Healthy Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas
There is only one thing that is better than a creamy yet healthy pasta salad with ham and peas, and that one thing is an ultra-creamy version made with Greek yogurt and whole-wheat pasta!
Why We Love This Creamy Ham and Pea Pasta Salad Recipe
Recently I made this Healthy Potato Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs and Greek Yogurt Dressing, and it reminded me that I have been meaning to share this Healthy Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas with you here.
Like my Creamy Macaroni Salad with Cheese and Veggies, I lightened up today’s pasta salad using a similar technique. Instead of masses of mayo, I used Greek yogurt to make it creamy! The dressing has 1 cup of Greek yogurt, and only 3 tablespoons of mayo. That saves a ton of calories, but there is lots of creamy dressing to make the pasta salad seem indulgent and classic tasting.
I used ham and peas in this pasta salad, because it is a favorite old-fashioned pasta salad combination that everyone knows and loves and is always a real crowd-pleaser.
If you are here because you are working on planning out summer picnic, barbecue and cookout menus, I have to throw a couple more ideas into the mix to round out your menu! Make sure to check out my Healthy Italian Pasta Salad for another light and yummy version of pasta salad. This Panzanella with extra veggies is a color and flavor bomb! And my brand new Orzo Pasta Salad is definitely going to be your new go-to summer side salad, because it only takes 30 minutes! This Mexican Pasta Salad is a great idea for a twist on a classic dish.
Pasta: I made it with whole wheat farfalle, or bow tie pasta, because it is higher in fiber than white pasta. If you are gluten-free, by all means, use gluten-free pasta, and it will come out great! (Use 10 1/2 ounces)
Peas: I love how easy it is to use frozen peas in this recipe. Simply pour them into a fine-mesh sieve and run cold running water over them to thaw them out. Of course, you can use fresh English Shelling Peas if you happen to have them. Blanch them in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes to lightly cook them.
Ham: To give this pasta salad a smoky taste and hearty protein I added in 1 cup of finely diced ham. I recommend a high-quality smoked ham from a local source if possible.
Veggies: To add texture, flavor, and low-calorie volume, I added more veggies. I used 1 cup finely diced celery hearts and ½ cup finely chopped scallions.
Low-fat Greek yogurt: This lightened the dressing and saved 180 calories per serving!
Mayonnaise: You only need a little because Greek yogurt is nice and creamy. For the best flavor use full-fat mayonnaise.
Seasonings: I also added scallion, dill, tarragon, vinegar, and mustard for added flavor. Adding flavor from these ingredients helps keep it super yummy tasting when you cut back on the mayo.
Step-By-Step Instructions For This Pasta Salad with Peas and Ham
Step 1: Cook Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain thoroughly. Run cold water over the pasta to cool.
Step 2: Make Dressing
Meanwhile whisk Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon, salt, dill, tarragon, and pepper in a large bowl.
Step 3: Stir Salad Together
Add the cooked pasta to the Greek yogurt mixture and toss to coat. Add peas, ham, celery and scallions. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance. Stir again before serving.
FAQs and Expert Tips For This Recipe
This can be made up to 2 days ahead. Stir well before serving. If the dressing has been absorbed into the salad and it seems dry, you can add a little splash of buttermilk to thin it out and loosen it back up a bit. If the flavors seem muted, add a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt and stir well.
Gluten-free pasta works well for pasta salad. Make sure to follow package instructions when cooking it so that it is not overcooked, or undercooked. Drain it very well and make sure to rinse it before adding it to the dressing.
If you want to make this a vegetarian recipe, you can omit the ham and instead use 1 cup of chopped fresh veggies (such as peppers and carrots) or drained canned chickpeas or kidney beans instead.
More Healthy Summer Picnic Salad Recipes:
- The crunchy Ramen Noodles in this Asian Napa Cabbage Salad are a great contrast in texture. It is a distant cousin of this Cucumber and Napa Cabbage Coleslaw.
- This protein-packed Chickpea Salad with Avocado Dressing is a vegan side to share with pretty much everyone since it is plant-based and gluten-free. Another chickpea salad to try is Chickpea and Grilled Corn Salad.
- I recently shared this recipe for easy Barley Salad which has a distinctly Mediterranean flair. It’s vegan too, but you could easily add feta if you are craving a bit of cheese too.
- This Zippy jalapeno and lime Kohlrabi Slaw is great for Mexican-inspired menus or just as a simple refreshing side for a cookout.
- Probably the easiest and also low-calorie option that goes with a wide variety of meals is this Simple Skinny Cucumber Salad.
- If you are looking for more classics (made healthier) then this Healthy Coleslaw is a great one too!
Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
There is only one thing better than creamy pasta salad with ham and peas, and that one thing is a healthier version made with Greek yogurt and whole-wheat pasta. So meet my Healthy Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas. It’s ready in just 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for all your summer cook-outs!
- 4 cups farfalle pasta, whole-grain or gluten-free if desired (10.5 ounces)
- 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup finely diced ham
- 1 cup finely diced celery hearts
- ½ cup finely chopped scallions
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain thoroughly. Run cold water over the pasta to cool.
- Meanwhile whisk Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon, salt, dill, tarragon, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Add the cooked pasta to the Greek yogurt mixture and toss to coat. Add peas, ham, celery and scallions. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance. Stir again before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 202
- Sugar: 3 g
- Sodium: 296 mg
- Fat: 4 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 32 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Cholesterol: 10 mg