This creamy pasta salad is loaded with roasted corn and zucchini, fresh cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Tossed in a tangy mayo dressing, this pasta salad is the perfect summer side dish.
Is it a picnic or a summer party without creamy macaroni salad? I don’t think so. Add in lightly charred fresh corn and zucchini for an unexpected but welcome twist. This easy side dish is just what you need for your next get-together.
Pasta – I use elbow pasta but any short pasta will work.
Corn – fresh corn cut off the cob is ideal for this recipe but canned corn or frozen corn that has been thawed will also work.
Zucchini – fresh zucchini adds sweetness and creaminess to the pasta salad.
Cherry Tomatoes – add tangy freshness.
Red Onion – adds crunch and texture and a little bite to the pasta salad.
Mayo – the base of the sauce, mayo adds creaminess and tangy flavor to the pasta salad.
Step By Step Instructions
Note: The recipe card below contains a full list of ingredients, their amounts, and instructions.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water then allow the pasta to sit for 10 minutes to dry.
Meanwhile, place a rack at the top of the oven. Spread the corn and zucchini out on a large baking sheet and toss with oil and salt.
Broil on high for 5 to 6 minutes tossing the corn and zucchini halfway through. Pull them out of the oven when they have a bit of char on them.
Caution: watch them carefully, checking often, to ensure they don’t burn.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayo, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Add the pasta, corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and red onion to the bowl.
Toss until everything is well combined.
Serve immediately or cover and chill for several hours or overnight before serving.
Tips & Tricks
- Keep an eye on the corn and zucchini as it broils. You want them to get a nice char but not burn or catch on fire. Check them regularly!
- Allow the drained pasta to sit for a full 10 minutes to allow the water to drain off. If the pasta is still too wet, the sauce will be watery.
- The longer the pasta salad sits in the fridge, the more sauce will start to absorb into the pasta. If you plan on eating the leftovers over several days, I suggest making a little extra sauce to toss with the pasta salad just before serving.
Substitutions & Variations
- Use any veggies you like! Diced bell peppers, chopped broccoli, diced celery, grated carrots… anything you like or have on hand will be great!
- White vinegar can replace the lemon juice. Or, use apple cider vinegar for a unique flavor.
- For a healthier version, greek yogurt can replace the mayo.
Keep the pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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Creamy Corn and Zucchini Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces elbow pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups fresh corn cut off about 4 cobs
- 3 cups fresh zucchini diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1/2 cup red onion small dice
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper preferably freshly cracked
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.Let the pasta sit for 10 minutes to drain off excess water.
- Meanwhile, place a rack at the top of the oven. Toss the corn and zucchini with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and spread them out on a large baking sheet.
- Broil the corn and zucchini for 5 to 6 minutes stirring halfway through. Pull them from the oven when they have a bit of char on them. Caution: Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, sugar, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and pepper until well combined.
- Add the pasta, roasted corn and zucchini, tomatoes, and red onion. Toss until everything is well combined.
- Serve immediately or cover and chill for several hours or overnight before serving.