A list of pasta salad recipes for every occasion including spaghetti salad, chicken pasta salad, Italian pasta salad, Greek pasta salad and many more! These pasta salad recipes are perfect for picnics, barbecues, potlucks or casual family meals.
I love a good hearty salad, and this list of pasta salad recipes has everything from the classics to more unique offerings like Asian noodle salad and a BLT version.
Pasta salad recipes seem to be the go-to option for potlucks and BBQ gatherings no matter the season. Sometimes we even take the same old recipe to every event because it is the one ‘we always bring’. Change it up! Need some new ideas? I have you covered.
We all have our favorite pasta salad recipe we turn to for everything but let’s be honest, variety is the spice of life. I have gathered what I call the new and improved go-to list for these salads. Here are 10 modern pasta salad recipes you can really wow people with!
10 Pasta Salad Recipes
What goes into pasta salad?
Pasta, vegetables and meat are the primary ingredients in pasta salad. Typically a short pasta is used, such as penne, rotini or macaroni. Protein choices vary and can include chicken, shrimp, bacon, beans and cheese. The vegetables are typically uncooked and include cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, onions and broccoli. These salads can be garnished with a variety of toppings such as fresh herbs, olives, nuts and seeds.
What dressing is in pasta salad?
A common pasta salad dressing is Italian dressing, either homemade or store bought. Other pasta salad dressings are vinaigrettes, ranch dressing, or mayonnaise based sauces. Sometimes basil pesto is used as a salad dressing.
Is pasta salad good for you?
The healthful qualities of pasta salad vary widely depending on the recipe. Many recipes contain a fair amount of oil or high calorie meats and cheeses. That being said, it’s definitely possible to create a healthier pasta salad by using whole grain pasta, lean meats like chicken, and plenty of fresh vegetables. A lighter salad dressing would contain little to no oil.
How do you make cold pasta?
All pasta salad recipes call for pasta that’s been cooked, then cooled, as hot pasta may wilt other fresh ingredients. To make cold pasta, simply cook your pasta according to package directions, then drain and run cold water over the pasta to cool it off and stop the cooking process. If your pasta sticks together at all, you can toss it in a little olive oil to keep the noodles separated.
Can you freeze a pasta salad?
Technically speaking, yes you can freeze a pasta salad. Flavor wise, it’s not going to compare to a freshly made salad. Pasta can get mushy when frozen then thawed, and some of the more delicate fresh ingredients like cucumbers, lettuce and fresh herbs do not hold up well to freezing. If you do plan to freeze a pasta salad, it’s best to freeze it in small portions, and add the dressing only after you’ve thawed your salad.
How long do these salads last in the fridge?
A mayonnaise based pasta salad can last in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. A salad with a vinaigrette or other non-mayonnaise dressing will last for up to 5-7 days. Salads with highly perishable ingredients such as seafood or lettuce may last for less time.
These pasta salad recipes will delight your friends and family for pot lucks, barbecues, get-togethers and plain old everyday dinners. You will be amazed at how quick and easy these flavorful salads are to make. Try one of these salads today!