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10 Best Summer Pasta Salad Recipes

10 Best Summer Pasta Salad Recipes

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There’s one thing that a summer picnic rarely goes without, and that’s pasta salad. When you think about all that it entails, it’s easy to see why it’s a fixture of outdoor entertaining. Pasta salad is simple to put together, requires very little cooking, and it can be served hot or cold, making it a convenient dish to pack away in a picnic basket or bring to the beach. Even better, most recipes for it offer a well-rounded meal comprised of a starch, vegetables, and oftentimes protein, so when the dog eats the hot dogs or the fish smells, well, fishy, the pasta salad can always come to the rescue.

Click here to see 10 Best Summer Pasta Salad Recipes

The most brilliant part about pasta salads is that they’re versatile and allow room for a lot of innovation. Whether you choose fusilli, bow tie, or a classic penne, your salad instantly becomes your own just by distinguishing the shape of pasta you choose to make it with. And then there’s what you decide to put in it. Will you create a classic recipe like this Summer Pasta Salad, with cucumbers, asparagus, and thick, juicy tomatoes? Or will you choose to make it a full meal with protein, like this Lemon Shrimp Orzo recipe? You can even put an international spin on your creation, creating a dressing like the one in this California Asian Pasta Salad, made with telltale Asian ingredients like sesame oil and soy sauce.

And even with all of that in play, the best part of a pasta salad is that it is almost always healthy. With mayonnaise-based dressings become less and less of a theme, the dish is quickly winning the hearts of even the most calorie-conscious eaters, with revisions being made to traditional recipes by using whole-wheat pasta or creating a light lemon and olive oil dressing.

In short, pasta salads really are great. They give you a canvas for you to paint your own culinary creativity on, they’re a one dish recipe and therefore easy to put together, and they’re flexible enough to feed just about any kind of eater there is. They’re just what we love about cooking.

Anne Dolce is the Cook editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce

17 Pasta Salad Recipes Perfect For Summer

Pasta salad is the ultimate summer side dish. No wonder it makes an appearance at every BBQ and potluck in the warm months, it&rsquos a crowd favorite. There&rsquos the classic Italian pasta salads and macaroni salads, but that&rsquos not all. There are many flavorful varieties of pasta salad that everyone should try at least once! Here are 17 delicious pasta salad recipes perfect for summer!

65 Pasta Salads That Will Crush At Your Next Cookout

Amp up your regular pasta salad with one of these fun and easy recipes.

Artichoke hearts, mozzarella, and salami make this salad stand out. No Mayo required.

Beautiful, veggie-packed Japchae deserves a place of honor at the table.

Avocado, corn, and black beans make this a unique and satisfying pasta salad.

This hearty pasta salad might be better than a trip to Tuscany.

Wake up and smell the sesame.

The flavors of Mexican street corn make this pasta salad perfect for elote lovers.

If your pasta salad doesn't include strawberries, you're not doing it right.

Orecchiette is an amazing idea for a pasta salad.

It's always a good time for ramen.

Expand your pesto pasta-bilities with avocado and sweet corn.

Be sure your fusilli is perfectly al dente.

This dish has just the right amount of heat.

There's Ranch dressing in there.

The classic flavors you love, paired with pasta. Opa!

What more could you ask for in a pasta salad?

Spicy salads are perfect for hot nights.

We knew penne was the only thing missing from a Caesar.

A choose-your-own-noodle adventure.

Mac and cheese, meet summer!

This pasta-free cucumber noodle salad has all of the elements of a traditional Greek salad. Into it? We have lots more veggie and zoodle recipes for your low-carb enjoyment.

10 Mayo-Free Pasta Salad Recipes to Make All Summer Long

No summer potluck is complete without pasta salad. It’s the side dish that’s endlessly adaptable and always a crowd-pleaser. It’s easy to transport, and keeps well in the fridge for days — which means it’s a great make-ahead option. The only problem? Traditional pasta salad recipes often call for loads of mayo — and sometimes you want something a bit lighter and a bit fresher.

Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite healthier, mayo-free versions of everyone’s favorite summer side dish. Instead of the traditional mayo, all of these pasta salad recipes use either a creamy substitution like pesto and tahini, or a zippy vinaigrette for added brightness and flavor.

Creamy silken tofu makes this soba salad especially satisfying.

Okay, okay, this last one on our list of pasta salad recipes is actually not pasta salad. It’s salad pasta. A whole salad’s worth of greens, folded into pasta to make a complete dinner in one bowl. The chickpea pasta adds protein and the garlicky anchovy sauce complements it especially well.

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Here are our 10 best pasta salad recipes to get you started -

1. Fusilli, Black Olive and Feta Pasta Salad

A simple yet satisfying recipe with the goodness of black olives and cherry tomatoes, tossed up with fusilli and feta, and dressed in balsamic vinaigrette.

2. Chicken Pasta Salad with Honey Soy Dressing

An interesting and refreshing, Chicken Pasta Salad recipe where fusilli, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn are tossed together and drizzled with a honey-soy dressing.

An interesting and refreshing, Chicken Pasta Salad recipe.

3. Parsley and Parmesan Pasta Salad

It can't get simpler than this! Penne tossed with black olives, fresh parsley and Parmesan, for a super quick mid-week lunch.

4. Creamy White Pasta Salad

Smooth pasta ribbons smothered in a rich and creamy white sauce. Finish with a sprinkling of freshly crushed pepper.

5. Cold Tuna Pasta Salad

A refreshing salad with tuna, boiled eggs and pasta, served cold with a light dressing.

6. Broccoli, Babycorn and Colourful Pasta Salad

This incredibly easy pasta salad recipe will get you hooked. Tip in some fresh herbs like parsley and basil for some added flavour, or a dollop of cream for some indulgence.

7. Pasta Salad with Asparagus Dressing

A warm pasta salad dressed in a delectable potatoes and asparagus sauce and topped with chicken ham, eggs and cheese. A simple, speedy and satisfying meal!

8. Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

The all-time favourite Caesar Salad gets more wholesome with penne pasta being tossed it. It makes for a quick and easy lunch meal. Top it with Parmesan and enjoy.

9. Peppery and Cheesy Pasta Salad

This is an immensely satisfying pasta salad with farfalle, cheese and a tangy dressing. Top it with fresh herbs and bread croutons and you have a winner!

10. Tadka Spaghetti Salad

A whole wheat spaghetti salad with chicken chunks and vegetables. Tempered with a mustard seed and curry leaf tadka for that Indian punch.

Make the Most of Summer's Seasonal Flavors With These Pasta Salad Recipes

The perfect summer day requires good food, good company, and a lot of sunshine. Finding a meal that's healthy, filling, and cold enough to enjoy on a hot afternoon is much easier when you have a treasure trove of pasta salad recipes to choose from. And because these colorful salads go hand in hand with warm weather, iced tea, and a relaxing day, what could be better? Easy to make and even easier to eat, pasta salad is a great go-to meal when you want something quick and delicious.

This summer, complement your pool day with a tasty pasta salad. Complete with seasonal veggies, exciting dressings, and noodles that'll keep you full, these recipes have all the best flavors of summer. Whether you want a cold side salad to pair with the main dish or you're looking to make enough food to feed you for days, there won't be a dish on this list that won't make you drool. Keep reading to see the best summer-themed pasta salad recipes, ahead.

24 Perfect-for-Summer Pasta Recipes

Keep it light and lively with these noodle dishes full of fresh veggies and lean protein.

Keep it light and lively with these noodle dishes full of fresh veggies and lean protein.

This no-cook tomato sauce not only satisfies your taste buds&mdashit saves your kitchen from added heat, too.

Keep it light on warm summer nights with this green bean and mushroom pasta recipe.

You'll want to have this dish for dinner every night after getting a taste of its tomato-garlic goodness.

Get the recipe at A Beautiful Plate.

This recipe only takes 30 minutes to make from start to finish so it's a great option for busy nights.

Get the recipe at Julia's Album.

Keep your weeknight dinners healthy thanks to this recipe that's infused with lemon, garlic, and red pepper.

Get the recipe at The Food Charlatan.

It's like a margherita pizza but in pasta form.

Get the recipe at Carlsbad Cravings.

Simple ingredients come together for one flavorful dish: bow-tie pasta with fresh spinach, garlic, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Try this recipe with wild salmon, which is leaner than farm-raised, but make sure to check for doneness after 2 minutes to avoid overcooking.

Vegetarians will love this colorful dish of rotini pasta smothered with sautéed eggplant, zucchini, green bell pepper, onions, tomatoes and garlic.

Recipe: Rotini with Ratatouille

Indulge in this guilt-free pasta that features whole-wheat penne, low-sodium chicken broth and loads of veggies, including zucchini, yellow summer squash and plum tomatoes.

Get a dose of protein and omega-3s with this tasty and light summer pasta dish.

If you're looking for a taste of Greece, try this combo of whole-wheat penne, Kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and arugula topped with crumbled feta.

The broccoli in this pasta sauce is a tasty and nutritious swap for the usual pesto herbs.

This light pasta incorporates fresh green peas and omega-3-rich walnuts.

Summer tomatoes are what make this dish shine use whatever fresh varieties you find at the market. Crusty bread may be optional, but it should be essential&mdashonce the noodles are gone, you'll want something to mop up all the leftover sauce with.

Here's a simple, easy-to-make pasta that will have guests thinking you're a culinary whiz.

Served as a main or side, this hearty pasta features all the components of the beloved sandwich&mdashjust better, with peppery arugula, fresh tomatoes (use chopped medium-size tomatoes if you don't have grape or cherry on hand) and pungent red onion.

Why is this salad the best? This chopped salad will amaze everyone around the table! We served this salad at a dinner party and, "Wow! What’s in this salad?" was murmured around the table. That’s when you know a salad recipe is a keeper!

There’s our homemade Italian dressing, tangy, savory, herby and balanced. Add to that shallots, tomatoes, cucumber, and a zing from pepperoncini. And then Parmesan. Yes, this chopped salad wants to be part of your life!

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

The next time you’re asked to bring a dish to a party, bring this Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad. It’s a pasta salad full of plenty of vegetables, cheese and tossed with a good vinaigrette. Watch the video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home.

It’s funny because I pretty much think of the typical pasta salad as having been around forever. I used to make them in college with a quick toss of store-bought Italian dressing. It was so easy to make pasta salads that way, but when I think back… they really were not anything stellar.

And I made a lot of pasta salad for parties when I worked for a caterer back in the day. We made them in bulk in huge tubs for parties of 300 people. They were made much the same way as my college salads- with bottled Italian dressing. The truth is: everyone loves a good pasta salad, no matter how it’s made!

Now that I’m older and much, much wiser… I still make a good pasta salad. Nowadays though I add in plenty of fresh vegetables and I toss it all with a very simple, homemade vinaigrette. I think the dressing can make all the difference in a pasta salad, so homemade is the way to go!

Oh, and since I’m addicted to cheese all day every day… I add in cheese cubes too. This is the perfect recipe for bringing to a potluck party. It’s easy to make, and you can prepare it several hours ahead. Just toss it again lightly before serving.

My big secret for making pasta salads for parties (when your refrigerator is stuffed full of other things) is to put the prepared pasta salad in large zip baggies. Then you can easily plop it into a serving bowl when it’s time for your party!


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