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19 Pasta salad recipes that are perfect for potlucks

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Summer seems to be the season of potlucks of all kinds. From church group meals on Sundays to backyard barbecues and fish fries to company picnics, the easiest side you can bring is the humble but always popular pasta salad. But skip that boxed stuff, and opt for one of these superior options instead.

1. Summer macaroni salad with pancetta and peas
in creamy lemon-thyme dressing recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: The Cozy Apron

Well, if that recipe title didn't get your mouth watering, I don't know what else will. The balance of salty and umami pork, sweet veggies and citrusy dressing makes this pancetta, pea and lemon-thyme pasta salad a taste of summer.

2. Simple grilled kale and red pepper Tuscan pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: Half Baked Harvest

While most pasta salads are served cold, this kale and red pepper Tuscan pasta salad can also be served at room temperature to bring out the flavor of the cheese (or even slightly warm so the cheese slightly melts).

More: Gluten-free BLT quinoa pasta salad is perfect for picnics

3. Bruschetta pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Because bruschetta is so addicting, why not have it as a side dish instead of an appetizer? SheKnows' own Brandy O'Neill wondered just that, so she created this amazingly fresh bruschetta pasta salad.

4. Creamy lemon-infused pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Loads of fresh herbs, tangy Parmesan cheese and lemon are the perfect combination in this creamy lemon-infused pasta salad.

More: Healthy end-of-summer pasta salad is your new go-to vegetarian dish

5. A dairy-free version of traditional pasta salad

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

That creamy traditional pasta salad is a grocery store deli favorite in football states, but you also have special dietary needs to consider — make a vegan pasta salad like this for your next sports party, and no one will be disappointed.

6. Colorful bell pepper pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: The Healthy Foodie

If you're looking for a healthy alternative, this bell pepper pasta salad with tofu will do the trick. If your guests aren't vegetarians, replace the tofu with cubed chicken breast grilled with a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil.

7. Chicken "BLT" pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: Cookin' Canuck

This bacon, spinach and tomato pasta salad proves something millions of foodies already knew — BLTs are better with spinach than lettuce.

8. Tortellini pasta salad with bacon, broccoli and basil recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: Cookin' Canuck

Pasta salads don't have to be made with macaroni or rotini. Use your favorite tortellini in this pasta salad for added texture and flavor.

9. Summer picnic pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: A Full Measure of Happiness

Just because you're gathering with friends or family doesn't mean you have to eschew health altogether. This wheat pasta salad for summer will let you sneak in a little whole wheat.

10. Greek summer pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: No Gojis, No Glory

It has Kalamata olives, it has feta, it has garlic, it has lemon pepper, it has juicy summer tomatoes… drool check! You've gotta try this Greek pasta salad.

11. Summer pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: Love from the Oven

Love this summer pasta salad with Italian dressing, broccoli, olives, tomatoes and cheese. But I love her idea of filling little plastic cups with individual servings of the salad and placing them on ice until people are ready to eat even more!

12. Surfside salmon pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Sneak some omega-3s into your dish with this salmon-filled pasta salad. There's even a little seaweed in there.

13. Chimichurri pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: Always Order Dessert

This spicy Argentinian condiment makes a simple and delicious side to any meat dish in a chimichurri pasta salad.

14. Pretty pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: The Weary Chef

This beautiful pasta salad features dried dill, English cucumbers and grape tomatoes to make a quick and easy pasta salad that's perfect indoors or out.

15. Pizza pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Image: The Weary Chef

If pizza is good, pizza pasta salad has to be better, right? This is the perfect pasta salad to bring to a potluck where there will be lots of kids. Make a double batch so you'll have some left over for school (and work!) lunches later in the week.

16. Kale pesto pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Make this kale pesto pasta salad for the vegan crowd, but watch out — non-vegans will love it too. Better make a double batch.

17. Spicy harissa pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Red harissa paste adds some kick to this flavorful pasta salad.

18. Asian pasta salad recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

This pasta salad with mango, avocado and soy-sesame dressing will be the first dish emptied at your next barbecue.

More: Summery cheese tortellini pasta salad with fresh grilled corn and tomatoes

19. One-pot pasta and veggie salad with lime vinaigrette recipe

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious

Pucker up. This lime vinaigrette gives this healthy veggie-full pasta salad tons of tang. And bonus, it's one-pot!

Easy pasta salads that will make your next cookout delicious
Image: Gabriela Arellano/SheKnows

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