26 Pasta Salads to Upgrade Your Cookout
Greens Pasta Salad
Justin Chapple dresses pasta with a tangy and creamy mix of buttermilk, vinegar and mayo, then mixes in plenty of greens.
Easy Pasta Salad
You can add baby spinach, shredded roasted chicken, or canned chickpeas to this go-to recipe.
Fregola with Charred Onions and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Fregola is a bead-shaped pasta from Sardinia; it’s nicely chewy and can be used as a phenomenal base for a summer salad. Chef Jeff Banker roasts cherry tomatoes in the oven before he adds them to the fregola, which makes them especially sweet.
Vinegar-Glazed Butternut Squash Pasta Salad
Food & Wine’s Laura Rege combines some of fall’s best flavors in this rustic whole-wheat pasta dish. For the best results, seek out a great-quality unrefined hazelnut oil, which imbues the whole dish with a lovely nuttiness.
Whole-Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber
An updated pasta salad—whole-wheat spaghetti served at room temperature with sautéed tofu, cucumbers, scallions, and an Asian dressing—makes a delicious warm-weather meal, reminiscent of Japanese soba-noodle dishes.
Pasta Salad with Grilled Sausages and Peppers
You can use your favorite sausage—or really any meat—in this easy pasta salad.
Rice-Noodle Salad with Chicken and Herbs
Bubbly drinks in all their forms, from sparkling wine to fizzy ginger beer, inspire an effervescent bubble party. Pair them with a cool Vietnamese-style noodle salad tossed in a bright (and fat-free) citrus dressing.
Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables, Parsley and Feta
This bright, Greek-inspired salad is even better the next day.
Farfalle with Zucchini and Parsley-Almond Pesto
Melissa Rubel Jacobson combines roasted almonds, parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for a nutty, fresh-tasting pesto. This pasta dish is terrific served warm, but it can also be refrigerated and served as a cold pasta salad.
Bow-Tie Salad with Fennel, Prosciutto, and Parmesan
A tangy lemon dressing makes this main-course salad especially refreshing, and the only thing you have to cook is the pasta. If you find a fennel bulb with the dark-green feathery tops still on, chop some of them and toss into the pasta.
Niçoise-Style Orzo Salad
Add tuna and make this salad a full meal.
Farfalle with Spring Vegetables
Douglas Monsalud serves hyper-seasonal dishes like this lemony pasta salad with lots of green vegetables and herbs.
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Arugula, Pine Nuts and Herb Dressing
For lighter winter meals, Melissa Rubel Jacobson jazzes up a basic pasta salad with peppery arugula and a lively mayo-based dressing made with garlic, lemon juice and a trio of fresh herbs. She uses sweet grape tomatoes, which are delicious year-round.
Cold Soba Salad with Dried Shiitake Dressing
This sweet and savory Japanese-style cold noodle salad is an easy dish to serve to a crowd, since it’s delicious chilled or at room temperature. Use preshredded carrots in place of julienned to make it even more quickly.
We've based this salad very loosely on paella, the Spanish rice dish—and you can actually make it with rice if you like. Our choice, though, is orzo, the tiny rice-shaped pasta. The cooking instructions are the same whichever you choose.
Thai-style Beef Salad over Angel-Hair Pasta
Laab—ground beef seasoned with chiles, lime juice, fish sauce, and mint—is a traditional Thai meat salad eaten warm or at room temperature. We’ve added thin noodles to turn it into a pasta salad, but you can always eat the meat mixture by itself; just cut down on the fish sauce, or the beef may be too salty.
Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto
Our tomato pesto packs a wallop of flavor. Use it in this colorful pasta salad or toss it with hot pasta instead. You may also want to try the pesto on top of grilled chicken, lamb, or vegetables; as a sandwich spread; or mixed with cream cheese on a bagel.
Crispy Shrimp with Noodle and Bean Sprout Salad
“Lime, mint, peanuts, panko, noodles, shrimp—lots of textures collide in this dish, screaming for a white wine with some acidity,” says Peter Kasperski.
Thai Seafood Noodle Salad
The classic flavors of Thai cuisine—sweet, salty, spicy, sour—can all be found in the dressing on this salad, a delicious tangle of chewy rice noodles, shrimp, squid and peanuts.
Bow-Tie Salad with Scallops, Black Olives, Oranges, and Mint
Here's a unique and refreshing pasta salad with flavors reminiscent of Morocco and Southern Italy, where oranges and black olives are often paired.
Smoked Salmon Macaroni Salad with Spinach, Lemon and Goat Cheese
This bright and flavorful smoked salmon macaroni salad with spinach, lemon and goat cheese is sure to become a summertime favorite.
Soba Noodle Salad with Pesto and Grilled Eggplant
"Buckwheat and basil actually work really well together," Bill Kim says about this unlikely match-up of Japanese and Mediterranean flavors. This chunky salad has a great mix of textures, too: velvety grilled eggplant, crunchy radishes and juicy cucumbers.
Sesame–Ginger Chicken Pasta Salad
This quick-prep, creamy, Asian-inspired pasta salad is a meal in itself or a great BBQ or picnic side dish.
Corn-and-Zucchini Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese
F&W's Kay Chun takes pasta salad to a new level with sweet grilled corn, zucchini and a creamy lime dressing spiked with chile powder. She uses fresh cilantro to add brightness and then tops the whole salad with tangy slivers of fresh goat cheese.
Warm Puttanesca Pasta Salad
A couple tablespoons of petite capers pull their weight, lending an unmistakable briny goodness.