Summer Pasta Salads

Fresh and flavorful pasta salads, including your favorite macaroni salad recipes, are fitting side dishes for your favorite grilled entrées. But many of them can also star as main dishes for an easy summer dinner.

  • Picnic-Perfect Tuna-and-Macaroni Salad
    Photo: Mark Thomas; Styling: Stephana Bottom

    Picnic-Perfect Tuna-and-Macaroni Salad

    This colorful macaroni salad with tuna features grated carrot, chopped celery and red onion, all tossed in a creamy mayonnaise-yogurt dressing. Serve it chilled as a side salad or a main dish.
  • Caesar Pasta Salad
    Photo: Andrew McCaul; Styling: Lynn Miller

    Caesar Pasta Salad

    Make a creamy Caesar salad dressing and add to cooked fusilli pasta, along with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, for a flavorful side dish pasta salad.
  • Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

    Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

    Turn your favorite broccoli salad into a pasta salad by adding chopped broccoli, grapes, pecans, and bacon to cooked pasta and tossing with a sweet and creamy mayonnaise dressing.
  • Macaroni Salad with Summer Tomatoes
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

    Macaroni Salad with Summer Tomatoes

    White balsamic vinegar, tomato, and basil help this side dish maintain its fresh appeal.  Click here for more macaroni salad recipes.

  • Peppery Monterey Jack Pasta Salad
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Peppery Monterey Jack Pasta Salad

    Acini di pepe are tiny pasta rounds resembling peppercorns. Use ditalini (very short tube-shaped macaroni) or any other small pasta shape if you can't find acini di pepe.
  • Greek Pasta Salad
    Kate Sears

    Greek Pasta Salad

    Go Greek with your pasta salad by stirring in cucumber, tomato, olives, spinach, and feta, and tossing the mixture in a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Eggplant Pasta Salad
    Photo: Anna Williams

    Eggplant Pasta Salad

    Make a Mediterranean pasta salad by cooking eggplant along with tomatoes and olive oil, then tossing the eggplant mixture with penne pasta, pine nuts and parsley.
  • Green Bean Pasta Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

    Green Bean Pasta Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

    This pasta side dish Is made with casarecce [cah-sah-RECH-ee], a pasta that looks similar to a scroll with the long sides curled inward toward the center. If you can’t find casarecce, you can use penne pasta.
  • Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Penne Salad with Goat Cheese
    Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Penne Salad with Goat Cheese

    Make an upscale pasta salad that’s company worthy by combining penne pasta, roasted asparagus, arugula, herbes de Provence and goat cheese and tossing with a lemony vinaigrette.
  • Smoked Gouda and Penne Pasta Salad
    Photo: Ray Kachatorian

    Smoked Gouda and Penne Pasta Salad

    You’ll need only six ingredients for this flavorful and easy pasta salad. Smoked gouda and sun-dried tomato are the keys to the salad’s robust flavor.
  • Orecchiette with Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Basil
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Cindy Barr

    Orecchiette with Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Basil

    Taking its cue from Italy's insalata caprese, this easy dish combines fresh mozzarella cheese with basil and tomatoes.
  • Green Bean and Whole-grain Penne Salad
    Photo: Leo Gong; Styling: Dan Becker

    Green Bean and Whole-grain Penne Salad

    This salad is all about contrasts in flavor and texture: chewy, nutty pasta mingled with crisp, sweet green beans and strewn with bits of crunchy bacon and creamy.
  • Grilled Yellow Squash and Zucchini Pasta Salad
    Photo: Leo Gong; Styling: Dan Becker

    Grilled Yellow Squash and Zucchini Pasta Salad

    Use your bounty of summer squash to make a fresh and colorful pasta salad. The recipe calls for bowtie pasta, but you can use any shaped pasta you have on hand.

  • Pesto Pasta Salad

    Pesto Pasta Salad

    Add bright flavor and a punch of color to the traditional pasta salad by using a simple homemade pesto. Mix the pesto ingredients in a food processor for a quick side, which only calls for three other ingredients.
  • Roasted Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta Salad
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Roasted Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta Salad

    Instead of a mayonnaise-based dressing, this fruited pasta salad has a citrus-mustard vinaigrette. Chopped celery and toasted walnuts add crunch, and red grapes contribute just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Chicken-Penne Salad with Green Beans
    Randy Mayor; Melanie J. Clarke

    Chicken-Penne Salad with Green Beans

    Fresh green beans and roasted red peppers are the stars of this satisfying pasta salad. Because it has shredded chicken, it's certainly hearty enough for a quick weeknight meal and takes about 35 minutes to make.
  • Greek Pasta Salad
    Randy Mayor; Katie Stoddard

    Greek Pasta Salad

    Feature your favorite Greek flavors in this easy pasta salad: feta cheese, cucumbers, and Kalamata olives. The dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano further bring out the salad's Grecian nature, and fresh tuna makes it worthy of serving on Mount Olympus.
  • Macaroni Salad with Bacon, Peas, and Creamy Dijon Dressing

    Macaroni Salad with Bacon, Peas, and Creamy Dijon Dressing

    It's hard to say what makes this salad so spectacular–it's either crisp bacon crumbles or the creamy dressing that's made with cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. This will be quite a crowd pleaser at your next picnic.
  • Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

    Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

    This kid-friendly recipe is a takeoff on macaroni and cheese; it makes a large batch that holds well for two or three days. Serve with pickled jalapeño slices for grownups who like spicy food.
  • Garlicky Vegetable Pasta Salad
    Randy Mayor; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Garlicky Vegetable Pasta Salad

    Add grilled red peppers, onions, portobello mushrooms, asparagus, feta cheese, and olives to fusilli for a hearty pasta side dish with Mediterranean flair.
  • Orzo Salad with Corn, Green Beans, and Tomatoes
    Michael Weschler

    Orzo Salad with Corn, Green Beans, and Tomatoes

    Summer vegetables shine in this easy-to-assemble pasta salad. Because you can make it ahead and let it chill, it's perfect for picnics and covered-dish suppers.
  • Cavatappi Pasta Salad with Walnut-Sage Pesto

    Cavatappi Pasta Salad with Walnut-Sage Pesto

    A traditional pesto is made with pine nuts and basil, but this version features the more intense flavors of walnuts and fresh sage. The warm pasta is tossed with the pesto, roasted butternut squash, and arugula for a satisfying salad that can fill in as a main dish.
  • Confetti Pasta Salad with Chicken
    Randy Mayor

    Confetti Pasta Salad with Chicken

    A colorful medley of chopped fresh veggies gives this creamy pasta salad both color and flavor. For a shortcut, you can use rotisserie chicken instead of simmering fresh chicken breasts. Or, stir in leftover grilled chicken.
  • Prosciutto and Picholine Pasta Salad
    Karry Hosford

    Prosciutto and Picholine Pasta Salad

    Intensely-flavored Mediterranean ingredients such as olives, Dijon mustard, prosciutto and Parmesan cheese make this a memorable salad. Serve it chilled with a glass of wine.
  • Summer Farfalle Salad with Smoked Salmon
    Randy Mayor; Melanie J. Clarke

    Summer Farfalle Salad with Smoked Salmon

    Combine bow tie pasta with baby spinach, cheery tomatoes, and smoked salmon for a cool and classy salad that's perfect for hot summer nights.
  • Pizza Pasta Salad
    Photo: Ryan Benyi; Styling: Lynn Miller

    Pizza Pasta Salad

    Use fresh basil and oregano from your herb garden along with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and pepperoni to create a pasta salad that's full of pizza flavors.
  • Spinach, Tomato, and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
    Oxmoor House

    Spinach, Tomato, and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

    Dressed with a simple vinaigrette made from fresh herbs and a good quality extra-virgin olive oil, this pasta salad is as delicious as it is easy to prepare. The homemade Italian dressing will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, so consider doubling the recipe to keep some on hand.
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