Lighter Pasta Salad with Bacon Peas Bell Peppers


Recipe: Lighter Pasta Salad with Bacon Peas Bell Peppers

Summary: I know a lot of people are looking for new twists on picnic food, and this salad is a great way to switch up your normal pasta salad routine.


  • 8 oz pasta (I used gemelli, but you can use any shape you like)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, diced
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 medium onion, very finely diced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat mayo or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced


  1. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions; drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat; add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  3. Whisk together the cream cheese, onion, mayo or Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. (Alternatively, process everything together in a food processor until smooth.) Toss in the pasta, peas, red bell pepper, and shallot in the dressing. Refrigerate until serving, and toss in the bacon (or sprinkle it on top) right before serving.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Recipe adapted from

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