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Looking for the perfect pasta salad to take to that family cookout or neighborhood block party? This Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad would be perfect! Plus, it’s made without mayo, so it’s safe to set out for a bit!
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Sometimes I let complex recipes ruing my happiness in the kitchen and when it comes to my blog. I’ve chatted with y’all about this before and even though I try to remind myself to keep it simple, sometimes I find my mind is over run with ideas and complicated kitchen concoctions.
Simple is always a winner y’all and this pasta salad couldn’t be simpler.
It’s great for cookouts and Sunday church potlucks and it’s made without mayo, and can sit out for a bit unlike some other pasta salad recipes. This is a no fuss, tasty recipe!
I got this idea from a few different places.
#1. My sister in law, Meghan, marinates her steaks in Italian dressing and she was talking about it the other day, which made my brain start brain storming ideas.
#2. I was watching “Love Meg” (not my sister in law haha) on YouTube and in one of her videos she was making pasta salad with dressing for her kids for lunch. I think she was making it with peppers and cucumbers (I could be totally off on that lol).
While I was meal prepping the other weekend, those two things came to mind and I decided to make my own little Italian dressing pasta salad.
I’m not a fan of peppers and cucumbers though so I needed something else.
Ham and Cheese!
Pasta, ham, cheese and Italian Dressing.
That’s literally all you need (even though I added some parsley at the end for color)
- Cook your pasta about a minute or 2 less than what the directions say. You want the pasta to have a little bite. –
- 1 bottle of dressing is great but I like to pour on a little from a 2nd bottle right before I serve it because the pasta soaks up some of the dressing when it’s in the fridge
- Let the pasta cool slightly before adding the cheese. You don’t want the cheese to start to melt.
- This pasta salad is BEST serve chilled. I like to chill it for a few hours or overnight.
Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad – No Mayonnaise
- 12 ounces rotini pasta
- 8 ounces block of cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces cubed or sliced ham
- 12 ounces (1 bottle) or 2 bottles) Italian dressing
Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove top.
Liberally salt the water after it starts to boil. (It's said that you should make pasta water like the ocean before cooking pasta).
Add in dry pasta and cook for 12 minutes.
Drain cooked pasta and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, cubed cheese into tiny piece and dice ham into bite sized pieces.
When pasta is done cooking and drained, stir in the ham, but let the pasta cool slightly before adding in the cheese as you don't want to melt it.
Stir in the Italian dressing and make sure to stir until all is coated. I like to have an extra bottle on hand to drizzle over the pasta salad right before I serve it.
Put pasta salad into the fridge for a few hours or until cold before serving.
I like it better once it\'s set over night, it always taste better the next day but may need more dressing drizzled over it after it\'s set in the fridge overnight.
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