Layered Cold Pasta Salad

5 from 4 votes

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This Layered Cold Pasta Salad is a colorful side dish for BBQ’s and potlucks. With layers of ham, eggs, salami, veggies, and cheese, it is hearty and delicious!

Layered Pasta Salad with ham, peas, noodles in a glass dish topped with cheese and a garnsih.

Layered Cold Pasta Salad

This Cold Pasta Salad tastes as good as it looks! It is a complementary side dish at BBQ’s and potlucks, but it really is a full and hearty meal in itself. I served this the another night at dinner with some corn on the cob, and it was very filling. Everyone loved it!

Make It Ahead of Time

I am a big fan of make ahead meals. This salad can be made a day ahead or in the morning, as long as it has several hours in the refrigerator. It will actually taste better if you make it in advance rather than making in right before serving.

Tips for Making Pasta Salad

Here are some quick tips when making this easy pasta salad:

  • For the chopped ham and hard salami, I order thick slices at my local deli. For the one cup required I only needed 3-4 slices.
  • The shredded green leaf lettuce should be completely dry or it will get soggy when it is refrigerated. If you don’t have time to wait for lettuce to dry, you can buy green leaf lettuce leaves in most stores in the produce section that have been pre-washed and are ready to use for sandwiches and salads. It’s a little more expensive to purchase lettuce this way but, I have found that the lettuce lasts longer than when I wash it and dry it myself at home and I can use everything in the container because it’s all fresh and crisp.
  • The frozen peas can be thawed quicker by placing them in a colander and rinsing them with cold water. Be sure they have time to drain and dry as well before adding them to the salad.
  • When layer the salad use a large spoon to evenly disperse the ingredients so they will layer eventually.
  • And for my final tip, use a glass bowl or trifle dish. You don’t have to, but when you go to the work to make the beautiful layers, you need to show it off!

Additional Add-In Ideas

We typically will make this pasta salad as stated in the recipe below, but you can always add more ingredients, including:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • olives
  • chopped red onion
  • celery
  • pepperoni
  • additional green onion

More Cold Pasta Salads:

Looking for even more cold pasta salad ideas? Here are some more of our favorites:

Layered Pasta Salad with ham, peas, noodles in a glass dish topped with cheese and a garnsih.

Layered Cold Pasta Salad

5 from 4 votes
This Layered Cold Pasta Salad is a colorful side dish for BBQ’s and potlucks. With layers of ham, eggs, salami, veggies, and cheese, it is hearty and delicious!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 28 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 10




  • Cook shell macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drizzle with oil, and toss to coat.
  • Place shredded lettuce in a 2/12 quart glass serving bowl or trifle bowl.
  • Top lettuce with macaroni, being careful to layer the macaroni evenly over the lettuce for a pretty layered look. Add sliced eggs for the following layer.
  • Sprinkle eggs and macaroni with salt and pepper. Add chopped ham, then chopped salami, and then the thawed peas.
  • In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, green onions and Dijon mustard. Spread this mixture over the peas.
  • Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese and garnish with parsley.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 14gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 742mgPotassium: 270mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1431IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Echo Blickenstaff

Echo lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband, Todd, who works in advertising, and her four kids: two girls and two boys. She deploys her accounting degree as the blog’s resident problem solver. In her time outside the kitchen, Echo loves to get away from the phones and busy schedules and spend quality time with the family. Anywhere’s great – but getting out into nature in the mountains or on the beach – is the best kind of getaway.

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    This pasta salad was a hit at the party we took it to last week! Not a single bite was left over and everyone asked where I got the recipe! Thanks for such a winner!

    1. It doesn’t take much time at all– just the time it takes to cook and cool the pasta. While the pasta is cooking you can cut up the other ingredients. I would say 30 minutes at most (to prepare) and then a few hours to refrigerate.

  2. 5 stars
    I started making this salad some time ago from a recipe called Eight Layer Salad. I’m the only one in my immediate family who likes it so I often make it for special occasions when I have help eating it. I use packaged greens and I’ve customized the dressing and now use a mixture of fat-free mayo and Kraft fat-free salad dressing. I use turkey breast instead of salami (just preference) so it ends up being a pretty healthy salad. To preserve the freshness of all layers I don’t toss the salad, I use tongs and dip down thru all layers. It is delicious!

    1. Good question! I toss it right when we are ready to start eating. I like coating all of the ingredients with the dressing and it makes it easier to serve.

    2. 5 stars
      No, I don’t toss it. I serve it with a pair of tongs and let people dig straight down into it. I have to admit that sometimes, I have to convince the first person that it’s really okay to dig in! This salad has great flavor and textures. I usually add a little (1-2 T.?) apple cider vinegar to the dressing for a bit of tang.

  3. Have you ever tried substituting the mayo with greek yogurt? Would it turn out same? Also do you need to thaw the peas first or can you just add them frozen? This looks delicious!

    1. I don’t know if greek yogurt would taste the same or if the consistency would be the same, but it’s worth a try. If you have used it and liked it as a salad dressing before, I’m sure it would work great. You definitely should thaw the peas first. If you use them frozen the peas will unthaw in the refrigerator and the salad will get watery. Thank you for your comment!