Coleslaw Pasta Salad has all the crunch and flavor of coleslaw in a delicious pasta salad perfect for a potluck or summer barbecue. This macaroni salad with coleslaw dressing has celery, green bell pepper, and cucumber for a substantial side dish that makes enough to feed a crowd.
This macaroni coleslaw salad is so easy to make and ready in just minutes. I love that this recipe can be made hours in advance, and then I just throw it in a big plastic container to take with me. Assemble the ingredients while the pasta is cooking to keep prep time down to just 15 minutes.
Why this recipe works
Coleslaw Pasta Salad works for two reasons: it’s easy and tasty. For just how easy it is, we literally throw the ingredients together while the pasta is cooking, then add the pasta and we are done. Serve right away, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the taste, picture a delicious crunchy coleslaw, amped up with celery, cucumber, and green bell pepper. The pasta bulks up the amount so this recipe is perfect for serving a crowd, but the flavor comes from the coleslaw dressing, fresh herbs, and the veggies. Absolutely totally delicious!
What ingredients you need
The ingredients list may look a bit long, but it really isn’t once we break it down.
- Veggies: a bag of coleslaw, cucumber, green bell pepper, and celery.
- Pasta. I like ditalini pasta for this salad, but macaroni or small shells work as well.
- Coleslaw dressing: mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, sugar, and cider vinegar. I highly recommend using full fat mayonnaise (I prefer Duke’s) and sour cream.
- Herbs: parsley, basil, and chives. Be sure to use flat-leaf (aka Italian) parsley and not curly.
- Seasoning: kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Taste for seasoning once the salad is assembled as I often find I need to add more salt.
How to make coleslaw pasta salad
One, cook pasta. Just follow the directions on the box, but once the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water. Rinsing pasta with cold water is only done when cooking pasta for cold dishes like macaroni salad because it stops the cooking process. This also keeps the pasta from sticking all together.
Two, throw all the ingredients together. Yes, it really is this stinking easy.
Lastly, taste for seasoning. I usually end up adding more salt, but I am heavy handed with salt in general so add according to your taste.
I recommend not making this salad too far in advance because with time, the pasta can absorb the dressing and make the whole salad less creamy. So, I would keep the pasta separate until closer to serving, but the pasta can be cooked and rinsed in advance and the remaining ingredients can be assembled in advance as well.
Veggies, especially cucumber, will give off water over time which can affect recipes like this, so I find it is good for up to 3 days.
Absolutely! Diced ham or sliced hard-boiled eggs are lovely additions to this salad to make it even more substantial.
Yes. If gluten is an issue or if you just don’t want the pasta, leave it out and you will have a delicious coleslaw salad.
If making a whole meal and feeding a bunch of people, I recommend my Cornbread Salad, Deviled Eggs, and Lemon Delight recipes with this pasta salad. All can be made in advance and make substantial amounts. Then grill up some meat or burgers and you are all set.
Coleslaw Pasta Salad
- 8 oz ditalini pasta uncooked
- 1 (16 oz) bag coleslaw
- 1 cucumber peeled, seeds discarded, and diced
- 1 green bell pepper seeded, ribs removed, and diced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
- 1 Tbsp chives chopped
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 1 pinch fresh cracked pepper
- Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water immediately. Drain well.
- While pasta is cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the drained and rinsed (now cool) pasta to the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
- Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Calorie count is purely an estimate calculated using an online application to serve as a guide and not to be taken as accurate nutritional information. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.