For those times when you’re not sure if you want a coleslaw or a pasta salad, make them both – together! All of the tanginess and sweetness that you love in a crunchy coleslaw, coupled with the savoury, homestyle taste of a classic pasta salad! Why have just the one when you can have both?
COLESLAW PASTA SALAD
I wish I could take full credit for creating this Coleslaw Pasta Salad, but I can’t. For the past two years or so, I have seen a recipe like this floating around on social media. But, of course, when I went back to look for it, I couldn’t find it, so I had to get creative and make my own version.
For this particular salad, I have combined the flavours of my Creamy Homestyle Coleslaw with my Mom’s Classic Macaroni Salad. Of course, there’s a few additional ingredients too. They were needed to pull the two salads together and make them more cohesive.
I love the ease of this salad, and I love that I can just serve it up in one dish. And, this salad works so well with so many things. I served it with Grilled Potato Skewers (without the pesto!) and grilled steak. It was such a delicious meal!
SUBTITUTIONS AND SHORTCUTS
There are a lot of ingredients in this salad! Even though most of them will be found in your pantry, fridge, and spice rack, you will need some fresh ingredients too. Those particular ingredients involve a lot of washing, chopping, dicing, and shredding. If you want to take shortcuts, you most certainly can!
One great shortcut is using a store-bought bag of coleslaw mix instead of chopping the cabbage and carrot by hand. Just one bag of Dole coleslaw mix will be plenty. It’s pre-chopped green cabbage, red or purple cabbage, and bright orange shredded carrots. My salad does not have any red cabbage, but you can toss it in anyway.
This salad is super easy and you can adapt it to fit your likes and dislikes. For example, I add a bit of sugar to my coleslaws and my pasta salads. I tend to like just a little bit of sweetness. If you don’t, just omit the sugar completely. In my family, there are some people who cannot stand green pickle relish. I absolutely love it! Again, just like the sugar, you can leave it out.
I guess if you’re reading this, you must like both coleslaw and pasta salads anyway. But, maybe you don’t care for green or red peppers. Can you leave them out? Yes. Will it change the way this salad should taste? Yes. But, it won’t ruin it. It will still be a great Coleslaw Pasta Salad!
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Pasta – Any pasta shape will do. I used ditali, which is a short, round pasta, much like macaroni, but without the slight curve. Be sure to slightly undercook your pasta. Rinse under cold water until completely cooled.
- Red and Green Bell Pepper – You will need half cup of each. Use yellow or orange too if you wish. Be sure to get a nice even dice to make your salad look its best!
- Cabbage – You will need four cups of shredded cabbage.
- Carrots – One small carrot, peeled and julienned is all you need.
- Corn – Use drained canned corn, cooked and cooled frozen corn, or cooked and cooled corn removed from the cob.
- Cheese – Cheddar cheese is so good in this salad. If you used shredded cheese, it gets too soft, so buy a brick of cheese and dice it for best results.
- Sour Cream – Use low fat, non-fat, full fat – whatever you have on hand.
- Worcestershire Sauce – This adds so much flavour!
- Celery Salt – This is commonly found in most spice racks, so you might already have some on hand. If you don’t have it, skip it, but taste at the end and re-season with more regular salt if needed.
- Onion Powder – I use onion powder in a lot of dishes, because I love the flavour, but I’m not a fan of using real onion in salads. It’s just too strong and that’s all I can taste.
- Garlic Powder – Like real onion, real garlic is too strong for this salad. Garlic powder is a better choice.
- Parsley – This is optional, but I love it for the added colour.
- Sweet Pickle Relish – This adds sweetness and texture.
- Sugar – For more sweetness. It also helps to make the sour cream mixture thinner once the sugar dissolves.
- Salt & Pepper – For seasoning – I love lots of black pepper, but use very little salt, because there’s saltiness in some of the other ingredients.
ASSEMBLING A COLESLAW PASTA SALAD
There’s nothing hard about making this salad, if you don’t mind the chopping of vegetables. Once you get that out of the way, it’s all good! The first thing I do is to prepare the dressing. I like the dressing to sit and marry together while I prepare the other ingredients. So, here’s how I make the dressing.
In a bowl, add the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, sweet pickle relish, sugar, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and salt. Whisk to combine. Cover and let it rest in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.
While the pasta is cooking, wash the carrots and bell peppers. Julienne the carrots and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Dice the peppers, being sure to discard the seeds, and transfer them to the bowl with the carrots. Next, work on the cabbage and parsley.
Cut the cabbage into quarters and then cut each quarter into thin, long strips. Measure out four cups and place the prepared cabbage into a bowl of water to wash. Transfer the washed cabbage to a salad spinner and get rid of as much water as possible. Transfer the cabbage to the bowl with the carrots and peppers.
Next, wash the parsley and spin it dry in the salad spinner. Finely chop it, discarding the thicker stems, and transfer the parsley to the bowl with the other ingredients. Add in the drained corn. By that time, the pasta should be ready. Drain it and run it under cold water to rinse off all of the starch and to cool the pasta completely. Add the well-drained pasta to the bowl with the cabbage.
Lastly, dice the cheese and add it to the bowl. Now that all of the larger ingredients are in the bowl, toss them well with tongs or with two rubber spatulas until the ingredients are well combined. Pour the sauce mixture over top. Toss to coat well. Cover the bowl and set in the fridge for at least two hours to chill.
STORING AND REFRIGERATION
It’s important to let the salad chill in the fridge for at least two hours. This will allow the ingredients time to hang out and get to know each other! The vegetables and pasta will absorb some of the sauce and its flavour. The cheese will soften just slightly. The sugar in the sauce will sweeten the other ingredients. And, the Worcestershire sauce is working its savoury magic. There’s a lot of things happening in that bowl, isn’t there!?
After the two hours, the salad is ready to serve. Toss it again before plating just to freshen everything up. The salad does tend to settle a little bit. You can safely store this salad in your fridge for up to three days. Be sure to keep the salad covered at all times.
Coleslaw Pasta Salad
For the Salad:
- 450 grams pasta, cooked
- 4 cups cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup corn, canned (drained well) or frozen (cooked and cooled)
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, diced
For the Dressing:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Measure out all of the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine. Cover and let it rest in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Be sure to undercook the pasta just slightly so that it doesn't get gummy when mixed with the dressing. Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cooled. Drain well.
- Prepare all of the vegetables and the cheese. Place them all into a large mixing bowl along with the cooled pasta. Toss to mix.
- Pour the sauce mixture over top. Toss to coat well. Cover the bowl and set in the fridge for at least two hours to chill.