Catalina Dream Pasta Salad

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Catalina Dressing Pasta Salad: A Flavorful and Easy Side Dish

Catalina dressing pasta salad is a delightful and refreshing side dish perfect for potlucks, picnics, barbecues, or a quick and easy weeknight meal. Packed with vibrant flavors and textures, it’s a crowd-pleaser that comes together in minutes.

Catalina Pasta Salad - Lisa G Cooks
Catalina Pasta Salad – Lisa G Cooks


1 pound (454 g) rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained

  • 1 cup (226 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (150 g) chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup (150 g) chopped red onion
  • 1 cup (150 g) diced cooked ham (optional)
  • 1 cup (150 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Catalina dressing
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Cook the pasta: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rotini according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool slightly.

    2. Prepare the vegetables: While the pasta cools, halve the cherry tomatoes, chop the cucumber and red onion, and dice the cooked ham (if using).

    3. Combine the ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, cooked ham (if using), mozzarella cheese, and Catalina dressing. Toss gently to coat all ingredients evenly.

    4. Season and serve: Season the pasta salad with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.

    Nutrition Facts:

    (Please note that these are approximate values and may vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.)

    Serving size: 1 cup (226 g)

  • Calories: 400
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 30 mg
  • Sodium: 400 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 50 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Protein: 15 g

  • Conclusion

    Catalina dressing pasta salad is a versatile dish that can be easily customized to your preferences. Feel free to add other chopped vegetables like bell peppers, olives, or celery for additional flavor and texture. You can also substitute the ham with cooked chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken for a protein boost.

    This pasta salad is best enjoyed fresh, but it can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


    1. Can I use a different type of pasta?

    Absolutely! Any short-shaped pasta like penne, macaroni, or farfalle will work well in this recipe.

    2. What if I don’t have Catalina dressing?

    You can substitute Catalina dressing with another creamy vinaigrette salad dressing, such as Italian dressing or ranch dressing.

    3. Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?

    Yes, you can assemble the pasta salad up to 24 hours in advance. However, it’s best to wait to add the dressing until just before serving to prevent the pasta from becoming soggy.

    4. How can I make this vegetarian?

    Simply omit the cooked ham from the recipe. The pasta salad will still be delicious and satisfying.

    5. Is this pasta salad gluten-free?

    No, the rotini pasta contains gluten. However, you can substitute gluten-free pasta to make this dish gluten-friendly. Be sure to choose a gluten-free pasta made from alternative flours like brown rice, chickpea, or lentil flour.