This cold pasta macaroni salad with crunchy veggies and a sweet homemade ketchup dressing is the perfect side for barbecues, potlucks, and family dinners.
Summertime and macaroni salad just seem to go together, don’t you think? At some table around the world ~ at this very moment ~ there is most likely a family dinner, potluck, or picnic at the beach where pasta salad is making an appearance.
My mom used to make a yummy version with a creamy dressing, ham cubes, and cheese. It was scrumptious. But a few years ago, a friend introduced us to a whole new twist on macaroni salad. We’re hooked.
Unlike most traditional pasta salads with mayonnaise dressing, this one is slightly unusual with a red dressing made with ketchup. I know you may be skeptical, but trust me – it’s delicious!
How to Make Cold Pasta Salad with Ketchup Dressing
Ingredients you’ll need for this cold pasta salad
This sweet macaroni salad is filled with lots of colorful and crisp veggies.
This is one of those salads that you can feel free to mix and match the veggies to fit your preferences. But, this is what I use:
Macaroni Pasta Salad Ingredients
- 3 cups uncooked small pasta – any small pasta like macaroni, small shells, or rotini will do
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 onion, diced finely
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/4 english cucumber, diced
Ingredients for cold pasta salad ketchup dressing
The dressing’s unexpected ingredients adds a taste that’s unique and makes the salad taste even better the next day! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika
Step by step instructions for this pasta salad recipe
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Once it is cooked until al dante, drain it and quickly run cold water over it to cool it completly and stop it from cooking. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Chop all the veggies and stir into the cooled, cooked pasta.
- Mix up the ketchup dressing by whisking all the ingredients together.
- Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and stir until combined.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
What to serve pasta salad with.
Like the Greek Salad recipe I shared a few weeks ago, this salad compliments anything done on the barbecue. Diced ham or grilled chicken can be added to it the next day to make a filling lunch.
It is also a lovely side to sandwiches like tuna melt bunsteads, crock pot pulled pork sandwiches, sloppy joes, and homemade turkey burgers. You can even serve cold pasta salad with this super popular meatloaf recipe.
Other Salad Recipes:
Looking for more salad recipes? Here are some great options:
- Creamy old fashioned potato salad
- Grilled Chicken Salad with Red Chili Peanut Sauce
- Strawberry spinach salad with creamy poppyseed dressing
- 12 tasty summer salads
- Black Bean Salad