Super-filling and super-delicious, pasta can be a meal or a side. These perfect pasta salad recipes can be either, because they’re hearty, full of flavor and filling. As a bonus, these delish dishes come together quickly, can be left in the fridge until serving time, and usually makes enough for a crowd. Here, we’ve got 10 of the most perfect pasta salad recipes for you to try this season!
15-minute easy Greek pasta salad
For the hottest of summer days, turn to this 15 minute easy Greek pasta salad from Jessica Gavin. Greek salads are delicious to begin with — and only get more delicious as they sit in the dressing and flavors meld. This salad comes together in the amount of time to cook a package of penne and to slice up the vegetables.
Don’t skip the homemade vinaigrette! The uncomplicated emulsion of olive oil, lemon juice, a touch of honey, oregano, basil, mint, and red onion makes this salad sing. The fresh veggies are mixed in with a healthy dose of feta cheese — making for an easy go-to meal on a summer weeknight.
Pepperoni pasta salad
This pepperoni pasta salad from Beth at Budget Bytes is just what you need to satisfy the pizza craving during summer! Knowing it’s from Budget Bytes means that this summer variation pizza night won’t break the bank. Pepperoni is tossed with baby tomatoes and a handful of pasta. It’s then placed on a bed of spinach, seasoned with some leftover Italian dressing and topped with some Parmesan cheese.
This is a great option for those lazy summer days when you don’t know what to make for dinner — and it’s significantly easier on the waistline than your typical pepperoni pizza slice. Make up a large bowl and you’ll have dinner and lunch for days.
Kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad
We know that when you think kale, you don’t immediately think of pesto. The hearty green is a health-food lovers staple but can be slightly bitter and tough, so it sometimes gets a bad rap. Typically an ingredient for salad, kale is full of vitamins A, C, and K, folate — and fiber and can be truly delicious!
If you’re looking for ways to add this superfood into your diet, then give this kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad from Sally’s Baking Addiction a try. Kale is the main ingredient of a pesto instead of basil. The kale is blended together with olive oil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. The resulting sauce is poured over pasta with mozzarella cheese, baby tomatoes, some basil leaves for flavor and pine nuts or walnuts. Make a double batch because this salad will disappear.
Easy Italian pasta salad
Since pasta is already an Italian food, it makes complete sense to use it in an easy Italian pasta salad. Divas Can Cook has recreated a childhood favorite with this pasta salad. The Italian dressing is homemade, but don’t be intimidated! The flavors are out-of-this-world!
The dressing comes together beautifully with a good amount of shaking and some elbow grease. It’s then poured over a mixture of pasta, tomatoes, black olives, pepperoni, banana peppers, red bell peppers, green bell peppers and basil leaves. Italian ingredients at their finest: fresh, raw and delicious.
Jalapeno popper macaroni salad
This is no ordinary pasta salad. Jalapeno popper macaroni salad takes average pasta salad and turns it upside down. From The Chunky Chef, this pasta salad is the side dish for your next backyard get together that you’ve been wanting: creamy, spicy and delicious. The macaroni pasta is combine with jalapenos, cubed cheddar cheese, and some bacon. The dressing is made of a combination of sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise.
The flavors meld together the longer it sits, so be sure to make it in advance. Don’t like the spice heat? Substitute in green chilis for the jalapenos. Go ahead, treat yourself to this spicy yet cool, macaroni salad.
Chicken taco pasta salad with Catalina dressing
Taco Tuesday will never be the same thanks to this chicken taco pasta salad with homemade Catalina dressing. Have you ever have a taco salads that changed your life? We have, and the secret is Catalina dressing. A sweet and sour concoction made with ketchup, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil, the dressing for this taco pasta salad is the key to the whole dish.
Mini shell pasta, shredded chicken, taco seasoning and some shredded lettuce and you have a delicious taco salad without the deep-fried taco shell. This salad is quick, easy an tasty take on taco Tuesday.
Pasta salads typically use small shaped pasta. The bite-sized pasta shapes are the ideal choice for potluck fare as they’re easy to scoop and easy to share. However, there is no pasta salad authority that says you can’t use long strand pasta for pasta salad. Give this spaghetti salad from Six Sisters Stuff a shot!
Spaghetti pasta is mixed with fresh vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, cucumber and olives. Tossed together with a tasty vinaigrette dressing and some cheese, this pasta salad is fit to serve a crowd. If you find yourself without some of the called-for ingredients, simply sub in what you have in the fridge. Pasta is so forgiving, use anything you have on hand for a delicious salad.
Lemon herb Mediterranean pasta salad
Lemon herb mediterranean pasta salad from Cafe Delites is a vegetarian-friendly option for dietary preferences and restrictions. Penne pasta, a homemade lemon herb vinaigrette — and your tastebuds will be singing. The lemon herb dressing is lemon juice, olive oil and red wine vinegar with a bunch of herbs and seasonings.
The dressing is poured over pasta and fresh vegetables like tomato, lettuce, onions, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and avocado. The avocado brings a creaminess to the salad that other pasta salads miss. This is a delicious and simple pasta salad to serve at the next backyard barbecue. You can sprinkle with a little cheese if you’d like, or leave it off for not just vegetarian, but vegan pasta salad.
Spinach tortellini salad
Tortellini — cheese stuffed pasta in the round — is a totally indulgent pasta. Ring shaped pasta is filled with a mixture of meats or cheeses. Found in the freezer section of your local grocery store or fresh near the deli, this delicious pasta can be served with marinara sauce, a creamy Alfredo or just butter… or you can use the tortellini for this spinach tortellini salad from Lil’ Luna.
Here, yummy tortellini is mixed with spinach, Parmesan cheese, baby or Roma tomatoes, olives and Italian dressing. In about the time it takes to cook up the package of tortellini, you can have this tasty, easy pasta salad!
Roasted asparagus lemon butter pasta salad
Using seasonal vegetables in your recipes is a fantastic way to take advantage of the freshest and most nutritional offerings from local farms. Vegetables with notoriously short seasons, like asparagus, are best consumed within the growing season. With this roasted asparagus lemon butter pasta salad from Pretty Practical Pantry, asparagus is the the star.
First roasted with olive oil and butter, the veggie is then chopped roughly and tossed with onions, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and bow-tie pasta. Then lemon juice and lemon zest is added brightening up the flavor of the asparagus and keeping it a beautiful green. This dish is a tasty side for a nice brunch or lunch, or even alongside grilled steaks for a backyard dinner.