30 Pasta Salad Ideas That Are Perfect for Spring
Pasta salad is the ultimate summer cookout staple. Now that summer's almost here, there's definitely an outdoor event in your future, and that means you're gonna need to make some pasta salad. Check out our best pasta salad recipes, including classics like Greek pasta salad, Caesar pasta salad, and pesto pasta salad as well as adventurous ideas like pasta salad with eggplant and even pasta salad with sirloin.
Three-Bean Pasta Salad
We combined two potluck classics—pasta salad and three-bean salad—to make one tasty new side dish. Blanched celery is the unexpected star in this side dish; it has a tender-crisp texture and bright green color. Swap out the canned beans for your favorite cooked field peas.
Warm Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Eggplant
Congratulations—You just found your new go-to pasta salad! This veggie-packed beauty is nice and filling, thanks to meaty eggplant. If you can’t find burrata, simply tear 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Heading to a potluck? Feel free to make this recipe ahead of time; just be sure to let it come to room temperature and toss with an extra drizzle of vinegar and oil before serving. Add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil leaves for an extra layer of flavor.
Roasted Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta Salad
Greek Pasta Salad
Mediterranean flavors shine in Greek Pasta Salad that provides a satisfying—and quick—one-dish dinner.
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.
Deli-Style Tortellini Pasta Salad
Reminiscent of deli-style salads we’ve all ordered at one time or another, this easy and delicious recipe works overtime providing you with an effortless dinner and even-tastier leftovers the next day. Like most pasta salads, this one tastes best once chilled for 24 hours, and because of its large yield, can be enjoyed for lunch throughout the week. Enjoy it cold, or at room temperature.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are the ultimate summer move, especially when it’s too hot to use the oven. They’re easy yet delicious and come together quickly, plus they don’t require much heat. Adding an easy homemade pesto to pasta salad elevates it to much more than a picnic or barbecue side. If you need to use up some extra basil or just want to try a twist on a classic side, this pesto pasta salad will please everyone in a cinch.
Grilled Corn Pasta Salad
This vibrant, flavor-packed summer side dish combines a bounty of favorite seasonal flavors into a single, epic pasta salad. The recipe comes from our friends The Food Gays, and they developed this colorful grilled corn dish as a fresher, brighter alternative to the typical mayo-based pasta salads that often show up a summer parties. Packed with fresh produce and dressed in a light and zippy lemon-mustard vinaigrette, this grilled corn pasta salad is anything but boring. Give it a try at your next summer cookout and enjoy as the compliments pour in.
Spring Pea Pasta Salad
Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad
This verdant pasta salad signals a fantastic start to spring with a shower of fresh herbs. Mini shell pasta and peas are a perfect pair—the pasta serves as a kind of catcher’s mitt for the sweet, bright green peas. You could also use orecchiette, an ear-shaped pasta that serves the same purpose. Skip the chicken and add 1/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese for a vegetarian main, or try 2 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon for meat lovers. If you have a nut allergy but still want some crunch, try toasted coarse breadcrumbs or sunflower seed kernels.
Pesto Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
This bright and fresh Caprese-inspired pasta toss is the ultimate summer main for a busy weeknight, outdoor picnic, or lunch on the go. With just two steps, it couldn't be easier.
Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad
Lemon and shallots marry for a bright taste that's ideal for a ladies' lunch or light supper.
Field Pea and Pasta Salad
Farfalle and fresh veggies make a seriously delicious summer side.
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.
Sirloin Steak and Pasta Salad
Salt-free garlic-pepper seasons juicy steak. We recommend using sirloin, but using flank steak works great, too.
Chicken and Arugula Pasta Salad
Just a bit of a rich and pungent cheese can go quite a long way. Tossing hot pasta with a few ounces of creamy Brie makes for a light, luscious, and flavorful sauce to coat this abundant bowl of chicken, fresh veggies, and whole-grain noodles.
Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
Cook the pasta al dente (1 or 2 minutes shorter than package directions specify) so it holds its shape when tossed with the vegetables and vinaigrette. Ripe for riffs, the salad is also delicious with cheese-filled tortellini.
Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
If you're a broccoli salad fan, you'll love the combination of these colorful ingredients. Cook the pasta al dente so it's firm enough to hold its own when tossed with the tangy-sweet salad dressing.
Use these video tips for getting pasta just right every time.
Greek Pasta Salad
Peppery Monterey Jack Pasta Salad
Acini di pepe [ah-CHEE-nee dee-PAY-pay] 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 in your supermarket. Serve with Asiago breadsticks.
Summer Pasta Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
Our colorful pasta salad is so satisfying it qualifies as dinner.
Triple-Pepper Pasta Salad
This dish is an exposition of sweet peppers. Here they're charred and pureed for a sauce, roasted and stirred into the pasta, and quick-cured for a pretty topper. Mild Aleppo pepper and spicy ground red pepper actually make this a five-pepper pasta.
Greek-Style Pasta Salad
Spring Pea and Pasta Salad with Chicken and Asparagus
If your herb garden is going strong, you can snip parsley and chives fresh from the source. Tarragon is worth seeking out for this dish; its anise notes are the distinguishing flavor.
Light and lemony, this recipe easily doubles for dinner with friends.
Pasta Salad with Eggplant, Zucchini and Squash
Ham Pasta Salad
Our Ham Pasta Salad is a great way to use leftover glazed ham—the lemon dressing brightens it up for Easter and offsets the ham’s sweetness, while the fresh parsley adds sprigs of color. The secret to the sauce is using the pasta water, so remember to keep it—if you do dump it out on accident, you can just use chicken stock. This is best served at room temperature. It’s still good after it’s been refrigerated, but the pasta will soak up some of the dressing. There’s also room for flavor variations based on your preferences: You could substitute fresh broccoli for broccoli rabe, add in even more ham, or incorporate lemon zest for a tangier salad.
BLT Pasta Salad
If you’re looking for a foolproof side to take to your next barbecue or potluck, you’ve come to the right place. This BLT Pasta Salad is essentially a BLT in a bowl, and who could turn that down? It’s creamy and crunchy, just like the sandwich, and packs a delicious punch, especially with the use of fresh tomatoes and lettuce. If you have access to heirloom cherry tomatoes, feel free to use those instead. You could also use baby arugula instead of lettuce for a peppery zing. You can prepare this ahead of time, but don’t dress until immediately before serving—otherwise, the lettuce will wilt and lose its crisp.
Grown-Up Pasta Salad
You know that pasta salad from childhood (you know the one—rotini, canned olives, underripe grape tomatoes, cubed cheese)? It showed up at cookouts, sleepovers and every occasion in between, and it holds a special place in hearts a plenty—or at least it does around our office. So, we made a few swaps to create a fully grown uptake that still hits all the nostalgic notes we crave. Think a more sophisticated nood (we went orecchiette, but you can go with whatever you like!), buttery Castelvatrano olives (i.e. the best olives), juicy-sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes for dynamic color, hunks of savory salami, rich and creamy mozzarella pearls, radishes for fresh crunch, and an easy, from-scratch Italian dressing. Sure, it may require a trip to the grocery store’s olive bar, but trust us, it’s so worth it.