Summer isn't complete without pasta salad. But when it's swimming in mayonnaise, it isn't always the most healthful choice.

Summer isn't complete without pasta salad. But when it's swimming in mayonnaise, it isn't always the most healthful choice. The good news is there are lots of ways to modify traditional pasta salad.

First, switch from regular pasta to whole wheat or multigrain pastas, which have more fiber and protein. Ronzoni Smart Choice is a great option because it has the benefits of whole-grain without the dark, sometimes harsh texture.

Next, substitute low-fat sour cream and low-fat mayonnaise for the full-fat variety. Finally, add lots of vegetables. Everything from halved cherry tomatoes to shredded carrots to chopped bell peppers.

FRESH VEGETABLE PASTA SALAD
Makes 8 servings

1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black
pepper
8 ounces whole wheat or multi-grain elbow macaroni or other short pasta
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1/2 cup chopped green onions

To make the dressing: In a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse under cold water. Drain well.
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Add the carrots, celery, tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions and dressing. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Robin Davis is food editor of The Columbus Dispatch. She oversees the Food section, published each Wednesday, which features recipes, question-and-answer columns and reviews of cookbooks, wines and local eateries.