Layered Pasta Salad Recipe

This layered pasta salad is a colorful and delicious side dish, perfect for potlucks, picnics, or a light summer meal. The layers of pasta, vegetables, meat, and cheese create a visually appealing dish that’s packed with flavor.


  • Pasta (your choice of shape, such as penne, rotini, or shells)
  • Lettuce (such as romaine or green leaf)
  • Vegetables (such as chopped bell peppers, sliced celery, frozen peas, chopped red onion)
  • Cooked meat (optional, such as diced ham, shredded chicken, or crumbled cooked sausage)
  • Shredded cheese (such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Parmesan)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Vinegar (optional, such as white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar)
  • Salt and pepper

Optional additions:

  • Black olives
  • Chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, chives, or dill)
  • Hard-boiled eggs, chopped


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard (if using), vinegar (if using), salt, and pepper.
  3. Assemble the salad: In a large transparent serving bowl or trifle dish, start by layering the shredded lettuce.
  4. Next layer: Add the cooked and cooled pasta.
  5. Continue layering: Add your chosen vegetables, cooked meat (if using), and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Repeat these layers until you fill the bowl, leaving room for the dressing on top.
  6. Pour the dressing over the final layer, making sure it reaches all parts of the salad.
  7. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least a few hours, or ideally overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.
  8. Before serving, give the salad a gentle toss to distribute the dressing evenly. Garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs or a sprinkle of cheese (if desired).

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