This Pasta Salad is a delicious combination of penne pasta, crisp Gala apples, fresh celery, crunchy walnuts, and a light Caesar dressing. A myriad of textures and flavors make this salad irresistible.
Deliciously Creamy Pasta Salad
This isn’t your ordinary pasta salad. Our Apple and Celery Pasta Salad is a novel spin on a classic, fusing unique ingredients and flavors refreshingly and deliciously. Imagine a pasta salad that marries the comfort of your grandmother’s creamy macaroni salad with an exciting, lighter twist! That’s exactly what this salad brings to the table.
One of the reasons this pasta salad is so enticing is the variety of textures. The firm bite of penne pasta, the refreshing crunch of apples and celery, the rich creaminess of the homemade light Caesar dressing, and the unexpected crunch of walnuts combine to create the best textures in every bite.
Why I Love This Recipe
- Flavor Pairings: The combination of sweet apples with crunchy celery and creamy Caesar dressing is so delicious!
- Texture Variety: The medley of textures – from the crunch of walnuts and celery, the juiciness of apples, to the firm yet tender penne pasta.
- Easy to Prepare: This recipe doesn’t require complex cooking techniques, making it accessible for cooks of all levels.
- Versatile: It’s perfect as a standalone meal, a side dish for barbecues or parties, or even packed up for a picnic or lunch.
- Customizable: This salad recipe can easily be modified to suit personal tastes – add more veggies, switch up the cheese, or even change the type of pasta.
- The base of this Apple and Celery Pasta Salad starts with low carb penne pasta, to which we will add Gala apples, and thinly sliced celery.
- For the salad greens, I chose a fresh baby lettuce blend, but feel free to substitute with romaine hearts or iceberg. Chopped walnuts and shredded white cheddar cheese are also tossed in for a hint of nuttiness and creamy sharpness.
- For the dressing, I created a light Caesar blend using plain yogurt, dijon mustard, a garlic clove, water for consistency, and grated parmesan cheese.
How To Make Pasta Salad With Apples
Born from a desire to make the most of a fresh container of sweet baby lettuce, this pasta salad recipe blossomed with crisp apples, crunchy celery, and a light Caesar dressing.
- Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package. I use low-carb pasta, but feel free to use whatever pasta you like. Drain it and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Then, combine the chopped apples and celery, add lemon juice, and toss to combine.
- Arrange lettuce on a large serving plate or a large salad bowl. Top with apples, celery, walnuts, and cheese.
- Prepare the salad dressing: In a blender, combine the yogurt, dijon mustard, garlic, water, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper; blend until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.
- Combine the pasta salad with the dressing and serve. Or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tips & Swaps
Here are some tips that could be helpful in preparing and enjoying this Apple and Celery Pasta Salad:
- Pasta choice: While we use low-carb penne pasta in this recipe, substitute it with other pasta shapes you prefer or have on hand. Fusilli or farfalle would work well with this salad as they hold the dressing nicely.
- Apple variety: Gala apples are a great choice for their sweetness and firm texture. However, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp would also work well.
- Cheese variety: I used white cheddar cheese in this recipe for its mild and creamy flavor, but feel free to experiment with other cheeses like gouda or feta for a different taste.
- Dressing: The homemade light Caesar dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge, making the salad assembly faster when you’re ready to serve it.
- Serving: This salad tastes best when served immediately after dressing. If you plan to eat it later, keep the dressing separate and mix just before serving to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.
- Customize: Feel free to add in more of your favorite salad ingredients, like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or bell peppers, for added color, texture, and flavor.
- Leftovers: If you have leftovers, store the salad and dressing separately in the fridge. This will help maintain the freshness and crunch of the salad ingredients.
What To Serve With Pasta Salad
- My Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken or this Carne Asada are the perfect companion to pasta salad, especially during a summer barbecue.
- You can also pair the salad with my Crispy Air Fryer Chicken sandwich for a light lunch.
- For a seafood option, consider pairing this salad with Grilled Scallops or Grilled Shrimp Kabobs.
- May I also suggest adding these White Chocolate Chunk Cookies to the menu!
More Salad Recipes
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with Light Caesar Dressing
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad
- Russian Layered Salad
- Salmon Cobb Salad
Apples and Celery Pasta Salad with Light Caesar Dressing
- 2 cups low carb penne pasta
- 1 to 2 gala apples, washed and cut into cubes (leave the skins on)
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 cups fresh sweet baby lettuce blend, you can also use about 2 to 3 romaine hearts, chopped
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt, I use Dannon
- 1½ tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon water, add more if you prefer a thinner consistency
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.
- Drain the pasta and let it stand under cold running water until completely cooled. Pat it dry with paper towels and set it aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped apples and celery; add lemon juice and toss to combine.
- Arrange the lettuce on a large serving plate or a large salad bowl.
- Top the greens with the apples and celery mixture, walnuts, and cheese. Set aside.
- Prepare the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a blender; blend until creamy and smooth.
- Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine.
- Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
- Pasta: Experiment with various shapes or whole grain options for a different texture and nutritional profile.
- Apples: Choose different apple varieties for varied flavor profiles.
- Cheese: Swap white cheddar with gouda, feta, or your preferred cheese.
- Dressing: Prepare the dressing ahead for a quicker assembly; remember to mix in just before serving to avoid a soggy salad.
- Add-ins: Customize with other salad ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or bell peppers.
- Healthier Swap: Substitute regular pasta with vegetable pasta for a healthier twist.
- Storing Leftovers: Keep the salad and dressing separately to maintain freshness and prevent sogginess.
- This salad can be served as a side, a delicious lunch, an appetizer, or bring it to a potluck!
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.