Cold meals are the official anthem of the summer. After all, what better way to fight off the heat and keep your taste buds happy at the same time?
When it comes to cool and delicious meals to enjoy during those warm days, you can count on pasta salads to get the job done.
Being super easy to make, pretty versatile and not to mention plate-licking delicious, they’re perfect for almost any occasion, from cookouts to picnics to BBQs, you name it. And they can be enjoyed throughout the day, especially for lunch and dinner.
In this post, you’ll discover how to build your very own pasta salad, as well as 25 of the best pasta salad recipes, that’ll tickle your taste buds and leave you satisfied.
Let’s dive in.
Building Your Own Pasta Salad
One good thing we love about pasta salads is how flexible they are. While there are obviously some basic ingredients that go into it, there’s still lots of room for variety and creativity.
Here are some of the main ingredients that’ll go into your delicious summer salad.
1) The Pasta
It’s not a pasta salad without the… uh… pasta. Any type can work fine, from spaghetti, to macaroni, to rotini, ziti, etc. Whichever type you prefer is up to you.
If you’re trying to make it even healthier, you can swap out the regular ones for whole grain alternatives.
Also, if you’re on a low carb or ketogenic diet, you don’t have to miss out on the fun as well.
Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are one of the most popular pasta alternatives, for people on low carb or ketogenic diets. You can also experiment with other low carb pasta brands available in stores. Just be sure to check their nutritional content first.
It’s not really a salad without some sort of veggie thrown in there. Vegetables make an excellent addition to your summer delight.
Not only are they a great source of nutrients and fiber, but they can also help to add a ton of flavor to your salad. And there are lots of options to choose from.
Popular vegetables you’ll find in pasta salads include juicy ones like tomatoes and olives, to rainbow veggies like peppers, onions, carrots and zucchini. Of course let’s not forget tasty greens like broccoli, celery, artichoke hearts, and cabbage and so on.
Feel free to experiment with your favorite vegetable or even a mix of veggies.
The dressing is the final icing on the cake. This is where you can choose to add any additional flavor you’d like to your salad.
You can choose from a variety of dressings, either homemade or store bought, simple or complex. Feel free to get creative here as well.
4) Other Add-ins
Like I said earlier, there’s lots of room for creativity here, while the mix of pasta, veggies and dressing is perfectly fine, you can choose to throw in some additional ingredients to spice things up.
- Cheese – I mean, if it tastes great, then why not? Cheese is a popular addition to most pasta salads. You can skip out on the cheese if you’re vegan, or opt in for other plant-based alternatives
- Protein – you can also boost the protein content of your salad, which will make it even more satisfying. Chicken, eggs, beef, salami etc. can all be added to your salad. Beans and chickpeas are also worthy mentions, especially if you’re going meat-free.
- Seasoning – You can also throw in some extra seasoning if you’d like. Your taste buds will thank you afterwards
There are lots of other wonderful ingredients which may not be listed here, that’ll still go great in your salads. Once again, feel free to experiment.
Want to save some for later? No problems. Pasta salads can last well in the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days on average, depending on your choice of ingredients.
Remember to store in a neat, airtight container, in order to retain good quality over time.
It’s also a good idea to leave out the dressing right until you’re ready to eat it. This helps to prevent the salad from getting all soggy, especially if you plan on storing it for long.
Pasta salads will no doubt make a wonderful addition to your meal prep routine.
25 Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes To Enjoy
Now, it’s time to create some drool-worthy pasta salads that’ll have everyone licking their plates and asking for more.
Here are 25 incredible pasta salad recipes to get you started. And trust me when I say they are really that good. No exaggeration here.
1) Salmon Pasta Salad
2) Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
3) Avocado & Tomato Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
4) Poppy Seed Chicken and Grape Pasta Salad
5) Pesto Pasta Salad
6) Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad
Who says you can’t throw a couple of fruits in there too?
7) BLT Pasta Salad
8) Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
9) Southwest Tortellini Pasta Salad
10) Keto “Pasta” Salad
You’d have never guessed that this was low carb. Each serving packs just 3g net carbs per serving.
11) Italian Pasta Salad
12) Healthy Shrimp Pasta Salad
13) Steak Fajita Pasta Salad
14) Salmon Macaroni Salad
15) Healthy Whole Grain Pasta Salad
16) Penne Pasta Salad
17) Asian Noodle Salad
18) Lemon Herb Mediterranean Pasta Salad
19) Quick & Easy Vegan Pasta Salad
20) Creamy Pasta Salad With Vegetables
21) Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad With Bacon
22) Keto Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
23) Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
24) Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
25) Apples And Celery Pasta Salad With Light Caesar Dressing