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12 Amazing Pasta Salad Recipes the Kids Will Love

Instead of serving hot pasta on a sunny, summer day, try making a pasta salad. These salads, served cold, are perfect side dishes for any summer barbecue.


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Looking for the perfect summer side for your next BBQ? These easy-to-make recipes will take your next party above and beyond.

1. Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This pasta salad, which is filled with tons of fresh ingredients, is a cool, but healthy summer side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces dry pasta (farfalle)

  • 1 English cucumber, diced

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

  • 2/3 cup sliced kalamata olives

  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

  • half a medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

  • lemon-herb vinaigrette

Full recipe at: Gimme Some Oven

 

2. Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This 15-minute recipe is as simple as cooking the pasta, draining it, then tossing all the ingredients on top! Plus, the pineapple adds an extra dose of sweetness that’ll have the kids asking for seconds.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound dry elbow macaroni, prepared according to package directions and rinsed in cold water

  • 1 can (20-ounces) pineapple chunks, drained (reserve ½ cup liquid for dressing)

  • 2 cups cubed cooked ham

  • ½ cup shredded carrot

  • ¼ cup green onion

Pineapple Dressing:

  • ½ cup reserved pineapple juice

  • ½ cup light mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Full recipe at: The Recipe Critic

 

3. Italian Pasta Salad

Use tri-colored pasta to add some color to your Italian pasta salad.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound tri-colored rotini pasta, uncooked

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces

  • 1 1/2 cups thick-sliced English cucumber

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 (6-ounce) can medium black olives, sliced

  • 1/2 a purple onion, diced

  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni, quartered

  • 1 1/2 cups Italian salad dressing

Full recipe at: I Wash You Dry

 

4. Caprese Pasta Salad

Top this easy recipe off with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese pearls for a colorful and yummy dish.

Ingredients:

  • 16-ounce box Rotini pasta, cooked al dente and drained

  • 8-ounce container grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 8-ounce package mozzarella pearls

  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil

  • 1/4 cup pesto

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Full recipe at: Pip and Debby

 

5. Cilantro Lime Southwestern Pasta Salad

Host a summer fiesta with this delicious cilantro lime pasta salad.  Don’t forget the tortilla chips!

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces pasta, cooked, drained, cooled

  • ⅔ cup Hidden Valley Ranch Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 2 cups diced, cooked chicken (grilled, rotisserie, etc.)

  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

  • ½ cup chopped cilantro

  • 6 ounces pepper jack cheese, cubed

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 15.25-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

Full recipe at: Mom on Timeout

 

6. BLT Pasta Salad

Combine macaroni salad with a sandwich classic: bacon, lettuce and tomato.  

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces Ditalini shaped pasta

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 12 slices bacon, chopped

  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes

  • 2–3 cups chopped green lettuce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Full recipe at: Swanky Recipes

 

7. Taco Pasta Salad

No need to wait until Taco Tuesday to enjoy a spicy pasta salad. This Old El Paso recipe is a party favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium pasta shells (or other pasta shape)

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

  • 1 ½ cups salsa

  • ⅓ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons Old El Paso taco seasoning

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

  • 3 avocados, diced

Full recipe at: Old El Paso

 

8. Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad

This five-ingredient salad only takes 15 minutes to make!  Double up on the strawberries for an extra fruity flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry pasta

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, diced

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Full recipe at: Gimme Some Oven

 

9. Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad

Why not combine your favorite dip with pasta? The nutrient rich, iron-packed spinach makes it a super healthy option.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces pasta

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 package vegetable soup mix

  • 3 green onions, sliced

  • 1 can water packed artichokes

  • 4 cups chopped and lightly packed fresh spinach

Full recipe at: Spend with Pennies

 

10. Italian Tortellini Salad

Use tortellini to add some extra cheesy flavor to your salad.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top to compliment the flavor of the tortellini pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces small or medium cheese tortellini pasta (tri-color or regular)

  • 1 (5-ounce) package of mini pepperoni

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (red and/or yellow), quartered

  • 1 (3.8-ounce) can, black olives, drained

  • ½ cup red onion, diced

  • ½ cup jarred mild yellow banana peppers, chopped

  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing

  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

  • Pepper to taste

Full recipe at: Delightful Made

 

11. Buttermilk Crab Pasta Salad

Add some seafood to your side dish for an extra summery twist. This refreshing salad is perfect to enjoy while hanging out by the shore.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry pasta (bowtie)

  • 12–16 ounces imitation crab, torn into small pieces

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • ½ cup buttermilk

  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt (Lawry's)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Full recipe at: Rose Bakes

 

12. Lemon Pasta Salad

Zesty lemon gives this pasta salad its flavor and adds an eye-catching garnish on top of a perfect dish.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cooked pasta

  • 1 pound (or bunch) asparagus

  • ⅔ cup water

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/2 medium lemon)

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1–2 cloves garlic minced

  • 2 leaves basil, thinly sliced

  • ⅓ cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • ¼ cup grated romano/parmesan cheese

  • salt and pepper to taste

Full recipe at: Created By Diane

 

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