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12 Pasta Salad Recipes That Will Get You Invited to Every Cookout

12 Pasta Salad Recipes That Will Get You Invited to Every Cookout

Second to grilled meat, pasta salads are my favorite part of neighborhood cookouts. Pasta salad is quick to make, cost-efficient and can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Whenever I am making a pasta salad for a large social gathering, I make it the day before for the most optimal vegetable crunch and freshness.  

Best Types of Noodles to Use for Your Pasta Salad 

Keep in mind that the best type of noodles for a pasta salad are those with shapes that have enough thickness, creases and folds that can hang on to the dressing and vegetables. Such as penne, fusilli, rotini and bow tie, but as with all of cooking goes choose whatever is best for you. 

Basic Homemade Italian Vinaigrette Recipe

You can make this homemade dressing recipe for each and every one of these pasta salad recipes or you can substitute the homemade version with a cup of your favorite Italian dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Pasta Salad Recipes

One of these 12 pasta salad recipes will guarantee you an invite to every neighborhood cookout. Trust me, these pasta salad recipes are tried, true and verified for deliciousness.

1. Award-Winning Italian Pasta Salad

This recipe has all the best Italian flavors (minus the tomato sauce) in one dish. This recipe is the perfect completement side to hamburgers, hotdogs and ribs at your next BBQ.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz cheese tortelli pasta, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup of your favorite Italian dressing
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, cubed or in balls
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup salami, chopped
  • ¼ cup pepperoni, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup pepperoncini peppers, chopped
  • 1 handful of kalamata olives
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig, 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped OR 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

2. Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This recipe is a little bit tangy and a whole lot of savory delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz tri-colored bowtie noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 large pepperoncini pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup black (or kalamata) olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • ¼ cup feta cheese for topping, crumbled
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Green Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is loaded with fresh veggies and delicious Green Goddess dressing. 

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Cavatappi noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup pesto sauce
  • ¼ cup green beans, chopped
  • ¼ cup green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, julienned
  • 1 cup Green Goddess dressing
  • ½ cup mozzarella balls or cubes

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Salad

This recipe hits all those good tummy filling feels by providing extra protein with a punch of vegetable flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Rotini noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 cup roasted chicken, shredded
  • ½ cup mozzarella balls or cubes
  • ½ cup fresh broccoli, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped red and yellow sweet peppers
  • 1 jar of artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of Italian dressing OR homemade Italian vinaigrette (recipe at top)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Chickpea and Black Bean Pasta Salad

Every bite of this chickpea and black bean pasta salad recipes is a tasty burst of varied flavors and textures.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Conchiglie (small shell shaped) noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz. can of black beans, drained
  • 1 cup of your favorite Italian dressing
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon, garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, squeezed

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed. Top with feta cheese crumbles. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Creamy Pasta Salad

This creamy pasta salad is unlike the others on this list. Creamy and delicious, this recipe needs to be served in a bowl over ice, so it doesn’t spoil.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. farfalle (or salad macaroni) noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup of your favorite buttermilk ranch dressing
  • ½ cup salami (or ham), chopped
  • ½ cup tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ fresh broccoli florets, chopped
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, sliced
  • Sprinkle of red chili flakes
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Pasta Salad with Potatoes and Egg

If you love potato salad and you love pasta salad, you are going to love this recipe that combines the best of both! Don’t forget to keep this pasta salad chilled.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Penne noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and boiled to fork tender and once cooled, diced into chunks
  • 2 bacon strips, cooked and chopped
  • 3 eggs, boiled and chopped
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1-1 ½ celery stalk, chopped
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix ranch dressing, dry mustard, Italian seasoning in small bowl. Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Spaghetti Salad

Spaghetti pasta salad?! Yes! This pasta salad recipe seems to break the rules with its noodle choice.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. spaghetti noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup of your favorite cheesy Italian dressing
  • ½ cucumber sliced
  • ¼ cup pepperoncini peppers, chopped
  • ½ cup mozzarella, cubed
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup salami, sliced into strips
  • ¼ cup black olives, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, julienned

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Sweet & Savory Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Rotini noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • ¼ blueberries
  • ½ cup peaches, diced
  • 1 cup raspberry vinaigrette
  • ¼ ham, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ½ cup fresh arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Feta cheese for topping

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed, top with feta cheese. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Southwest Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Rotini pasta, cooked al dente to package directions
  • ½ cup whole kernel corn, drained
  • ½ cup black beans, drained
  • ½ cup Pico de Gallo salsa
  • ½ cup red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large lime, squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

‘Let’s Make It Hot & Spicy’ Pasta Salad

Make the get-together even hotter with this spicy pasta salad recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Penne pasta, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup chipotle ranch dressing (or any of your favorite spicy dressing)
  • ½ cup spicy salami, cubed
  • ¼ hot pepperoncini peppers, diced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup smoked gouda cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup Spanish green olives, sliced in half
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Kids’ Favorite Pasta Salad

My kids love pasta with lots of cheese and very little veggies. My kids love broccoli and carrots, but you can substitute those out for your kids’ favorite veggies instead.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Macaroni noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
  • 1 cup Mozzarella balls or cubes
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup salami, chopped
  • ½ broccoli florets
  • ½ cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup ranch dressing

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

What's For Dinner?

20 Classic Pasta Shapes Your Family Will Love

With so many noodle options, we narrowed it down to our favorite pasta shapes for feeding our families.
Recipes

About The Author

Desiree Eaglin

Desiree Eaglin of The Funny Mom Blog knows that motherhood *requires* funny. You can catch her momhacking her way through her life in Southern California with her four loud and rowdy (yet amazingly funny and talented) children. When Desiree isn't writing about her family's adventures, she is cooking up a storm in the kitchen or hanging with her friends. You can follow her Funny Mom adventures on her website and on Insta @DesireeEaglin. Stay Funny my friends!

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