Cucumber Pasta Salad

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Experience a delightful twist on the traditional pasta salad with this refreshing Cucumber Pasta Salad. Combining the simplicity of pasta, the crispness of cucumbers, the zing of red onion, and a tangy homemade vinaigrette, this recipe effortlessly comes together to create a light and invigorating dish.

Whether you need a speedy dinner side or a standout addition to your picnic or party spread, this recipe is your go-to option, guaranteeing a burst of flavors in every bite.

cucumber pasta salad in a large bowl and served on a plate with a fork.

This Cucumber Pasta Salad is another one of those recipes I’ve been wanting to share on the blog for years. This is a recipe I got from my dad’s wife, Michelle. Over the years, she has made this recipe many times for family gatherings. It has always been a favorite of mine and still is today.

A couple of weeks ago we were talking about the pasta salad and I finally remembered to ask for the recipe. I’m excited to share it with you today. I’ve also shared a few other recipes from her include my favorite pepperoni bread (amazing!) and this seafood lasagna.

As you might already know, I’m a big fan of pasta salad recipes. I’ve made and shared many of them on the blog over the years. Take a peek at the full collection of my best pasta salad recipes.

cucumber pasta salad served in a large bowl.
cucumber pasta salad on a small white plate with a fork.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a refreshing alternative to the heavier, mayo-based salads typically served.
  • With its light and invigorating qualities, the Cucumber Pasta Salad is perfect for warm weather or when you crave a lighter dish. It’s a great option for those who prefer fresher and healthier choices.
  • This recipe is extremely versatile and can be customized to your liking with various herbs and seasonings.
  • You only need a few ingredients to make it, so it’s really easy and quick to put together.
  • The combination of pasta, cucumbers, red onion, and the tangy homemade vinaigrette ensures a harmonious blend of flavors in every bite. The contrasting textures and tastes create a satisfying and delicious experience.
cucumber pasta salad served in a large bowl with two servings on small white plates.

I’m thrilled to be adding this Cucumber Pasta Salad to my collection because it’s totally different when compared to the other recipes I’ve shared. It’s really light and refreshing. Plus, you only need a few ingredients to make it. You won’t be spending an hour in the kitchen chopping up all of the ingredients for this recipe.

It’s also worth mentioning that this is a soupier pasta salad — which basically just means that there’s a lot of dressing. I typically don’t love things overdressed, but in this case, it’s welcomed and wonderful. Not only is it delicious, but the dressing is rather light so it’s not overpowering.

I mention the dressing because it is important that the pasta salad sits for a few hours so that the pasta can soak up some of the dressing. I also don’t want you to think you made a mistake when adding the dressing to the pasta salad. You’ll understand and appreciate it once you give it a taste.

Have I convinced you to give this Cucumber Pasta Salad a try? If so, let me walk you through the recipe.

close up of cucumber pasta salad with red onions on a plate with a fork.

Ingredients

The ingredients needed for this recipe are also simple and accessible, allowing you to whip up this dish at a moment’s notice.

  • Cavatappi Pasta: This spiral-shaped pasta holds onto the dressing beautifully, ensuring each bite is packed with flavor. They’re my favorite.
  • Baby Cucumbers: Crisp and mild, these cucumbers add a refreshing crunch to the salad. You can use traditional sized cucumber here too.
  • Red Onion: Thinly sliced for a sharp, colorful contrast that wakes up the palate.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Drizzled over the pasta for a glossy finish and a smooth mouthfeel.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Provides a tangy base for the dressing, balancing the sweetness and spices perfectly.
  • Water: Helps to dilute the vinegar and balance the intensity of the dressing.
  • Sugar: Adds a hint of sweetness to the dressing, rounding out the flavors.
  • Yellow Mustard: Gives the vinaigrette a vibrant kick and deepens the overall flavor profile.
  • Dried Parsley: Offers a subtle herby backdrop that complements the fresh ingredients.
  • Kosher Salt: Enhances the natural flavors of the salad components.
  • Black Pepper: Adds a slight heat and complexity to the dish.
  • Garlic Salt: Infuses the salad with a warm, garlicky essence that ties all the flavors together.
cucumber pasta salad pinterest images with a bowl of pasta salad and servings on a plate.

How to Make

Okay, we’re ready to put this cucumber pasta salad together. I’ll walk you through the steps below. I’ve also provided a full ingredient list and detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Begin by cooking your pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and then place into a large bowl. A detailed ingredient list and recipe instructions are provided in a printable recipe card below.
  2. Drizzle with the olive oil and then add in the cucumbers and onion.
a large bowl with sliced cucumbers, cooked pasta, and red onions.
  1. The original recipe calls for two large cucumbers peeled and sliced. I opted to use these baby cucumbers instead. You can use whatever cucumber you like. If the skin on your chosen cucumber is tougher, I recommend peeling before slicing.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, yellow mustard, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Pour over the pasta and mix well to combine.
dressing vinaigrette in a measuring cup with a whisk.
pouring dressing over Trim cucumber pasta salad ingredients.
  1. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours (or overnight) before serving.

You can see how easy this Cucumber Pasta Salad is to make. And, since it requires some chilling time in the refrigerator, you can even whip it up the night before. Love that!

cucumber pasta salad in a bowl and served on two smaller plates.

I whipped up this particular batch to take to my dad’s annual Fourth of July party. The container was empty when I took it home. That’s the true sign of a tasty recipe.

Be sure to give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

close up of cucumber pasta salad served in a large white bowl.

Recipe Variations

To keep things interesting, there are plenty of ways to vary up this cucumber pasta salad recipe.

  • One option is to swap out the pasta shape for something different, like rotini or bowtie pasta.
  • Another way to mix things up is to switch out the dressing—try a lemon vinaigrette or a spicy Thai-inspired sauce to give the dish a new flavor profile.
  • You can also experiment with different herbs and spices to add some extra zing, such as fresh basil, mint, or red pepper flakes.
  • If you’re looking to make a heartier meal, consider adding some protein to the salad. A handful of cooked shrimp or grilled chicken can turn this side dish into a satisfying main course.
  • You can also try incorporating different types of veggies, like roasted red peppers or sliced zucchini, for a more colorful and diverse dish.
cucumber pasta salad in a big bowl with a serving spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this cucumber pasta salad in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the salad a few hours ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. Just make sure to give it a quick stir before serving.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Absolutely! You can use any type of pasta you like. Just keep in mind that different types of pasta take different amounts of time to cook, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I use a different type of vinegar for the dressing?

Yes, if you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can substitute with white vinegar or even red wine vinegar. Keep in mind that the flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.

Can I add cheese to the salad?

Yes, you can add crumbled feta or grated Parmesan cheese for an extra burst of flavor.

Can I make this salad gluten-free?

Yes, simply substitute regular pasta with gluten-free pasta of your choice.

close up of noodles, cucumbers, and red onion salad in a bowl.

More Pasta Salad Recipes to Love

I hope you’ll try this cajun potato salad for your next get-together. I know you’re going to LOVE it. If you do, please leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. 

Want more from Inspired by Charm? Follow along on Instagram and TikTok for daily updates and behind-the-scenes looks at my processes. There’s even more inspiration on Facebook and Pinterest!

Easy and Delicious Cucumber Pasta Salad Recipe #pastasalad #cucumber #easy #recipe #pasta #summer #picnic

Cucumber Pasta Salad

This Cucumber Pasta Salad is a light and refreshing take on classic pasta salad. Made with just a few simple ingredients, you can whip this recipe up in no time for a quick dinner side dish or a new picnic/party favorite.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread salad, cucumber, pasta salad, picnic
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 309kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Begin by cooking your pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and then place into a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil and then add in the cucumbers and onion.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, yellow mustard, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Pour over the pasta and mix well to combine.
  • Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Notes

*The original recipe calls for two large cucumbers peeled and sliced. I opted to use these baby cucumbers instead. You can use whatever cucumber you like. If the skin is tough, I recommend peeling before slicing. 

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg

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5 Comments

  1. This looks so good! I’m not a huge fan of pasta salads that have tons of mayo and heavy sauces. I may need to whip this up this weekend after hitting the Farmer’s Market.

  2. Yum! I make a dressing similar to this but I use honey instead of sugar…just to let you know it tastes good that way too if you’re ever avoiding refined sugar 🙂
    I look forward to your posts!