We love this Orecchiette Pasta Salad! It’s packed with flavor, and our favorite orecchiette pasta! Spoon a creamy, tangy, herby sauce over the bacon, corn, and summer flavors. It’s also easy to make, and it’s great for parties, potlucks, or gatherings when you’re craving an amazing pasta salad!

Orecchiette Pasta Salad

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Pasta salads are the perfect side dish, and some of them – like this one – just scream summer! This fabulous Orecchiette Pasta Salad has it all, and it’s delicious served with grilled burgers and other tasty eats on the side.

Orecchiette Pasta Salad

This pasta salad stays fresh and fabulous, and you can serve the dressing on the side! You toss all the ingredients together in a bowl, serve the bowls, and spoon the dressing on top. This allows each guest to control how much dressing they want, and ensures that the whole salad is fresh, creamy, and fabulous. You may also love our BLT Pasta Salad made with orecchiette pasta.

Orecchiette Pasta Salad with fresh corn

I love that I can prep this salad ahead of time. Get all the ingredients chopped and put them in the mixing bowl, then give it all a good toss. Serve it along with the dressing at the table. 

deconstructed Orecchiette Pasta Salad

Why I love this recipe

  • It is chunky, colorful, and so good! The bacon really puts it over the top!
  • You can prep the whole salad a day ahead of time, then just add the dressing at the table to keep it fresh and creamy!
  • It’s super easy to double to feed a crowd!

ingredients for summer pasta salad

Gather these ingredients

  • Orecchiette pasta – Or another short pasta. See my tips below.
  • Corn kernels – Frozen and thawed or cut fresh off the cob and cooked.
  • Red bell pepper – Diced.
  • Bacon – Cooked crisp and chopped.
  • Fresh basil – Chopped.
  • Basil pesto – Store-bought or homemade.
  • Ranch dressing – Store-bought or homemade.
  • Honey
  • Lime juice – From a fresh lime.
  • Salt and cracked black pepper

how to make pasta salad

How to Make Orecchiette Pasta Salad

  1. Cook the orecchiette to al dente, about 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time on the package. Drain it, then run the pasta under cold tap water to stop the cooking and chill the pasta.
  2. Combine the chilled pasta with the fresh corn, red bell pepper, bacon and fresh basil. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the basil pesto, ranch dressing, honey, and lime juice to a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake to combine, or whisk these ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Divide the pasta salad into individual bowls and top with the dressing, a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper, and some small basil sprigs.
  5. Enjoy!

pasta salad - with no dressing

Tips & substitutions

  • We love using orecchiette in this salad. This pasta is circular with a dent in the middle – it holds all the sauce and is a unique pasta shape. Mini penne, small bowties, and other short pasta shapes will also work.
  • Optional to add chicken to this recipe. Grilled chicken is especially good in it, but rotisserie chicken is also delicious.
  • If you plan on refrigerating the salad before serving, don’t add the basil. Basil doesn’t like the cold temperature of a fridge and will turn black. Add the fresh basil leaves just before serving.
  • Adjust the honey in the dressing to suit your tastes.

a bowl of Pasta Salad

Serving suggestions

Orecchiette Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish to bring to a potluck, and serve alongside other tasty eats. Serve as a regular at cookouts when making Smash Burgers or sliders. For a fancier meal, serve this easy pasta salad with picks like Cedar Planked Salmon or a marinated steak.

corn, pasta, bacon


Store any leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Refrigerate the dressing separately. If you mixed the dressing in a jar, you can put the whole jar in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

servings of Orecchiette Pasta Salad

Check out these awesome Orecchiette pasta salad recipes while you are here:

Classic Bay Shrimp Pasta Salad Recipe

Summer Avocado Pasta Salad

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Salad

Pasta with Pesto

Orecchiette Pasta Salad
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Orecchiette Pasta Salad

We love this Orecchiette Pasta Salad! It's packed with flavor, and our favorite orecchiette pasta! Spoon a creamy, tangy, herby sauce over the bacon, corn, and summer flavors. It’s also easy to make, and it’s great for parties, potlucks, or gatherings when you're craving an amazing pasta salad!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Yield: 6
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  • 8 oz orecchiette pasta or other short pasta
  • 1 cup corn kernels cooked
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 4 slices bacon cooked and sliced
  • fresh basil chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad dressing:

  • cup basil pesto store-bought or homemade
  • ¼ cup Ranch dressing
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice , freshly squeezed
  • Black cracked pepper


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook al dente (about 1 minute less).

Make salad dressing:

  • In a mason jar, whisk together basil pesto with Ranch dressing, honey, and freshly squeezed lime juice.

Combine the pasta salad:

  • In a large bowl, combine cooked and drained pasta, cooked corn kernels, diced bell pepper, and chopped cooked bacon. Mix to combine. Sprinkle with finely chopped basil, and gently stir.

Serve the salad:

  • Serve 4 salads in small white bowls, and drizzle with the dressing. Add black cracked pepper and serve. Garnish with a few small basil sprigs. Optional to serve salad dressingi on the side.
Cuisine: American
Course: Salad
Calories: 332kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 319mg, Potassium: 224mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 978IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 37mg, Iron: 1mg
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Orecchiette Pasta Salad