Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is an easy and inexpensive classic for potlucks, summer BBQs, or an easy side dish for dinner.

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You can’t have a summer potluck or BBQ without a big ol’ bowl of macaroni salad. It’s a classic summer comfort food. Cold, creamy, carby, and delicious. And cheap! Which is great because we all need that right now. But macaroni salad isn’t just good for gatherings, it’s also a great side to meal prep for your lunches for the week.

Overhead view of macaroni salad in a bowl.

What’s In Macaroni Salad?

Macaroni salad starts with a base of one of our favorite budget-friendly ingredient, macaroni. We add a little celery, bell pepper, and red onion for color and crunch, and a couple of hard-boiled eggs to give the salad more heft. All of this gets finished off with a super creamy dressing made with mayo, Dijon, sweet pickle relish, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Classicly creamy, sweet, tangy, crunchy, and delicious.

Adjust the Sweetness

There are two main camps when it comes to macaroni salad, sweet and not so sweet. I like my macaroni salad with just a touch of sweetness to balance the acidity and creaminess of the dressing, so that’s what you’ll get with the recipe below. If you like a sweet macaroni salad, you can simply add more sugar to taste (up to about ¼ cup sugar).

What Else Can I Add to Macaroni Salad?

Macaroni Salad is another one of those great catch-all recipes. You can add all sorts of ingredients for color, texture, and flavor. Here are some ideas for other ingredients to add to your macaroni salad:

  • Cheddar cheese cubes
  • Broccoli florets
  • Peas
  • Black olives
  • Shredded carrots
  • Diced ham
  • Chopped parsley

How Long Does Macaroni Salad Stay Good?

Macaroni salad can be kept in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. The macaroni will continue to absorb moisture as it sits in the refrigerator, so you may find it gets a little drier each day. If taking your macaroni salad to a potluck or BBQ, make sure to not let it sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.

close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.
close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is an easy and inexpensive classic for potlucks, summer BBQs, or an easy side dish for dinner.
Course Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.89 recipe / $0.61 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 ¾ cup each
Calories 332kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs $0.48
  • 1/2 red bell pepper $0.75
  • 1/2 red onion $0.20
  • 2 ribs celery $0.47
  • 8 oz. macaroni $0.67

Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise $1.16
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.18
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Chop the salad ingredients first, so they're ready to go. Dice the hard-boiled eggs, bell pepper, onion, and celery.
  • Boil the macaroni until tender, then drain it in a colander. Briefly rinse the pasta with cool water to cool it off.
  • While the macaroni is boiling, prepare the dressing. Stir together the mayonnaise, Dijon, relish, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Combine the cooled and drained macaroni, egg, bell pepper, celery, and onion in a bowl. Pour the dressing over top, then stir until everything is well combined and coated in dressing.
  • Serve the macaroni salad immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 385mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Macaroni Salad – Step by Step Photos

Chopped salad ingredients on a cutting board.

Chop the macaroni salad add-ins first. Dice two hard-boiled eggs (here’s a tutorial on how to make hard-boiled eggs, if needed), ½ of a red bell pepper, 2 ribs of celery, and ½ of a red onion.

Cooked macaroni in a colander.

Next, boil 8oz. elbow macaroni until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to cool down the pasta.

Dressing ingredients in a bowl.

While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp sweet relish, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Macaroni and salad ingredients in a bowl.

Add the cooked and cooled macaroni to a large bowl along with the chopped egg, bell pepper, celery, and red onion.

Dressing poured over the salad ingredients.

Pour the prepared dressing over the salad in the bowl.

Finished macaroni salad in a bowl.

And now your macaroni salad is ready to eat! Make sure to keep it in the refrigerator if you don’t plan to serve it right away, and give it a good stir again just before serving.

close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.

Need more recipe ideas for your summer gatherings? Check out our round-up of Recipes for Summer BBQs and Potlucks.

The post Macaroni Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad, and the perfect side dish for any summer meal.

The post Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Not a summer goes by without me making this incredible Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad. It’s so fresh and delicious, quick to make, AND it stays good in the fridge for days. What more could you want from a summer salad?? Plus, it’s a great dish to bring to all those summer potlucks and BBQs, too!

Originally posted 6-19-2013, updated 6-18-2022.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad with lemons on the side.

What is Couscous?

Couscous is a small, ball-shaped pasta. It cooks really fast, is a fun texture, and is a great way to bulk up salads. The variety used for this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a larger-sized couscous called pearl couscous, or sometimes Israeli couscous or giant couscous. If you can’t find pearl couscous, you can use regular couscous or even orzo in its place (orzo would be my first choice since it’s similar in size). Regular couscous cooks a little differently, so take a look at this couscous salad (made with regular-sized couscous) for cooking instructions and size reference.

Can I Use Bottled Lemon Juice?

Fresh lemon is key to achieving the powerfully fresh lemon flavor in this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad, so I do not suggest substituting the fresh lemon with bottled lemon juice. The lemon zest alone is responsible for most of the lemon flavor in this salad, and, unfortunately, you just can’t get that from bottled juice.

What to Serve with Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

This super fresh summer salad is a great side dish for anything you might cook on the grill, or you could serve it with something like Garlic Marinated Chicken, a giant Veggie Sandwich, or Mediterranean Turkey Burgers.

How Are the Leftovers?

I love this salad so much simply because it stays good in the fridge for days. The couscous sort of acts like a moisture regulator, keeping the cucumbers from getting soft or soggy and keeping the salad almost as perfect as it was on day one. So if you’re looking for something to meal prep for lunch this summer, this couscous salad is it!

Close up side view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl.

Overhead view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl garnished with lemons.

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad perfect for any summer meal. 
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Middle-Eastern
Total Cost $6.46 recipe / $1.08 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 250kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups pearl couscous $2.20
  • 1 fresh lemon $0.89
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 English cucumber $1.49
  • 1/4 bunch parsley $0.27
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled $1.23

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the couscous and continue to boil for about minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Drain the couscous in a colander or wire strainer. Rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the couscous, then allow to drain while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Zest the lemon and then squeeze the juice. You'll need about ½ tsp of zest and 3 Tbsp of juice.
  • Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Chop the cucumber into quarter-rounds and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Add the cooled and drained couscous to a large bowl along with the cucumber, parsley, lemon zest, and feta. Pour the dressing over top, then stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Video

Notes

If you are substituting regular couscous for Israeli couscous, be aware that the cooking instructions are different. You can find instructions and step by step photos in this recipe post. You can substitute orzo for the couscous without any adjustments.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 265mg | Fiber: 3g

Side view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad.

How to Make Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad – Step by Step Photos

A package of pearl couscous.

This is what pearl or Israeli couscous looks like. It cooks exactly like pasta. For reference, check out this couscous salad to see the size of regular couscous. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of pearl couscous for this recipe.

Cooked couscous draining in a colander.

To cook the couscous, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add the couscous, and then continue to boil until the couscous is tender. Since the couscous is small, it cooks very quickly (about 5 minutes). Drain the couscous and then rinse briefly with cool water to bring the temperature down. 

Zested and juiced lemon.

While the couscous is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the salad. Start by zesting and juicing one lemon. You’ll need about 1 tsp zest and 3 Tbsp juice.

Lemony dressing in a bowl with a whisk.

To make the lemony dressing, whisk together 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. If you’re a garlic lover, you can mince up a clove of fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. I decided that I wanted the salad to have just a hint of garlic flavor, so I added a touch of powdered garlic instead of fresh.

Chopped parsley and cucumber on a cutting board.

Roughly chop ¼ bunch parsley (about ½ cup chopped) and slice one cucumber into quarter-rounds.

Salad ingredients in the bowl, not mixed.

Transfer the cooked and cooled couscous to a large bowl, then add the chopped parsley and cucumber, and about 3 oz. crumbled feta.

Dressing being poured over the salad.

Pour the prepared dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl.

Finished lemony cucumber couscous salad in the bowl with a large spoon.

Stir the salad until everything is evenly mixed and coated in dressing. You can give it a taste here and adjust the salt, pepper, or any other ingredients to your liking.

Overhead view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl garnished with lemons.

And now you’re ready to eat! Or, you can chill it until it’s time for dinner. The flavors get even better as it chills and once it’s cold the salad is extra refreshing!

Close up side view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad.

Seriously, this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is my favorite summer treat. Sometimes I add a grilled chicken breast on top and make it a meal. A dollop of hummus is also good in there!

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad perfect for any summer meal. BudgetBytes.com

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Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Lemon Ricotta Pasta is light, fresh, and quick to prepare, making it the perfect pasta for weeknight dinners in the summer.

The post Lemon Ricotta Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s a quickie recipe for those nights when you just need something fast and delicious. This Lemon Ricotta Pasta is super fast, light, and fresh, which makes it perfect for an easy weeknight dinner during the summer. The bright lemon flavor perfectly compliments the light and creamy ricotta, and the little pops of sweetness from the peas make every bite a little more interesting. Simple, fresh, and easy.

Originally posted 3-4-2011, updated 6-8-2022.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemon ricotta pasta with a fork and lemon wedges.

Do I Have to Use Fresh Lemon?

This is one of those recipes where you really do want to use a fresh lemon instead of bottled juice. The zest from the lemon adds a ton of bright, summery lemon flavor to the pasta without making the sauce too sour. We add just a little of the juice to balance the creaminess of the ricotta, but the zest is where you’re getting all that gorgeous sunny lemon flavor!

Not All Ricotta is Created Equal

I find there is quite a bit of variation in the quality of ricotta from brand to brand. Some are smooth, mild, and sweet like fresh milk, while others are bland and grainy. My preferred brand is Galbani, but they didn’t have any at the store when I went, so I got the generic Kroger brand. It was definitely a bit grainy, but the pasta was still quite delicious despite that!

Also, make sure to get whole milk ricotta. Low-fat ricotta just doesn’t hit the same in this recipe.

What Else Can I Add?

This simple pasta is a great jumping-off point for making a more elaborate pasta, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. Try adding some sliced chicken breast, fresh basil, or fresh spinach. Garlic butter shrimp would also go great with this pasta!

What to Serve with Lemon Ricotta Pasta

This pasta is so light and fresh that I suggest keeping any side dishes really simple, light, and fresh as well. I would go with a super simple side salad, or maybe some roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

Overhead view of lemon ricotta pasta in a skillet.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemon ricotta pasta.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Lemon Ricotta Pasta is light, fresh, and quick to prepare, making it the perfect pasta for weeknight dinners in the summer.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.27 recipe / $1.07 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 400kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon $0.89
  • 8 oz. pasta* $0.67
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.50
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.11
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta $1.60
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.36
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste) $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (or to taste) $0.02
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper (or to taste) $0.02

Instructions

  • Zest and juice the lemon. You'll need about ½ tsp zest and 1 Tbsp lemon juice.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Before draining, reserve about 1 cup of the starchy water from the pot.
  • Place the frozen peas in the colander before draining the pasta so the pasta will thaw the peas as it drains.
  • Add the butter and minced garlic to a large skillet and sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the drained pasta and peas, and about ½ cup of the starchy pasta cooking water to the skillet with the butter and garlic. Stir to combine, then turn off the heat.
  • Add the ricotta, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon lemon zest to the skillet. Stir until everything is well combined, the residual heat from the skillet and pasta have warmed the ricotta, and the ricotta has formed a creamy sauce. Add more of the warm reserved pasta water if needed.
  • Season the pasta with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Notes

*Use any short shape pasta.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 335mg | Fiber: 4g

close up side view of lemon ricotta pasta in a bowl.

How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pasta – Step By Step Photos

A zested and juiced lemon on a cutting board.

Zest and juice one lemon. You’ll need about ½ tsp of zest and 1 Tbsp juice.

Boiled pasta in a pot, water being scooped out with a measuring cup.

Cook 8oz. pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Reserve about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining.

Peas and cooked pasta in a colander.

Add 1 cup of frozen peas to a colander, then pour the boiled pasta over top to thaw the peas as you drain the pasta.

Sautéed garlic in butter in a skillet.

Add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 clove garlic to a large skillet. Sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic becomes very fragrant.

Pasta, peas, and pasta water added to the skillet.

Add the still-hot pasta and peas to the skillet along with about ½ cup of the hot reserved pasta water. Stir to combine, then turn off the heat.

Cheese and lemon added to pasta.

Add 1 cup whole milk ricotta, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and ½ tsp lemon zest to the pasta. Stir until the ingredients are combined, the residual heat from the pasta and skillet have warmed the ricotta, and the ricotta has turned into a creamy sauce.

Salt, pepper, and red pepper added to the pasta.

Add more of the reserved pasta water if the mixture is too thick or too dry. Season the pasta with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.

Finished lemon ricotta pasta in the skillet.

Enjoy the lemon ricotta pasta while still warm!

Overhead view of a bowl of lemon ricotta pasta.

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Couscous Salad

So many delicious corn salad recipes out there and here comes another one! This cheery couscous corn salad is not only delicious
The post Couscous Salad appeared first on Salty Side Dish Recipes.

So many delicious corn salad recipes out there and here comes another one! This cheery couscous corn salad is not only delicious

The post Couscous Salad appeared first on Salty Side Dish Recipes.

Arugula Pasta Salad with Chickpeas and Sun Dried Tomatoes (no mayo)

With spicy arugula, canned chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar, this pasta salad is fresh and delicious and made with no mayo. Arugula Pasta Salad with Chickpeas This delicious light summer pasta salad is perfect for those warm summer nights when you want something more substantial than just salad greens. It’s a […]

The post Arugula Pasta Salad with Chickpeas and Sun Dried Tomatoes (no mayo) appeared first on Skinnytaste.

With spicy arugula, canned chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar, this pasta salad is fresh and delicious and made with no mayo.

Pasta salad no mayo
Arugula Pasta Salad with Chickpeas

This delicious light summer pasta salad is perfect for those warm summer nights when you want something more substantial than just salad greens. It’s a great, budget-friendly, vegetarian meal which gets protein and fiber from canned chickpeas. For even more protein you can use chickpea pasta instead of wheat. This is perfect for lunch or dinner, and the portions are very satisfying. More pasta salad recipes with no mayo you will love, Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Veggies and this Greek Pasta Salad.

(more…)

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Soba Noodle Salad

Here is a simple recipe for Soba Noodle Salad, loaded with seasonal veggies, that is adaptable and vegan!  For a protein boost, top with savory tofu, smoked salmon, grilled chicken.  Quick, easy and full of earthy-crunchy goodness. (updated 3/2022) Whe…

A simple recipe for Soba Noodle Salad, loaded with veggies, that is adaptable and vegan!  For a protein boost, top with savory baked tofu, smoked salmon, grilled chicken.
Here is a simple recipe for Soba Noodle Salad, loaded with seasonal veggies, that is adaptable and vegan!  For a protein boost, top with savory tofu, smoked salmon, grilled chicken.  Quick, easy and full of earthy-crunchy goodness. (updated 3/2022) When you say “yes” to what is, you become aligned with the power and intelligence of Life...

Italian Turkey Meatballs

We love these juicy, Italian turkey meatballs in homemade tomato sauce. Serve them over your favorite pasta, pizza or sandwich! Italian Turkey Meatballs I buy a package of ground turkey every week with no plan on how I am going to use them. Some days I make tacos, turkey meatloaf or ground turkey skillet. But […]

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We love these juicy, Italian turkey meatballs in homemade tomato sauce. Serve them over your favorite pasta, pizza or sandwich!

talian Turkey Meatballs
Italian Turkey Meatballs

I buy a package of ground turkey every week with no plan on how I am going to use them. Some days I make tacos, turkey meatloaf or ground turkey skillet. But most days I turn them into meatballs. And my family loves them, so that’s a big win! I have SO many turkey meatball recipes in the archives, some highlights are Instant Pot Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, Cheesy Turkey Meatball Skillet, and Asian Turkey Meatballs.

(more…)

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Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes

Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes makes a vibrant Spring pasta salad, perfect to bring to a potluck or to serve as a BBQ side dish. Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad Pearl couscous (otherwise known as Isreali couscous) is essentially perfectly round pasta with a delightful chewiness that’s ideal as a base for salads like this […]

The post Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes appeared first on Skinnytaste.

Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes makes a vibrant Spring pasta salad, perfect to bring to a potluck or to serve as a BBQ side dish.

Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad
Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad

Pearl couscous (otherwise known as Isreali couscous) is essentially perfectly round pasta with a delightful chewiness that’s ideal as a base for salads like this one! Here I tossed it with asparagus, tomatoes and lemon juice to make a vibrant Spring pasta salad that is perfect as a main dish or even to make as a side dish if you are grilling for Mother’s Day this weekend! Serve this with a Whole Roasted Chicken, Grilled Salmon Kabobs or Grilled Bourbon Chicken.

(more…)

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Spring Pea Pesto

Quick and easy to make, this Spring Pea Pesto is deliciously vibrant with fresh herby flavor.  Perfect for a dip, spread or use as a sauce with pasta and buddha bowls.  Vegan and gluten-free! Ten times a day something happens to me like this- some stre…

Quick and easy to make, this Spring Pea Pesto is deliciously vibrant with fresh herby flavor.  Perfect for a dip, spread or use as a sauce with pasta and buddha bowls.  Vegan and gluten free!
Quick and easy to make, this Spring Pea Pesto is deliciously vibrant with fresh herby flavor.  Perfect for a dip, spread or use as a sauce with pasta and buddha bowls.  Vegan and gluten-free! Ten times a day something happens to me like this- some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping...

Pasta with Bacon and Peas

Pasta with Bacon and Peas is a quick, satisfying, and inexpensive meal that you can make with ingredients that you can keep on hand.

The post Pasta with Bacon and Peas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s always a good idea to rummage through your pantry and freezer every week to see what ingredients you might need to use up. This week for me it was a half box of pasta, some frozen bacon, and frozen peas that were almost too frosty. So I took my favorite quick meal template (pasta + Parmesan + greens) and added in bacon for a simple and delicious meal. This Pasta with Bacon and Peas is definitely going on my regular rotation list!!

Overhead view of a bowl of pasta with bacon and peas

What Kind of Pasta to Use

You can literally use any type of pasta you have on hand for this recipe, which makes it a great option for using up leftovers in your pantry. Spaghetti, bowtie, fusilli, penne, or even ramen would work! I happened to have these little pasta shells, which turned out so cute because the peas would get caught in the shells and that made them look like peas in a pod. :)

What Else Can I Add?

As with most of my recipes, I love creating a nice simple “base” that you can enjoy as is, or add to if you have other ingredients on hand. Here are some other things you can add to this Pasta with Bacon and Peas that would be super delish:

  • Top with a fried egg or chopped hard boiled egg
  • Toss in a handful of fresh spinach
  • Top with crispy fried onions
  • Sprinkle on a dash of malt vinegar
  • Add heavy cream to make it saucy
Pasta with bacon and peas in the skillet.
Close up overhead view of a bowl of pasta with bacon and peas.

Pasta with Bacon and Peas

Pasta with Bacon and Peas is a quick, satisfying, and inexpensive meal that you can make with ingredients that you can keep on hand.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.00 recipe / $1.33 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 601kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. pasta* $0.63
  • 6 oz. bacon $2.06
  • 1 small onion $0.32
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.50
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.44
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) $0.01

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (7-10 minutes). Reserve about a half cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta is boiling, cook the bacon. Add the bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until brown and crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Drain most of the bacon grease from the pan, leaving about 2 Tbsp.
  • While the bacon is cooking, finely dice the onion. Add the diced onion to the remaining bacon grease and sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the frozen peas and about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the peas have heated through.
  • Add the drained pasta to the skillet, stir to combine, and remove from the heat.
  • Top the pasta with Parmesan, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and crumbled bacon. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Notes

*You can use any type of pasta available.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.3cups | Calories: 601kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 724mg | Fiber: 6g
close up side view of pasta with bacon and peas in the skillet.

How to Make Pasta with Bacon and Peas – Step by Step Photos

Pasta shells in a pot of water

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining in a colander.

Cooking bacon in a skillet.

While the pasta is cooking, begin the bacon. Add 6oz. bacon (or however much you have on hand) to a skillet and cook over medium heat until brown and crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Drain all but 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease from the pan.

Sauteed onion in the skillet.

While the bacon is cooking, finely dice a small yellow onion (or half of a large onion). After removing the bacon from the skillet, add the diced onion to the remaining bacon fat and sauté over medium heat until tender (about 5 minutes). The moisture from the onion will help dissolve some of the browned bits of bacon from the bottom of the pan.

Peas and pasta water added to skillet.

Once the onions are softened, add 1 cup frozen peas and about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the peas have heated through.

Drained pasta added back to the skillet.

Add the drained pasta back to the skillet and stir to combine. Turn off the heat.

Parmesan and bacon added to the skillet.

Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper to the pasta, then crumble the cooked bacon over top.

Finished bacon with pasta and peas.

Stir until everything is well combined and coated in Parmesan. Taste the pasta and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Try These Other Quick Pasta Recipes

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