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Cottage Cheese Pasta Salad is a refreshing and protein-packed side dish with flavored cottage cheese, fresh vegetables, Italian dressing, and tender pasta!

This post is sponsored by AE Dairy,
but all opinions and text are my own!

Birdseye view of a large bowl of creamy pasta salad.

Why I love Cottage Cheese Pasta Salad

  • Protein!!!!!  Cottage cheese is a great source of protein.  You could even use a high-protein pasta for an added boost!
  • It’s so versatile.  I love using whatever vegetables I’ve got on hand to mix in!
  • You can use any medium-sized pasta and can even use whole wheat pasta!
  • It’s a very simple recipe with simple ingredients!  I think we all love that!
  • Did I mention it’s DELICIOUS?!  With the tangy flavor of the dressing and the flavor-packed Garden Vegetable Cottage Cheese from AE Dairy….seriously, YUM.
Ingredients needed to make cottage cheese pasta salad:  cottage cheese, cooked pasta, cheese, vegetables and Italian dressing.

Ingredients Needed

  • Cottage Cheese – You can use plain cottage cheese (small or large curd) or AE Dairy’s Garden Vegetable Cottage Cheese.  You can also opt to use low fat cottage cheese.
  • Italian Dressing – Homemade or store-bought is fine.  You can use other salad dressings such as ranch if you prefer that flavor.
  • Pasta – My favorite shapes to use are rotini, farfalle (bowtie), penne and elbow macaroni.  You can use regular, whole wheat, gluten-free, high-protein, etc!
  • Vegetables – The options are endless!  I typically use cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, broccoli, bell peppers and red onion.
  • Cheese – I use cubed cheddar cheese, but you can use other kinds as well.

How to Make Cottage Cheese Pasta Salad

Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water.  Cook time will depend on the shape of pasta you use.  Then, drain the hot pasta and rinse with cold water.  

Close up photo of a bowl of garden vegetable cottage cheese.

While the pasta is cooking, you’ll make the creamy sauce.  To do so, you’ll need a blender or a food processor.  Add the cottage cheese and dressing and mix until nice and smooth.

Flavored whipped cottage cheese in the bowl of a food processor.

In a large bowl combine the cooked pasta, vegetables, cheese and creamy cottage cheese sauce.  Mix gently until well-coated and give it a taste.  Season with salt and black pepper, if desired.

The last thing you’ll do is chill the salad and enjoy!

Creamy cottage cheese pasta salad in a bowl on a wooden cutting board.

Tips for Making a Great Pasta Salad

  • Be sure to add salt to the water when cooking the pasta noodles.  Starting with bland noodles is never good!
  • Don’t overcook or undercook the pasta.  You want the pasta to be soft but not mushy.
  • Add a variety of vegetables with bright colors and different textures.
  • Chill the salad before serving. It’s much more tasty and refreshing when cold rather than room temperature.
Fork with a scoop of creamy cottage cheese pasta salad on it.

Other Delicious Add-Ins

When it comes to pasta salad, the options for add-ins are endless!!  Here are a few of my favorite…

  • Cooked and crumbled bacon – That crispy, salty touch is SO good! Diced ham is another great option.
  • Peas – Adds a lovely pop of sweetness and color!
  • Olives – My husband and kids love having black olives in their pasta salad!
  • Cheese – Try crumbled feta cheese, cubed mozzarella, Colby jack, etc!
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs – If you’re going for protein-packed, adding chopped hard-boiled eggs is a great way to do so!
Small bowl with cottage cheese pasta salad in it with lots of vegetables.

Other Popular Side Dishes

Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Garden Lettuce with Dressing

Sweet Macaroni Salad

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Tortellini Pasta Salad

Cottage cheese pasta salad with a container of cottage cheese next to it.

I hope you all enjoy this lightened-up pasta salad as much as our family does!  It’s a great recipe to add to your summer rotation!

White bowl full of pasta salad.
large bowl with cottage cheese pasta salad.

Cottage Cheese Pasta Salad

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
12 2/3 cup servings
Cottage Cheese Pasta Salad is a refreshing and protein-packed side dish with flavored cottage cheese, fresh vegetables, Italian dressing and tender pasta!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup cottage cheese garden vegetable or regular
  • 1/3 cup Italian dressing light or regular
  • 12 ounces dry rotini pasta whole wheat or regular
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers any color
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup cubed cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the cottage cheese and Italian dressing to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Add the pasta, veggies, cheese and dressing to a large bowl. Toss until well-coated.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 7.2g | Fat: 4.6g | Saturated Fat: 1.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 8.6mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1060IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2.4mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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