I’ve always pictured pasta salads as either big, gloppy messes of mayonnaise or olive oil and vinegar soaked afterthoughts. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I could take pasta salad in a whole different direction and that the results would be nothing short of extraordinary.

Try this unique pasta salad recipe for a marginally healthier and far more delicious version of the classic side dish you already know and love.

Creamy Mayo-Free Lemon Garlic Chicken Mascarpone Pasta Salad


  • 1 box Orecchiette pasta
  • 1 lb sliced chicken breast
  • 1/4 lb hard salami, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 C mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 5 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 C jarred roasted red pepper strips
  • 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 T granulated garlic
  • 1 T granulated onion
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 T dry oregano
  • 1 T dry parsley
  • 1 T dry basil
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 1/4 T pepper


  1. Cook pasta as per package instructions in boiling, salted water. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
  2. In a pan over medium high heat, add canola oil and brown chicken. When the chicken is just about cooked through, add the minced garlic and cook until translucent. Remove the chicken and garlic from the pan and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine mascarpone, olive oil, Dijon mustard, granulated garlic, granulated onion, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, oregano, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper and whisk until well-combined and emulsified.
  4. Add cold pasta, defrosted peas, diced salami, cold chicken and garlic, roasted red pepper strips, Parmesan cheese, and Pecorino Romano cheese to the mascarpone mixture and mix gently with a spatula until everything is coated evenly.
  5. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight to allow time for the flavors to marry.

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