This creamy, zesty pasta salad with peas and arugula is a modern take on a summer classic. We love the bright lemon zest and shower of crunchy, buttery bread crumbs for texture.
By Katherine Keenan
Jun 21 2021
Creamy Lemon-Basil Pasta SaladPhoto Credit : Katherine Keenan
Pasta salads get a bad rap. Too often, they make us think of overcooked noodles and gobs of mayo. But this humble dish remains a picnic classic for a reason: It’s quick to make, easy to travel with, and when it’s good, it’s good.
Our creamy, zesty rigatoni salad hits all the right notes. It’s an updated take on a 1990 Yankee recipe for lobster pasta salad with basil cream dressing. As a nod to home cooks looking to save on time or cost these days, I opted to eliminate the lobster, but feel free to add it back in if you’d like to dress up your dish (grilled shrimp, chicken, or white beans would also be welcome additions). I also replaced the heavy cream in the dressing with a blend of Greek yogurt and mayo, then threw in some lemon zest for brightness. And adding peas and arugula kept things fresh. Finally, I topped the salad with a shower of crunchy, buttery bread crumbs for textural contrast.
To maintain the salad’s freshness, wait until you’re ready to serve the dish before adding the dressing and the bread crumb topping. The result will be a pasta salad that feels both simple and indulgent at the same time—and one that’s undeniably ready for its moment in the sun.