Creamy Ham & Cheese Pasta Salad is the perfect side for summer cookouts! Dill pickle juice is the secret ingredient and everyone will be wanting the recipe!
Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad is one of my favorite leftover ham recipes. Next time you find yourself with leftover Crock Pot Ham, this easy pasta salad is the way to go! The not so secret “secret ingredient” is pickle juice, which is sure to get the guests at your next family gathering talking!
HAM AND CHEESE PASTA SALAD
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I had never heard or even thought of adding pickle juice to my food until a potluck at work years ago. My manager at the time brought in this Macaroni Salad and I had to have the recipe.
I couldn’t tell what it was that I liked so much but I LOVED it. When she gave me the recipe I was surprised to hear it had pickle juice.
Normally I would add dijon mustard to my pasta salad dressings for tang. Now, that I’ve tried pickle juice instead, a whole new world of dressings has opened up for me!
Ingredients for Ham & Cheese Pasta Salad
- Greek yogurt
- Dill pickle juice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Dill pickles
- Swiss cheese (shredded)
- Frozen peas
- Canadian bacon or leftover ham
I like to use farfalle (bow-tie pasta) in this pasta salad recipe, but you can use just about any other small shaped pasta that you like. Rotini, penne, or medium shells would give this salad great texture too.
I have been known to add some sliced red onion to this recipe now and again. It’s yummy and adds great color, but is completely optional.
How to Make Creamy Pasta Salad
- The first step in this pasta salad recipe is to cook your pasta of choice according to the package directions. Make sure to salt your water and do not overcook the. You want a nice al dente texture that will hold up to the creamy dressing, ham, and veggies.
- While your pasta is cooking, combine the Greek yogurt, mayo, pickle juice, and salt & pepper in a bowl. You can use a whisk or spatula to mix it all together.
- Cook the Canadian bacon or ham in a skillet over medium heat until it starts to brown on both sides, then slice it into strips. ½-inch strips are good.
- Drain your pasta in a colander and rinse it with cold water to cool it off. Add the pasta to the bowl with the yogurt & pickle juice sauce.
- Add the chopped pickles, Swiss cheese, and ham strips to the bowl and toss everything together.
- Cover and refrigerate the Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad until you’re ready to serve it.
What to Do with Leftover Ham
The holidays are coming up and we all know what it’s like to have too many leftovers! Instead of eating the same ham over and over again, you can totally use it in this Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad recipe.
What can I substitute for yogurt in this pasta salad recipe?
Greek yogurt gives dressing in this pasta salad a tangy flavor that is essential to offset the sour dill pickles and sweet mayo & peas. To maintain that tanginess, you can try sour cream or even buttermilk.
More crazy good pasta salads for your potluck!
- Easy BLT Pasta Salad
- Easy Bacon & Avocado Pasta Salad
- 25 Pasta Salad Recipes
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- More SIDE DISH recipes…
Tools used to make this Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad recipe
Colander: This heavy-duty colander is essential for draining cooked pasta for pasta salads and more.
Skillet: This skillet is the perfect multi-use kitchen tool. It’s great for sauteing and searing meats and veggies.
*This post originally posted on 04/28/2014.
- cook pasta according to package directions, making sure to not over cook
- in a large bowl combine the Greek yogurt, mayo, pickle juice and salt and pepper
- cook Canadian bacon in a dry skillet over medium heat until color has developed on both sides
- slice into 1/2 inch strips
- run cold water over the pasta when it's draining to cool down
- add drained pasta to the bowl with the sauce
- toss with pickles, Swiss cheese, and Canadian bacon
- refrigerate until ready to serve