Greg DuPree

Customize this pasta salad recipe with other ingredients you love for the easiest dish of summer.

Looking for a reliable dish that's family-friendly, loved by all, and incredibly easy to make? We know of a summertime staple that won't steer you wrong. It's so easy, in fact, that you barely need a recipe...but for best results, you should absolutely use ours. Start with this Lemony Cucumber-and-Herb Pasta Salad recipe as your base, and from there, customize to your heart's content.

The base recipe is a fresh take on pasta salad that will spice up your cookout repertoire. Each bite will deliver on fresh herbs, crisp cucumbers, and briny feta. Dressed simply with mustardy lemon-garlic dressing, this crowd-pleasing dish lends to a variety of mix and match options. We recommend swapping the pasta for any of the ingredients below:

Cannellini beans or white navy beans. Creamy when bit into these beans will add a boost of protein to the mix. Plus, their subtle flavor melds nicely with the other ingredients and soaks up the dressing.

Quinoa. This gluten-free grain would be a winning swap in this salad. It’s a complete protein and rich in nutrients. Go for rainbow quinoa to add a pop of color.

Couscous. The Mediterranean vibe of this recipe with its combo of cucumbers, feta, and mint is pretty much begging to be mixed with couscous. Made from semolina, much like pastas, it’s a great fit. For a similar stellar combo, use Israeli couscous. Its larger pearls are chewy in the best way and toasting them lightly in olive oil before adding water boosts the flavor.

Bulgur. Its tender chewy texture works pleasantly well in salads. These wheat kernels have been steamed, dried, and crushed and it’s what you’d use when making tabbouleh. Chopped tomatoes in this mix could be a really great idea.

Farro. Dense and chewy this rich and nutty grain is a delicious substitute for pasta. Although its subtleness is amenable to different flavors, it really loves Italian vibes. Swap some basil for the cilantro and mozzarella or parmesan for the feta and you’re pretty much in Italy.

RELATED: Healthy Little Food Swaps That Taste So Good

A salad this good deserves a storage container that’s just as great. This glass bowl with a wooden lid will give you all the heart eyes. For storage in individual portions, these Weck jars with wood lids are just too cute. Consider your menu planning for any summer festivity done!