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Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing in a bowl


Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing takes only 30 minutes and makes a beautiful appetizer, light meal, or even dinner!  This crowd-pleasing side dish is perfect for sharing and bringing to picnics, potlucks, BBQs, or parties.  Your family and friends with love the fresh, savory, and sweet combination of flavors!  Make it in the Summer and year-round.

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing in a bowl

Corn pasta salad

This tasty pasta salad features fresh produce (corn and bell peppers), fresh cilantro, and basil pasta!  It’s a flexible and easily adjustable recipe that can be changed to whatever you have on hand.

  • Use fresh corn, leftover corn on the cob, canned corned, or even frozen kind (defrosted).
  • The recipe uses basic ingredients found in most pantries – what a perfect everyday salad to serve with your weeknight dinner for your family and friends.  It also makes a beautiful presentation when prepared for a special occasion or holiday.
  • This salad keeps well refrigerated, so it’s a perfect recipe for meal prep, or to make ahead for lunch and snacks.
  • Other pasta salads I recommend are peach pasta salad with arugula and tomatoes or this tasty Greek pasta salad with spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Easy 30-minute pasta salad

  • Sweet corn is combined with pasta shells (I used orecchiette pasta), bell peppers, and chopped cooked bacon to create a wonderful sweet and savory flavor pairing.  The salad can be easily made ahead by precooking the pasta, bacon, and corn (if using fresh corn on the cob).  And, the recipe will take only 30 minutes of your time!
  • The delicious salad dressing combines store-bought or homemade basil pesto, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and lime juice. You’ll be in love with this summer salad that you can make year-round!

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing in a bowl

Why make it

  • Looking for new ways to use corn in the recipes?  This pasta salad combines the sweetness of the corn with savory ingredients to produce a very flavorful salad.
  • This salad will pair beautifully with any summer dinner.  You can also serve it as a light snack, lunch, or even dinner!
  • It’s a great appetizer to bring to parties, BBQs, cookouts, and other festivities!

How to make creamy pesto salad dressing

  • In a mason jar, whisk together basil pesto with Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and freshly squeezed lime juice until well combined.
  • Tip: If your dressing is too thick, you can thin it out by adding more Greek yogurt, small amounts of water, or extra lime juice (or lemon juice). Or, the combination of what I just listed.

How to make corn pasta salad

  1. First, you will cook the pasta in boiling water according to the package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, proceed with preparing the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, combine cooked corn kernels, diced bell pepper, and chopped cooked bacon.
  3. Then, add cooked and drained pasta. Mix to combine.
  4. Next, you will distribute the salad into individual salad bowls.
  5. Finally, top individual servings with the creamy pesto dressing and sprinkle the chopped fresh cilantro on top.

close-up of Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing

Variations

  • Pasta.  I used orecchiette pasta but you can use any kind of short pasta.  This includes small pasta shells, and fusilli (spiral pasta). Bow-tie pasta (farfalle) will be your next best choice. Or, you can use penne, rigatoni, or rotini.
  • Use prosciutto instead of bacon.  You can briefly crispy up the prosciutto in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes.
  • Fresh herbs.  I use fresh cilantro here, you can also use fresh basil leaves or fresh thyme.
  • Add cheese if you like.  Feta cheese, goat cheese, or small Mozzarella balls (pearls) are all great choices! You can also sprinkle the corn pasta salad with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Add a protein, such as grilled chicken, sauteed or grilled shrimp, or salmon to make it a perfect and easy weeknight dinner!

Cooking tips

  • Cook pasta al dente for best texture.  This kind of texture works the best with the pasta salad especially if you want to make it ahead. To cook pasta al dente, you normally have to boil pasta 2 minutes shorter than normal. For example, if the package instructions tell you to boil pasta for 10 minutes – cook the pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes instead.
  • Make it gluten-free.  Use gluten-free pasta of your choice.  Lentil or chickpea gluten-free pasta will taste great here.

Storage tips

  • Store leftover corn pasta salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • If you plan on refrigerating the salad, you can combine all the salad ingredients, except the salad dressing and fresh cilantro.  Add creamy pesto salad dressing and cilantro last minute before serving.
  • You can easily make this salad ahead by combining all salad ingredients together except the salad dressing and fresh cilantro.  Add those two immediately before serving.

Other pasta salads you might like

  • Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches, Spinach, Tomatoes, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella Cheese
  • Broccoli Ranch Pasta Salad with Bacon, Tomatoes, Sweet Peas, and Cheddar Cheese
  • Greek Tortellini Salad with Tomatoes, Avocados, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese
Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing in a bowl

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing takes only 30 minutes and makes a beautiful appetizer, light meal, or even dinner!  This crowd-pleasing side dish is perfect for sharing and bringing to picnics, potlucks, BBQs, or parties.  Your family and friends with love the fresh, savory, and sweet combination of flavors!  Make it in the Summer and year-round.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 10 mins

Total Time 30 mins

Course Salad

Cuisine American

Servings 6 people

Calories per serving 316 kcal

Author: Julia

Ingredients

Corn pasta salad

  • 8 oz orecchiette pasta or other short pasta
  • 1 cup corn kernels cooked
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 4 slices bacon cooked and sliced
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad dressing

  • cup basil pesto store-bought or homemade
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed

Instructions 

Cook pasta

  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain.

  • While the pasta is cooking, proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Make salad dressing

  • In a mason jar, whisk together basil pesto with Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and freshly squeezed lime juice.

  • If your dressing is too thick, you can thin it out by adding more Greek yogurt, small amounts of water, or extra lime juice (or lemon juice). Or, combination of what I just listed.

Assembly

  • In a large bowl, combine cooked and drained pasta, cooked corn kernels, diced bell pepper, and chopped cooked bacon. Mix to combine.

  • Distribute into individual salad bowls. Top with the salad dressing. Sprinkle the chopped fresh cilantro on top.

Notes

  • Corn. I used 1 cup of cooked corn kernels.  That equals to 2 ears of corn (corn on the cob).
  • Basil pesto.  Use store-bought or homemade basil pesto.
  • Pasta.  I used orecchiette pasta in this recipe.  The next best choice would be fusilli (spiral pasta) or farfalle (bow-tie pasta).

 

Nutrition

Nutrition Information

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing in a bowl

Corn Pasta Salad with Bacon and Creamy Pesto Dressing in a bowl



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