Tried and True: Mom’s Pasta Salad

Mom’s Pasta Salad:

  • 16oz dried pasta (we use small shells)
  • 16oz block cheese, cubed (we use sharp cheddar)
  • one 24oz jar of dill pickles, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • two cups cooked peas
  • one cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain into colander and place colander into ice water bath to cool pasta.

Combine cooled pasta, cheese, pickles, and peas in large bowl. Add Miracle Whip and pickle juice and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste (you likely won’t need much salt, if any). Let rest in fridge for a couple hours before serving. 

Tried and True


Sometimes you don’t want to try something, you just need something that works. For our family, this is one of those recipes. And while I’ve encountered many a mayonnaise-based pasta salad at a potluck or cookout, I’ve never had this anywhere except at my family’s table. Even my four-year-old loves this salad, and she’s tough to please.


The Miracle Whip and pickle juice sounds a little weird, but it gives the dish a vinegary, flavorful kick that blends well with the cheese and pasta.

And the peas.

Look at all those gorgeous peas

All right, I don’t like peas. When I make this salad, I leave them out. But they’re in the original so I’ll let you make that call for yourself.


  • It’s not healthy. Deal with it.
  • That recipe list doesn’t say mayonnaise, it says Miracle Whip. And it means Miracle Whip.
  • Make the ingredient balance your own. More pickles? Less cheese? More or less of the dressing? Go nuts. I usually don’t bother to measure anything, I just keep mixing and adding until it looks right.
  • This will dry out a little in the fridge. Add another spoonful of Miracle Whip and splash of pickle juice to the salad and mix it all up again before serving.
  • We usually include only pasta, cheese, and pickles, but we’ve sometimes used shredded cheese instead of cubed and added broccoli and/or bacon. It’s all good, throw in whatever you want. As long as it’s not mayonnaise.
  • (Please don’t get me wrong – I love mayonnaise. Just not in this recipe.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s