The Best, Extra Delicious, and Simple Fall Pasta Salad
If you’re hopping over from Michele at Vintage Home Designs, welcome! That side dish looked so good and by the end of the blog hop today, you’ll have everything you need for a delicious harvest dinner!
Today, I’m sharing another side dish that will complement your harvest dinner…and use for the next day’s lunch as well!
I have to be super honest.
See that clean kitchen? That’s how I love it. It’s not that I just hate cooking, but it definitely isn’t my favorite thing! I’d much rather get creative with my tablescape and then sit and enjoy someone else’s gift of yummy food.
Want to know something else about me?
I almost never use a recipe. My daughter loves them, which is probably why she is such a great baker…and I am not! Ha!
I would much rather just toss a few things together and experiment. And most of the time, it turns out okay.
Once in awhile, it turns out GREAT!
The “once in a while’s” deserve to be celebrated and shared, right?
So today, let me introduce to you a super simple (I even cheated on some ingredients) fall pasta salad, featuring fall harvest favorites like cranberries, turkey, and apples!
What is a fall pasta salad?
I just made that up.
It is really just a fancy way of saying “here’s how you can use some Thanksgiving dinner leftovers and turn them into yummy lunches!” Or use up some of the apples from the weekend apple picking trip. Or just treat yourself to a little different flavor, all mixed into one delicious, fall pasta salad!
Fall Pasta Salad Ingredients:
and you can get creative with these too!
- Favorite pasta (I love using the larger noodles, such as penne or bowtie pasta for a side dish.)
- Turkey (I cheated and used good deli meat, but you could also use some baked turkey and just cut it into chunks)
- Dried cranberries
- Chopped apples (I cheated here too, and bought a bag of the pre-peeled ones!)
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Bleu cheese yogurt dressing (I love the Boathouse brand for the low calories and flavorful consistency.)
- Almond slices (I bought a bag of salad topper almonds for this.)
Recipe for Fall Pasta Salad
Time: 15 prep (+ time for pasta to cook and completely cool)
The most time consuming part is waiting for the pasta to cook and then cooling it completely. If you planned ahead, this would be great to do the night before. After cooking and draining the bowtie pasta, I allowed it to cool in the refrigerator for about two hours (it may not take that long, that was just the time between picking up the kids from school and finishing after school activities and homework!)
Once the pasta is cooked, simply add your ingredients. I used good turkey from the deli section of my grocery store. You could also set aside some pieces of turkey (even freeze them!) when you bake it the next time. That would be delicious also.
To save time, I also used the pre-peeled apples from my produce section. If you peel and slice the apples yourself, make sure to add those right before serving so they don’t turn brown. I cut the apples into 1/4″ chunks and mixed in with the turkey and pasta.
I added dried cranberries and sliced almonds from the salad toppings section and mixed those in with my pasta. I love how the almonds and crisp apples add some texture and a little crunch to the salad! The last thing I added, before the dressing, was crumbled feta cheese. You could also substitute this with gorgonzola or goat cheese. Either would be delicious!
Lastly, I mixed in my dressing. I used the low-calorie Boathouse brand yogurt dressing. My store has several choices and I went with the bleu cheese since it is my favorite. The creamy mixture is perfect for a pasta salad!
Bleu cheese is a stronger flavor, so that would be one thing to definitely tweak based on your preferred taste.
You could also create your own dressing mixture with mayo and plain Greek yogurt. I don’t typically keep the plain Greek yogurt on hand, so it actually saved me time and money to just use the pre-made yogurt dressing. Again, that is just up to your personal taste!
I mix the dressing in last. Then, I cover it and let it chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately!
It’s a quick and easy way to add a side dish, while still incorporating some of those fun fall flavors!
Pasta salads are filling but they can also be reasonably healthy depending on how you dress them up! By using mostly low-calorie additions, particularly a low-calorie dressing, you can have a great side dish that doesn’t use up the entire calorie bank! Save some of those for dessert!!!
I also love that a pasta salad allows you to be creative with healthy, gluten-free options and also with fun flavors!
To create your own pasta salad, simple add the following:
- Choice of pasta
- Choice of protein, vegetable, and other complementary flavors
- Choice of dressing: A yogurt or mayo base is good for a creamy consistency or use a vinaigrette for a lighter base)
Next, I invite you to hop over to my friend Rachel from Rachel Pond’s Farmhouse. Rachel’s dessert is going to have you ready for some fall baking!
And, you’re in for a treat today, with a lot more fall recipe inspiration from some amazing friends. You’ll have everything you need to create a delicious harvest-themed dinner! I love each of these ladies so much and am always inspired by them! You won’t want to miss their fall recipes today!