Cold pasta salads are perfect for picnics, potlucks, and parties. Quite fast and easy to put together, summer pasta salads can also be served as a tasty entrée or side for lunch or dinner.
They’re packed with a colorful mix of veggies, homemade dressings and cold pastas. Definitely one of my favorite choices, along with Easy Chicken Pinwheels for any lunch options
Cold pasta recipes are always a big hit! So easy to make, cold pasta dishes travel well and usually don’t require constant chilling, so most of them will sit out on a buffet table without a problem.
In today’s post, I have rounded up some of the Best Cold Pasta Salad Recipes. These recipes are all from top food bloggers and I have personally tried some of the recipes in the list.
From cold pasta salads like best BLT Pasta Salad and Italian Pasta Salad, to creamy pasta salads such as Creamy Summer Pasta Salad, Creamy Ranch BLT Pasta Salad and Creamy Macaroni Pasta Salad, there’s something that will please everyone in this mix. There are also plenty of Italian pasta salad recipes and seafood pasta salads with tuna.
I hope it will be handy for you to have all these recipes in one place, you can never have enough ideas to come up with the perfect easy pasta salad recipe. All you have to do is decide “Which one should I give a go today?”
Because who doesn’t love pasta salad?
Can you make pasta salad ahead of time?
Yes, you can. For most of the recipes included (unless mentioned otherwise) the flavor is going to be way better if the ingredients have a little bit of time to combine.
You can definitely make the salad the night before or the morning on the day you plan to serve it. Perfect way to save some time if you’re planning to make it for parties or gatherings.
Tips on how to cook pasta for cold salad recipes
- Don’t forget to place the cooked pasta under cold water, as soon as the cooking time has finished. Give it a good rinse to prevent from becoming cloggy. Add it to a large bowl and sprinkle a bit of olive oil on top. Give it a good toss and you’ll have the perfect cold pasta ready for summer pasta salads.
- If the recipe you are making has ingredients that need to stay crisp, making it ahead of time is not recommended. It will get soggy and no one likes a soggy salad. Combine the ingredients that are safe to be added ahead of time and add those particular ingredients if possible just before you are ready to serve it.
How to store the cold pasta dishes?
When it comes to storing cold pasta salads, there are a few methods you can use to keep them fresh and delicious. Here are some of the best ways to store cold pasta salads, taking into consideration various types I have included in the list
In the fridge: Store the pasta salad in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator. Ensure that the container is sealed tightly to prevent moisture loss, typically up to 3-4 days.
Separate Dressing: If your pasta salad contains a dressing, it’s often better to store it separately. Keep the pasta and other ingredients in one container, and store the dressing in a separate, smaller container. This prevents the salad from becoming soggy as the pasta absorbs the dressing over time. Mix the dressing with the salad just before serving.
Olive Oil Coating: Another technique to prevent pasta salad from drying out is to toss it with a small amount of olive oil. The oil helps coat the pasta, acting as a barrier against moisture loss. This method is especially useful if you plan to store the pasta salad for an extended period.
Smaller Servings: If you anticipate eating the pasta salad over several days, consider dividing it into smaller portions before refrigerating. By storing the salad in individual servings, you can easily take out only what you need, minimizing the chances of the entire batch being exposed to air and losing freshness.
Freezing: If you want to store pasta salad for an extended period, freezing is an option. However, keep in mind that the texture of the pasta may change slightly upon thawing. To freeze, place the pasta salad in a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion. Thaw the salad in the refrigerator overnight before consuming. Note that some ingredients like lettuce may not freeze well, so consider omitting those or adding them fresh after thawing.
How long do pasta salads last?
Most of the salads will stay fresh for about 2-3 days in the fridge, unless otherwise mentioned on the recipe. You might need to add a little bit more dressing to it and give it a good stir before serving it again.
How do you find the recipes?
To find each recipe, simply click on the title. You will get the full recipe, ingredients and directions on how to make, serve or store any of these easy pasta salad recipes. They are great additions to any summer picnic table, or the perfect side dish to summer parties.
Best Cold Pasta Dishes for this Summer
A total crowd pleaser, these 30+ best pasta salad recipes are perfect for summer gatherings or all year long!
Seasoned chicken, broccoli, golden raisins, celery, and a wonderful creamy homemade dressing come together to make this awesome Chicken Broccoli Pasta Salad. A total crowd pleaser, perfect for summer gatherings or all year long!
It’s the classic Cobb Salad turned up a notch! This Cobb Pasta Salad features perfectly cooked pasta, crisp bacon, ripe tomatoes, cubed chicken, chopped eggs, creamy avocado, and blue cheese dressing. Delish!
Italian Pasta Salad recipe is a cold summer salad perfect for picnics, or family functions. Full of fresh vegetables and herbs, salami, mozzarella cheese, tossed in an easy homemadetangy Italian dressing. It’s easy and delicious!
This easy BLT Pasta Salad recipe is perfect for summer potlucks and picnics, with a creamy ranch dressing, crispy bacon, crunchy romaine lettuce, and juicy tomatoes. It’s one of my favorite sandwiches in a large bowl!
Smoked Corn Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad is a fun update on a classic pasta salad featuring smoked corn, bacon, and avocado all tied together with a zesty Avocado Cilantro Dressing
Greek salad vegetables, olives, feta and pasta are tossed in a creamy Greek yogurt lemon mint dressing.
Tuna Pasta Salad is healthy, filling and PACKED with flavour! This slimming friendly tuna recipe is also great for making ahead – perfect for lunchboxes, picnics or BBQs
Farro Caprese Salad is a delicious twist on a summertime classic
This quick and easy Feta Bruschetta Pasta Salad packs bold flavours to pair perfectly with your summer grilling feasts and is sure to be a big hit at your next BBQ or cookout.
10. Risoni Salad
Risoni Pasta Salad can also be eaten as a light meal on its own. A burst of refreshing flavors in every bite!
Mexican Macaroni Salad is a fantastic side dish for any meal. A creamy salad filled with your favorite Tex-Mex seasonings, fresh vegetables and cotija cheese and chopped fresh parsley. A surefire hit for potlucks, summer cookouts or a great addition to taco night!
This Mediterranean inspired pasta salad is made with chickpea pasta and a homemade garlic lemon vinaigrette for a delicious and satisfying side or main dish.
This tuna pasta salad features bright Mediterranean flavors in this healthy and customizable main dish. No mayo!
Poppy Seed Pasta Salad is an easy, make-ahead dinner that’s perfect for hot summer nights when you don’t feel like heating up the kitchen. It’s also great for packing up for picnics, barbecues, potlucks, and beach days!
Greek orzo pasta salad with delicious vegetables and marinated in a lemony oregano vinaigrette. Perfect for a cookout or to enjoy meal prepped throughout the week!
30 Minute Pesto Tortellini Salad with asparagus, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. This vegetarian, Mediterranean pasta salad can be enjoyed warm or chilled for easy entertaining or a quick weekday meal.
Pesto pasta salad with homemade kale-basil walnut pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and broccoli. Serve it up at your next BBQ or picnic!
Risoni Salad – a fast and easy pasta salad using cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs with a simple chargrilled capsicum dressing.
This creamy Macaroni Salad Recipe is made with short macaroni, bell peppers, celery, onion, hard-boiled eggs, and peas. The Greek yogurt dressing gives it a secretly nutritious spin with more protein and less fat than a mayo-based macaroni salad. This pasta salad is the perfect picnic and BBQ side dish!
This Bacon Lettuce Tomato Pasta Salad is made with fresh romaine lettuce, bacon, green onion, bowtie pasta, baby tomatoes and is tossed in a healthy ranch dressing.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad, an easy homemade pasta salad with a quick vinaigrette, chicken, blue cheese, hot sauce, and veggies!
If you think hummus is just for dipping, think again! This hummus pasta salad combines store-bought roasted red pepper hummus with gluten-free pasta, arugula, carrots, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and olives for an easy and flavorful spring or summer side dish
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad – this easy to make pasta salad recipe is loaded with flavor! Charred corn and pasta are tossed in a creamy chili-lime dressing and topped with cotija cheese and crispy bacon!
This simple tomato and orzo pasta salad is rounded out with some simply pan-fried halloumi and a balsamic dressing to create a light but filling meal.
Penne Pasta Salad with Shrimp Chili & Lime. A deliciously simple pasta salad that’s terrific to serve with cold cuts, grilled, chicken or fish, or as an ideal BBQ side dish.
Tortellini Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Burst Tomatoes – this easy vegetarian pasta salad can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. It’s quick to make, packed with protein, and super healthy. Perfect for family gatherings and picnics alike.
A simple, creamy pasta salad for BBQs and grilling! The healthy-twist sauce is made from Greek yogurt as a tzatziki, no mayo, and filled with Greek salad ingredients.
Ramen noodles are good for more than just soup! Switch things up and make a healthy & colorful Vegan Ramen Noodle Salad buy using non-fried noodles! This easy salad is perfect for BBQs, potlucks or even to brighten regular mealtimes
Chilled Orzo Pasta Salad with Sweet Corn and Blueberries may be a little unexpected, but after your first bite, you’ll keep coming back for more!
Bright, flavorful orzo pasta salad, packed with summer’s freshest and best ingredients: chopped arugula and radicchio, basil, garlic, olives, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
Fresh and flavorful, this bruschetta orzo pasta salad is going to be a summertime favorite! Bonus: No mayo or yogurt so it’s great for warm-weather picnics.