The Meal Planner

Um, okay. So I totally didn't plan on taking a two month break from this here blog, but it happened. Somewhere between work, an Easter holiday trip to visit family and my youngest cutting some painful molars I didn't get a chance to post.

I give you my apologies for my absence and offer you up a recipe for my very favorite pasta salad. My husband and I used to frequent a very arsty, cool coffee shop in our downtown, with University student artwork plastered on the walls rotating every month, a micro roaster for their coffee beans displayed in beautiful glass medicine jars in the windows and fresh bread and goodies baked up every day. It didn't matter what sandwich I ordered for lunch I ALWAYS had to make sure that I got a side of their Creamy Dill Pasta Salad. I told the owner once that I loved the salad and was wondering the secret to her dressing recipe. She told me it took her years to get it just right and would never give up the recipe. Boo. So while I'm sure my dressing isn't exactly like hers, since she probably doesn't use a powdered package of dill dip mix, I think it's a great imitation and would eat this salad any night of the week. Perfect for upcoming summer BBQ's and picnics.

Serves 4

3 cups tri-color (vegetable) rotini (or other short cut pasta like pennette rigate)
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 pkg dill dip mix
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Lemon, cut into wedges

Dill (dried or fresh), for garnish
Grated cheddar or parmesan, optional

In a large pot over high heat, cook the pasta in salted boiling water following the package directions. Drain them just shy of al dente (with a slight bit more bite to the pasta then you are used to.) The pasta will soften more when the dressing is added. Run the pasta under cold water until cool and drain.

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayo and dill dip mix. Add a squeeze of lemon juice.

In a large bowl, mix together drained, cooled pasta, carrot and mushrooms. Spoon half the dressing over, mix until combined and add more as needed. You may or may not use the whole batch depending on how saucy you like it. I tend to add more than I think it needs, just so it isn't dried out the next day since the pasta will keep absorbing the dressing as it sits.

Serve with a sprinkle of dill and more lemon wedges for squeezing over the top. You can also sprinkle the top with grated cheddar or parmesan cheese if you like.

Click here for printable version of Creamy Dill Pasta Salad.


Probably my favorite pasta salad of all time. But then again I am both a lemon and a dill lover. The freshness of the lemon juice is lovely and the dressing isn't too heavy with a ton of mayo. I like the more tangy flavor of the sour cream.

I like using the tri-color rotini because it makes for a prettier salad, but you could always use regular or even whole wheat to bump up the fiber and protein. I've even used the smaller version of penne called pennette and that worked wonderful as well.

I would eat this pasta salad alongside any burger or sandwich, but since this dish was created after The Penny Coffeehouse, we like to serve it with our version of their Curried Tuna Melts. You can easily make them too by adding curry powder, mayo, salt and pepper to a can of drained tuna, put it between two pieces of bread along with some nice cheddar, butter the outside and cook in a frying pan like you would a grilled cheese until the cheese is melted and the outside is golden. Fabulous combo.

I'm submitting this recipe to Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays.

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8 Responses
  1. Deborah Says:

    I'm crazy about dill. This one is going on my to-make list!

  2. This would definitely be a winner. I do a similar pasta dish with dill, yoghurt, lemon and mustard. Dill is an absolute winner! Great Blog!

  3. This looks delicious--I am a dill fan too. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays and joining in this week. Hope to have you back.



  4. Karen Says:

    Oooh what a perfect use for the dill growing in the garden! So bookmarking this!

    Glad to see you back!

  5. Thanks Ladies!

    Elizabeth & Jared - I love your idea of a dill, yogurt, lemon and mustard dressing. I'll have to try that sometime.

  6. Oh my gosh! So I googled dill pasta salad because I go to U of L and I am in love with the Penny's pasta salad! I was hoping for something similar to it to pop up but I totally didn't expect a recipe BASED on their pasta salad. I'm totally making this for a barbeque this weekend, I bet it will be a big hit! :) Thanks so much!

  7. Haha! That's awesome. I hope it turns out well for you!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I too am a used-to-be-Lethbridge-ian and was overjoyed to find a recipe so close to the Penny's! Thanks, thanks, thanks!