This pasta salad is hearty and creamy, loaded with bacon and spicy cream cheese dressing! Incredibly easy and satisfying, this pasta salad is perfect for summer potlucks, backyard barbecues and as a regular weeknight summer dinner. Read on for my time-saving tips to make this summer favorite in less than 30 minutes!
1(7.5oz) tub Spicy Jalapeno Cream Cheese Spread, Note 1
1cupshredded cheddar cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta, but don’t rinse. (Tip: The dressing will stick to pasta better if it's not drained.)
Cut bacon strips into small pieces and cook in a large skillet until nice and crispy.
Cut jalapeños in half, scoop out the seeds and ribs. Then cut into small pieces. (Note: If you don't like too spicy food, make sure to remove all the white ribs inside, because that's where most of the heat comes from.)
In a large bowl (I used 4qt bowl), whisk together cream cheese spread, reserved pasta water, parsley, black pepper and garlic powder. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth.
Add hot pasta, bacon, chopped jalapeños and cheese. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note 1: This pasta salad is spicy and the heat comes from Spicy Jalapeno Cream Cheese Spread. If you would like milder pasta salad, feel free to use different flavored cream cheese spread (Chive & Onion is another great option.)