Here it is, probably one of the most popular salads in Germany. The German pasta salad with sausages. Of course. If you come to Germany you will find it at BBQs, birthday parties or any buffet.
(please note that this was first posted in June 2014 but the recipe has been updated in November 2020)
The idea for this recipe post came when I prepared this salad for our London apartment complex’s annual summer picnic. This cold sausage pasta salad was my contribution. The next day our German friend Eva-Katharina invited us to a BBQ at her house to watch the World Cup Final. She had made the same delicious Pasta Salad; so I had it twice in one weekend - what a treat!! And Germany won the 2014 World Cup that very night - I think it’s down to the lucky pasta salad with mayo and sausages 🙂
What is German Pasta Salad (Nudelsalat)?
The salad is based on pasta, with vegetables, gherkins and mayonnaise. It is a cold pasta salad and intended to be served chilled. There are vegetarian versions of this salad, but the salad tends to be served with meat.
The noodle salad gained popularity in the 70s when convenience food was popular, and since then never came out of fashion. It remains one of the best pasta salad recipes in Germany. This dish is easy to prepare in advance and is loved by all ages.
Which dressing to use for German Pasta Salad?
The salad dressing used has a slight sweet and sour taste to it. It consists of mayonnaise, mustard and pickled gherkin juice. The flavours contrast each other so that you get the sweet and sour kickback. The canned peas and carrots also add to the sweetness and the chopped gherkins to the sourness.
Which sausages to use for this salad?
This "Nudelsalat" recipe is versatile and can be combined with an array of sausages. They tend to be smoked or cooked.
- Frankfurter Sausages (Wiener)
- Bockwurst (smoked sausage – you can get it at lidl)
- Smoked Ham or Bacon
- Chicken Sausage
What to serve with German Pasta Salad?
The salad is usually eaten cold. It is also served chilled. It is refreshing to eat when it’s hot outside. A perfect summer pasta salad.
It is a very popular dish to bring to BBQ’s (Grillparties) and buffet because it is quite versatile, well-loved and easy to transport.
It goes very well with meat (even though it is already meaty.) and even fish. It’s a popular side dish for bratwurst, grilled meat and schnitzel.
However, sometimes it is also eaten as a main course, as part of “Abendessen” (evening meal) with some bread.
My children love to eat it with fish fingers.
More German Pasta Salad Ideas:
Throughout Germany you will find lots of recipes that claim to be the original “Nudelsalat”. It is one of those recipes that gets passed down through the generations. Really any and everything is allowed.
Typical is the sweet and sour taste. So you will find sweetcorn, canned pineapple, capers, tomatoes, fresh peppers and even salami in some recipes. You can also add cheese, courgette and yoghurt.
Of course, there are vegetarian versions of this pasta salad. You simply omit the sausages and add more vegetables.
The vegetables are traditionally canned, not fresh, but this has changed with the time.
About my Pasta Salad Recipe:
For me this is the best german pasta recipe. Why? It is because mum prepares it this way. The recipe is very easy to follow. It only needs a few ingredients and I never heard a complaint about it (so far). So, for me this is the classic German pasta salad, that my children will grow up with.
Can I make pasta salad ahead of time?
The pasta salad is a great dish to make in advance. Make sure you store it in the fridge. It tastes great when it sits in the fridge overnight. However, it could be that the pasta salad absorbs all the moisture of the dressing with time. You might need to refresh the dressing with a little more mayonnaise or pickled gherkin water.
How long does German pasta salad last in the fridge?
I would recommend storing this pasta salad in the fridge up to 5 days. However, it will taste best if you consume it in the first two days of making it.
Can you freeze pasta salad?
Do not freeze this salad. Firstly, mayonnaise does not freeze well. Secondly, the pasta might get too soft when being defrosted so it may end up in a soft mess.
More German Salads
If you like the taste of this sweet and sour savoury dish, you may also like to check out the egg and apple salad. The gherkins are a common ingredient in most German salads. You can also have a look at these potato salads.
Best German Pasta Salad Recipe
- 500 g pasta 1 lb (I used fussilini/rotini)
- 400 g sausage 1 lb (such as Frankfurter, Bockwurst or any smoked sausage will do.)
- 250 g mayonaise 9 oz
- 1 can peas and carrots mine was around 800 g undrained
- 1 tsp mustard medium spicy
- 100 g pickled gherkins
- 2 tsp vinegar from the pickled gherkin jar
- 2 tsp fresh herbs (for example chives, parsley or dill) to serve (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions al dente. Then leave the pasta to cool.
- Chop the sausages into 1-2 cm pieces.
- Chop the gherkins into small bits as well.
- Drain the liquid of the peas and carrots with a colander.
- In a bowl mix together the mayonnaise, mustard and gherkin water.
- Once the pasta has cooled, (the pasta can be lukewarm) mix in the gherkins, vegetables and sausages.
- Now add the salad dressing and mix it in with the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix in the fresh herbs if using.
- Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.
- It is best to leave the salad to rest for around 20 minutes so the pasta can absorb the flavours.