Summer Pasta Salad
It’s hard to think of a time when a pasta salad doesn’t round out a warm weather meal perfectly. It can also be the main course, holding center stage in all of its colorful glory, and if you make a vegetarian pasta salad it can serve as the entrée for some, and a side dish for others. If I am making a pasta sinner, I often cook extra pasta so that I have a jump open a pasta salad later in the week, which cuts down on time, and also turning on the stove sometimes, if the other ingredients in the salad are uncooked or precooked.
I often make pasta salads to clean out the fridge, especially when I have a mishmash of ingredients on hand that on their own wouldn’t make much of a meal. Leftover cooked vegetables, half a zucchini, part of a pint of cherry tomatoes, extra roasted or grilled chicken, chopped onions or a handful of sugar snap peas from a stir fry. Into the cooled pasta they go.
Pasta Salad Dressing
As for a dressing, you can stick with a very simple olive oil or mayo based dressing, or you can use some leftover vinaigrette, maybe softened with a few extra glugs of olive oil. Or maybe the dressing showcases those leftover herbs you have. I made a pasta salad with leftover ranch dressing the other day that was nothing short of divine.
So, while you can ad lib your own pasta salad any day of the week, sometimes you want to aim for something in particular. Here are 12 pasta salad recipes for the pondering.
16 Cold Pasta Salad Recipes
Summery, colorful, delicious. Perfect for entertaining, packing for an office lunch, picnics, you name it.
Leftover chicken piccata becomes a springboard for a delicious salad that can be served warm or cool.
If you like Caesar Salad, and you also like pasta salad this is your lucky day. This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is the best of both worlds.
This pasta salad is portable and flexible. It’s also a nice way to play around with the vegetables of the season.
An orzo salad with colorful, barely wilted spinach adds nutrition and freshness to the pasta.
This is the best kind of old-fashioned macaroni salad, starring a simple dressing and elbows, perfect for picnics and barbecues.
A quick summery meal that can be made ahead. Skip the bacon and it’s vegetarian!
This is a light and very colorful pasta salad, perfect for picnics and potlucks and warm weather lunches. Great to take to work as well.
Chicken salad meets Spring. This pasta salad is heavy on the chicken.
A springtime pasta perfect for a picnic, a buffet, or for a potluck.
Tiny rice shaped pasta is surrounded with chopped herbs and vegetables in this colorful, cheerful, portable orzo salad.
This is so, so pretty, and can be made ahead, which is great when you have a crew of guests.
This cheery, fresh green-and-white orzo salad features asparagus and sugar snap peas.
Leftovers join forces to become this better-than-I-expected salad.
This dish turns lunch into a luncheon.
This pasta salad is late summertime eating at its finest.
More Summer Recipes to Try: