Spring is here, summer is around the corner, and barbecue season is upon us — and nothing says “backyard BBQ” like a good pasta salad.
We rounded up a whole grip of pasta salads that are perfect to take along to a cookout — or any kind of potluck, really. 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.
1. Summer macaroni salad with pancetta and peas in creamy lemon-thyme dressing recipe
Well, if the name didn’t get your mouth watering, we 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
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).
3. Bruschetta pasta salad recipe
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
Loads of fresh herbs, tangy Parmesan cheese and lemon are the perfect combination in this creamy lemon-infused pasta salad.
5. A dairy-free version of traditional pasta salad
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
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
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
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
The Recipe Critic’s Hawaiian salad is perfect for a tropical-themed backyard luau.
10. Greek summer pasta salad recipe
It has Kalamata olives, it has feta, it has garlic, it has lemon pepper, it has juicy summer tomatoes… um, yum! You’ve gotta try this Greek pasta salad.
Up next: Summer pasta salad recipe
Originally published May 2015. Updated March 2017.