The Best Pasta Salad Ever {Really}

The best pasta salad ever. That’s quite a bold statement to make, isn’t it?

With bacon and toasted pecans, Greek yogurt and red wine vinegar, this pasta salad has just the right balance of flavors. So easy and so good! #recipe #pasta

(photo updated 5/25/2013)

But let me give you the reasons why I love this pasta salad:

1. Since I don’t like mayonnaise, I substituted Chobani plain Greek yogurt instead. It was the bomb!  I scarfed this stuff down like it was my last meal.

2.  This salad has the perfect amount of crunch from the broccoli and grapes.

3.  Oh, and from the toasted pecans. I could eat toasted pecans all day.

4.  It’s slightly tangy from the red wine vinegar, yet with just the right amount of sweetness.

5.  Plus, it has bacon in it. Wait…should that be #1?

I look forward to grilling season all year long.  There is pretty much nothing I like more than foods right off the charcoal grill.  I know gas grills are more convenient, but you just can’t beat that charcoal flavor.  Or the smell.  I sort of rub my face against the Tall Boy’s shirt after he comes inside from grilling, take a big whiff, and fall into a charcoal induced coma.  Seriously, if there was a charcoal scented cologne, I’d buy that for him in an instant.

Does that make me weird?


The Best Pasta Salad Ever {Really}
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 ounces small pasta
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 2%), or mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your pasta according to package directions.
  3. While your pasta is cooking, cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Whisk together Greek yogurt and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.


  1. Blog is the New Black

    This does sound great- minus the mayo for me! A little evoo to get things sliding! 😉
    Blog is the New Black recently posted..S’mores BarsMy Profile

    • Ashley

      I’m not normally a mayo fan, either, but my hubby is. I like your idea of subbing the evoo next time!

    • Susan

      What do you do with the finely chopped stems??? I am guess you add them with the mayo?

  2. Shirley

    This could be the most perfect salad for my next summer get together. Everything tastes better with bacon in it! Wonderful pics!

  3. BruCrew Life

    You just made one of my favorite side dishes into a main meal using pasta…I LOVE IT!!! This is a perfect summer time recipe:-) Your fonts look clear to me btw!!! Have a great day!!!
    BruCrew Life recently posted..Trick or Treat Tuesday!My Profile

    • Ashley

      Hee, you got it, Chung-Ah! I love shopping at Target. So much that it’s usually best for me not to go! =)

    • Ashley

      We’ll definitely be making this again–it was a nice change from our usual potatoes on the grill. We’re creatures of habit around my house (most of the time, anyway).

    • Ashley

      Thank you! It really was very good–it’s one of my new favorites!

  4. Hayley

    Your picture looks clear to me and so does the message that THIS PASTA SALAD LOOKS AWESOME. I LOVE broccoli salad (with golden raisins and bacon and the like) but this sounds like a yummier twist that could almost be made into a meal, too. I see those toasted pecans–yummo!!

    • Ashley

      Jocelyn and Hayley–thanks for the feedback on the font. Maybe it’s just my computer?!?

      Also, I do love that you could easily make this into a main dish. Plus, since it has broccoli in it, it’s like totally healthy, right?!?!?

  5. Hayley

    Your picture looks clear to me and so does the message that this looks AWESOME. I love broccoli salad (with the tangy dressing, golden raisins and bacon and the like) but this looks like it could easily become a meal. Or every meal, if you’re me 🙂

  6. Heidi Bundles Of Hugs

    That does look yummy! I wouldn’t have thought to put grapes in it but I bet it compliments that sweet and salty flavor.
    Heidi Bundles Of Hugs recently posted..Lemon Glazed CakeMy Profile

  7. Terry

    I’m not a fan of mayo either but this sounds yummy. Oh and I do see those pecans!

  8. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

    I’m definitely trying this one soon. YUM.

    I can’t really help you with your PicMonkey problem, but I can tell you that it is no Picnik. I’m going to miss Picnik BIG TIME!! Good luck with your pics!
    Jen @ Jen’s Favorite Cookies recently posted..Iced Oatmeal CookiesMy Profile

  9. Tara @ CrockPotLadies

    Not a big charcoal fan BUT this pasta salad sounds and looks really great! I am a big pasta salad lover!
    On the picture -not sure why but I can see what you mean, very barely noticeable though. I am still hoping to find out that Google decided to not shut down Picnik and will keep it as a free site. (maybe??)
    Thanks for adding to Whip It Up Wednesday!
    Tara @ CrockPotLadies recently posted..Crock-Pot Italian Chicken Noodle Casserole – Whip It Up WednesdayMy Profile

  10. Tracy

    Looks amazingly delicious! I’d have to leave out the pecans since I’m allergic, but that just means I get to add extra bacon, right? 😉

  11. Melissa

    I made this salad for our lunches this week and all I can say is YUMMY!!! It was a big.hit!!!

  12. Deneicer

    Hi! I saw these ‘Man Scents’ awhile ago … and when you mentioned sucking the grilling charcoal smell from your man’s shirt … well; I thought of these candles. LOL!

    I am excited to try the recipe! We have a pot-luck dinner coming this Saturday. Yep, you guessed it: I am making this!

    • Ashley

      Lol! I need that!!

  13. Larisa

    This was delicious. I made it without most of the sugar (only used about one tablespoon) because I like it tangy and don’t need the sugar. Also, I threw the broccoli in with the pasta just for the last second of cooking. It didn’t cook the broccoli (just blanched it a bit) but made it a brighter green. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  14. Jenna

    I made this last night and it was very good. I love these flavors together. You have the sweetness of the sauce and the saltiness of the bacon combined with the cruch of the toasted pecans omg so delish! I will definitely make this again. The only problem I had was when the pecans were in the oven they weren’t toasting. It probably depends on your oven though. I took them out and finished up on the burner and they turned out fine.



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