The addition of pasta turns creamy broccoli cheddar salad into a meal-in-one. Serve as a fuss-free lunch, bring to a potluck, or add to a casual buffet.
Everything is better with bacon - including this pasta salad!
Why you will love this
- Pasta - I love pasta with nooks and crannies to capture the dressing. I used Cavatappi which has a corkscrew shape. Rotini, Fusilli, Farfalle, and small shells are all great options.
- Bacon - Thick-cut bacon adds a meaty bite. Maple bacon is also delicious in this salad.
- Red onion adds great flavor and bright color. If you don't like the taste of raw onion, you can substitute chopped scallions.
- Cheddar cheese - While I typically recommend using freshly shredded cheese, pre-shredded packaged cheese works just fine in this recipe. Freshly shredded cheese has more moisture which can cause it to clump together when tossed with the other ingredients.
- Miracle Whip - I love the tangy flavor of Miracle Whip, but mayonnaise can also be used.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Cook the pasta in well salted water according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add the broccoli, onion, bacon, and cheese.
- In a small bowl, combine the Miracle Whip, sugar, and vinegar. Whisk until well blended.
- Pour ½ of the dressing over the other ingredients. Toss until everything is evenly coated. Add more dressing as needed. Refrigerate extra dressing to add later. The pasta may absorb some of the dressing as it sits.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate to allow flavors to blend more. Salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
No. It's optional but not necessary. The broccoli will soften in the dressing as it sits. If you prefer broccoli with a more tender bite and want to eat the salad immediately, you can blanch the broccoli for 30-60 seconds. Then transfer it to ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and add to the salad.
If you prefer a less-sweet dressing, reduce the amount of sugar to ½ cup. Add more as needed to adjust to your personal taste.
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Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces Cavatappi (or similar short pasta)
- 5 cup broccoli florets (Note 1)
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 pound bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- 8 ounces yellow cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups Miracle Whip
- 1 cup granulated sugar (Note 2)
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Cook the pasta in well-salted water (Note 3) according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, broccoli, onion, bacon, and cheddar cheese. Toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, prepare the dressing: combine the Miracle Whip, sugar and vinegar. Mix until incorporated.
- Pour ½ of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add more as needed. Store the extra dressing in the refrigerator. Add more dressing as needed after storing since the pasta will absorb some of the dressing.
- Refrigerate to allow flavors to blend. Salad will keep well in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.
- The broccoli does not need to be pre-cooked. It will soften as it sits in the dressing. If you prefer broccoli with a softer bite, blanch the broccoli for 30-60 seconds. Transfer it to ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well before adding to the salad.
- For a less-sweet dressing, start with ½ cup of sugar and adjust to your taste from there.
- Season the pasta water with 2-3 teaspoons of salt for 12 ounces of pasta.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.