcooking or undercooking the pasta – Pasta should be al dente, not mushy or crunchy. Test regularly as it nears completion.
  3. Not seasoning the pasta properly – Pasta lacks flavour on its own. Salt the boiling water generously and toss with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
  4. Making the pasta salad too far in advance – The pasta will soak up dressing and become soggy if not served within a day of preparation.
  5. Mixing warm pasta with dressing – Hot pasta causes the dressing to separate. Allow pasta to cool fully before adding dressing and mixing ingredients.

How do you make pasta salad not soggy?

Be sure to cook the pasta until it’s al dente or slightly firmer so it doesn’t become mushy. Rinse the cooked pasta in cold water to halt the cooking process and remove excess starch, which helps prevent it from becoming soggy later. Allow the pasta to cool completely before mixing with other ingredients.

Why does my pasta salad taste bland?

Common reasons for a bland taste include not using enough salt in the boiling pasta water and not adding a generous amount of seasoning like Italian dressing to the finished salad. Overcooking the pasta can also cause it to lose flavour. Be sure to include flavourful vegetables.

Spring Pasta Salad Italian Dressing – Many people choose to use an Italian dressing in their spring pasta salad as it adds bright flavors that complement the fresh vegetables. However, it’s important not to rely solely on pre-made dressings, which can often be overly salty and sour. Homemade vinaigrettes allow for adjusting the “spring pasta salad italian dressing” balance of acidity, herbs and seasoning. A bright lemon vinaigrette, as used in this recipe, lets the flavors of spring shine through without overwhelming the other fresh ingredients. Taking the time to craft your own dressing ensures the pasta salad lets each component’s flavor profile stand out.

Why is my pasta salad not creamy?

The dressing may not properly coat the pasta if it is added to warm noodles that are sticky with starch. For creaminess, rinse the cooked pasta with cold water, then toss with a chilled dressing to coat while preventing the onion from becoming too raw tasting.

What makes pasta unhealthy?

Many types of pasta are made from refined carbohydrates that provide calories but few nutrients. Choosing whole-grain or multigrain pasta can make pasta a healthier choice by providing more fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Overall, it’s best consumed as part of a balanced diet focused on more nutritionally dense foods like vegetables.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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