21 Picnic-Perfect Pasta Salad Recipes to Enjoy All Summer Long

No picnic or barbecue is complete without a crisp pasta salad. Not only is it typically creamy and refreshing, but pasta salad also tends to complement grilled meats and bold spices like a charm. Whether you’re packing for a beach day or whipping up a side dish for your next cookout, make sure to have one of these 21 pasta salads on the menu.

90 Easy Summer Dinner Ideas That Everyone Will Love

1. Salami, Artichoke And Ricotta Pasta Salad

A few of our favorite ingredients united in savory harmony. It's meaty, briny, creamy and tossed in balsamic-mustard vinaigrette for good measure.

2. Blt Pasta Salad

This picnic beauty has all the crunchy elements of the iconic sandwich, minus the bread. We'll take extra black pepper bacon on the side, please.

3. Avocado And Black Bean Pasta Salad

Buttery avocado and easy canned beans boost the protein content big time. We're also betting that this dish will fit right in at your next Taco Tuesday.

4. Roasted Broccoli And Bacon Pasta Salad

If the crispy bacon isn't enough to sway you, maybe the lemon-garlic breadcrumb topping will.

5. Apple, Grape And Pecan Pasta Salad

This fruity pasta salad is all about texture. Think crisp apples, juicy grapes and crunchy chopped pecans. Just be sure not to overcook the pasta on this one especially.

6. Caesar Pasta Salad

Proof that lettuce (and Caesar salad in general) doesn't need to be boring. The dressing calls on avocado instead of eggs for its creamy, rich texture.

7. Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles

Spiralized cukes are even more refreshing than standard zoodles, don't @ us. And you might have your doubts, but it'll turn you into a tofu fan with just one bite.

8. Meal-prep Creamy Pasta Salad With Broccoli And Raisins

It's as close to store-bought, old-school mac salad as you can get, only way more flavorful. Chalk it up to swapping gloppy mayo for tangy sour cream and apple cider vinegar.

9. Cold Soba Noodle Salad With Strawberries

Salty miso dressing + spicy shishito and red chile peppers + sweet-tart strawberries = an unexpected yet epic barbecue side.

10. Cold Lemon Zoodles

Proof that simplicity can be downright delicious. Buy your zoodles pre-spiralized, or slice them yourself with a peeler or grater.

11. Warm Sesame Noodle Salad

Not all pasta salads need to be served cold. Whip up this crisp, citrusy number for a cool alfresco dinner on the patio.

12. Butternut Squash And Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

Behold: an autumnal pasta salad that you'll want to make a part of your weekly rotation come September. Tender, sweet butternut squash is just the match for tangy goat cheese and crunchy pine nuts.

13. Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad

Give the elbow macaroni a rest and trade it for tender orzo. The shape alone makes the dish appear more elegant.

14. Peanut Noodles With Chicken

Peanut noodles taste just as divine cold as they do warm. Here, they're loaded with crisp veggies, like cucumbers and carrots, tender chicken and fresh cilantro.

15. Basil Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

Does it get summerier than fresh herbs, summer squash, zucchini and corn? We're betting not. (BTW, you'll want to drizzle the garlicky basil vinaigrette on *everything*.)

16. Loaded Farfalle Pasta Salad

Come for the charred corn, summer tomatoes and chopped avocado. Stay for the citrusy chive-yogurt dressing and pearl mozzarella.

17. Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Crumbled feta, mixed olives, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, hard salami—yup, gang's all here. Don't even get us started on the oregano-basil dressing.

18. Pasta Salad With Sun-dried Tomatoes And Chicken

How does this protein-packed side come together so quickly, you ask? You can thank our favorite cheat in the book: shredded rotisserie chicken.

19. 5-ingredient Strawberry Caprese Salad

Believe it or not, hulled strawberries give summer tomatoes a run for their money. (After all, balsamic glaze is their soulmate.)

20. Ramen Noodle Salad

This dish will change the way you see the quintessential college dinner forever. Think shredded veggies, slivered almonds and a sweet-and-sour dressing.

21. Tortellini And Smashed Cucumber Salad With Corn And Tomatoes

As if trading elbows for cheese-stuffed tortellini wasn't ingenious enough, smashing the cukes ensures that they'll soak up as much of the flavorful vinaigrette as possible.

For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...