Easy Pasta Salad Recipes You'll Be Making All Summer Long
Pasta salad provides endless possibilities for new flavor combinations and ingredients. Easy pasta salads take the guesswork out of mealtime. Pasta salads are great for brunch, ladies luncheons, or light summer suppers. Add protein, such as chopped deli chicken, boiled shrimp, or sliced grilled steak, to turn a quick pasta salad into a main-dish meal. Use your leftovers. Combine various unused pasta shapes with colorful veggies and herbs for an appealing and fresh salad. Whether it is simply too hot to fire up the oven, or you need a quick and easy supper for a busy weeknight, one-pot pasta salads are hearty enough to satisfy the entire family. Perfect for a picnic or potluck, pasta salads are easy to assemble and easy to transport. You are sure to find a favorite in this selection of our favorite flavor-filled pasta salad recipes.
Chicken Tortellini Salad
Recipe: Chicken Tortellini Salad
Homemade basil vinaigrette tops this fresh mix.
Three-Bean Pasta Salad Recipe
Recipe: Three-Bean Pasta Salad Recipe
This recipe can best be described as a cross between pasta salad and three-bean salad. Blanched celery and fresh green beans give this side dish the unexpected flavor it needs as well as a pop of color. It comes together in just 30 minutes so if you need a quick and easy yet filling dish, this pasta salad is just the ticket.
Lemon Vinaigrette Pasta Salad with Field Peas
If you're looking for new ways to serve fresh summer peas this season, try this bright pasta salad. A homemade lemon vinaigrette adds a punch of flavor to this refreshing side dish. It's also the perfect reason to use some of the fresh herbs from your garden. We used basil, chives, dill, and parsley in our version, but you can adapt to whatever you have on hand.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad
Adding tuna as a protein source to this pasta salad will allow it to shine as a main dish instead of being just another side. We recommend choosing an oil-packed tuna for better texture and more flavor. While both tuna salad and pasta salad can often being heavy if they're loaded with mayonnaise, a lemon-herb vinaigrette keeps this version light and bright for summer.
Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
Recipe: Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
Toasted pecans mixed with grapes and onions will add just the right amount of nuttiness to this salad. When you add in the bacon, it creates a smoky-flavored sensation. The crunch of the pecans and the bacon are the sound of the perfect dish, but the broccoli will also contribute to this delight—fresh and finely chopped, this vegetable brings a light flavor and a beautiful texture to the dish.
Classic Macaroni Salad with Ham
Recipe: Classic Macaroni Salad with Ham
Chop your vegetables of choice and add to this cold pasta salad.
Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Lemon Dressing
Tangy lemon dressing brings a dash of brightness to this veggie-heavy pasta salad.
Dilly Bean Pasta Salad
Recipe: Dilly Bean Pasta Salad
Making this pasta salad is as easy as mixing all of your fresh ingredients together and tossing them in the easy homemade vinaigrette dressing. Toasted almonds add a nice crunch while chopped dill adds fresh flavor. Even though you can choose to serve this pasta salad at room temperature, we think it's most refreshing when served chilled.
Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad
Recipe: Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad
Next time you're looking for a side dish to take along to a summer cookout or potluck, turn to this flavor-packed recipe. Bacon and ranch are a match made in heaven, so we're always looking for ways to combine the two flavors in one dish. If you have time, make this crowd-pleasing recipe the day before you plan to serve it because it will taste better after it has some time to sit in the fridge.
Tangy Chickpea Pasta Salad
Recipe: Tangy Chickpea Pasta Salad
This pasta salad is anything but ordinary, so if you're looking to switch it up from your normal summer side dish, this recipe is what you're looking for. The recipe simply calls for 8 ounces of pasta, so you can use whatever kind you may already have in your pantry. Chickpeas, feta cheese, roasted eggplant, and chopped Peppadew peppers may not be the first ingredients you think of reaching for when making pasta salad, but they give this side dish plenty of Mediterranean flair.
Pintos and Peppers Pasta Salad
Recipe: Pintos and Peppers Pasta Salad
The addition of pinto beans, peppers, and corn transforms this pasta salad into a flavor-packed Tex-Mex dish. Charring the peppers and corn before adding them to the dish will add an extra layer of smoky flavor. A homemade vinaigrette that's made with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and honey serves as a light, fresh way to dress this pasta mixture. It'll become your new go-to side for summer taco night.
Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
Recipe: Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
Grabbing some fresh vegetables from the farmers' market means that making this dish becomes a seasonal delight. Think of the flavors of baby heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, corn, and peaches. This is a true Southern-market take on traditional pasta. As with any pasta, be sure to cook the pasta al dente (1 or 2 minutes shorter than package directions specify) so it holds its shape when tossed with the vegetables and vinaigrette. Tossing it with the Parmesan Vinaigrette means that every bite has a little tangy tartness and a touch of salt.
Mix 'n' Match Spring Pasta Toss
Recipe: Mix 'n' Match Spring Pasta Toss
Consider this recipe more of a guide than an exact science. You can use a mix of whatever shapes of pasta you have in your pantry and it's a great way to use up the rest of some half-full packages. After you've made your pasta selection, you can then swap out and adjust the vegetables to make the most of what you have on hand. Bottled greek dressing and lemon juice create a flavorful coating that is the perfect finishing touch for your custom vegetable and pasta toss.
Penne with Green Beans and Tomatoes
Grape tomatoes shine in this penne pasta salad. For best results, this fresh dish should be chilled in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving. So if you're bringing it along to a potluck, making it a day ahead of time is the best option.
Thai Noodle Salad
Recipe: Thai Noodle Salad
Fresh jalapeño peppers and cilantro give this Asian pasta salad a kick of heat while mild cucumber, peanuts, and honey balance these bold flavors. Finely shredded cabbage adds just a little subtle crispness to this noodle bowl, while the mint brings in an unexpected fresh sensation. You should be able to find fish sauce in the ethnic food section of your supermarket or at specialty Asian food stores, or you can substitute soy sauce if you prefer.
Tortelloni-and-Grilled Vegetable Salad
Grill your favorite seasonal vegetables and toss them in with this versatile pasta.
Tangy Tzatziki Pasta Salad
Recipe: Tangy Tzatziki Pasta Salad
This Greek-style pasta salad includes kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichokes, creating a rich combination of flavors. The feta cheese tops it off with a little creaminess and saltiness. You can even make a hearty meal out of your favorite barbecue side dish by adding in these delicious Greek ingredients and some shredded or chopped chicken.
Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Prepare the tomatoes ahead of time so they can marinate. If you're preparing tomatoes the day-of, let them sit for at least one hour and 45 minutes.
Watermelon-and-Feta Orzo Salad
Recipe: Watermelon-and-Feta Orzo Salad
Watermelon and feta are a classic summer pairing. Adding orzo pasta and a light lemon-shallot vinaigrette upgrades the duo to a flavor-packed salad that you'll want to make again and again.
Field Pea and Pasta Salad
Recipe: Field Pea and Pasta Salad
Farfalle and fresh veggies make a delicious summer side. For this salad, an assortment of the beautiful colors of bell peppers, as well as field peas, combine well with the pasta. Cook the pasta so it is just firm, or "al dente," and it will go well with the crunch of the fresh vegetables. Mix the dressing up to three days in advance; then toss when ready to serve. We like using mini farfalle in this recipe so that all of the ingredients are about the same size, but swap in any pasta shape you like.
Summer Pasta Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
This summer pasta salad is so filling it is almost hard to think of it as a salad. It has all the meat from a deli-roasted whole chicken tossed in, as well as farfalle, sliced zucchini and squash, and the sweetness of coarsely chopped nectarines. Together, these tastes are fresh and light, but incredibly delicious. Tossed with Lime Vinaigrette, which is zesty with just the right hit of vinegary acids, you get just that little extra hint of tartness, which makes this salad all the more seasonal. Our colorful pasta salad is so satisfying it qualifies as dinner.
Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing
Who knew throwing some avocado wedges and fiery buttermilk dressing on a pasta salad could make such a flavor impact? Crushed garlic gloves, ground red pepper, chili powder, and black pepper all bring the heat, so when this dressing says it is spicy you know it is not kidding. Low-fat buttermilk, light sour cream, and canola mayo keep this dressing light, but heavy on the flavor. In fact, it tastes so good you may want to double the recipe. It's the perfect solution for a last-minute party or potluck since you probably have a lot of these ingredients right there in your pantry.
Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe
Recipe: Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe
Caesar salad gets an upgrade with the addition of fusilli pasta.
Summer Tortellini Pasta Salad
Recipe: Summer Tortellini Salad
For this salad, mix and match the ingredients according to what you already have on hand. For a rich, filling dish, begin with some cheese-filled tortellini pasta. Then toss in some salty green and black olives, some onions, and beautiful bell peppers. Herbes de Provence anchor the tangy vinegar-based dressing that lightly coats all of the ingredients, so you will love the variety of flavors.
Lemony Cucumber-and-Herb Pasta Salad
Add cilantro and mint right before serving. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice.