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15 Perfect Pasta Salad Recipes

15 Perfect Pasta Salad Recipes

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These pasta salad recipes are fantastic for parties and potlucks, but equally good for weekday lunches! Grab the recipes, plus tips for making your pasta salads perfect.

Greek Orzo Salad
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6 Tips for Making Pasta Salad

When it comes to healthy recipes, pasta salads may not be at the top of your list—but they should be! Skip the heavy dressing and add extra vegetables and you can make a lightened up pasta salad that’s fresh and flavorful.

Here are my top tips:

Add Salt to the Water

I think sometimes we want to avoid salting the water for pasta because we’re afraid of overdoing it on the sodium, but remember: most the that salted water will be poured down the drain anyway! 

Salting the cooking water makes the pasta more flavorful—and when the pasta is more flavorful, it means you don’t need to add massive amounts of dressing and cheese to make your pasta salad delicious.

Dress in Two Phases

If you’ve ever made pasta salad in advance only to find it dry as a bone in your fridge, this is the solution. Add half of the dressing right away, while the pasta is still warm. Toss to coat.

Then, just before you plan on serving, add the rest of the dressing. This allows your pasta salad to absorb some of the dressing while it’s warm so it doesn’t soak up the rest of the dressing when you add it before serving.

Consider Your Add-Ins

Another tip for making pasta salad in advance is to leave out any add-ins that won’t fare well when refrigerated. Croutons and nuts will lose their crunch, for example, and fresh spinach and arugula will wilt. Add these types of mix-ins right before serving to keep your pasta salad tasting fresh.

Swap Out the Mayo

If you have some classic pasta salad recipes you want to lighten up, I recommend substituting plain Greek yogurt for the part or all of the mayo. It’s creamy and rich, but it’s also got added protein and a fantastic tangy flavor. Yogurt lightens up your pasta salad while also making it more satisfying.

Up the Veggie-to-Pasta Ratio

Flip the typical ratio upside down to make your pasta salad more salad than pasta! This is my favorite way to make pasta salads lighter. 

It works not just because you’re adding more vegetables than calorie-dense pasta, but also because vegetables have more flavor than pasta, which means you can get away with using less dressing too.

Let It Come to Room Temperature

Rather than serving pasta salad chilled, I like to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. This makes creamy salads creamier and allows you to really taste all the flavors. 

15 Fabulous Pasta Salad Recipes

Looking for some pasta salad inspiration? Add these recipes to your menu!

Greek Orzo Salad
Italian Pasta Salad
Pasta salad no mayo
Dads like bacon so I thought a bacon, lettuce and tomato summer pasta salad would be a perfect side dish for your Father's Day picnic. The L in this BLT salad should really be an S but I didn't like the sound of a BST.
Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

I love serving this Greek pasta salad with grilled chicken for an easy summer dinner on the patio. The olives are my favorite part!

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Grilled Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad
Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna adds protein to this pasta salad recipe, making it worthy of a meal. You’ve never had tuna salad like this before!

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Lobster Roll Pasta Salad
Chilled Italian Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Salad is loaded with shrimp, perfect for dining al fresco!
I love making this mayo-less summer pasta salad with arugula, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, capers, fresh shaved Parmesan cheese and a splash of balsamic and oil.
This warm pasta salad is big on summer vegetables, corn and zucchini, with a small kick of red pepper. A great sub to potato salad and a perfect meatless entree or side dish for your next picnic or family potluck.
Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini is the perfect summer pasta salad loaded with fresh summer vegetables tossed in a light creamy dressing.
Tortellini Salad with veggies

Tortellini Salad

Three-cheese cheese tortellini pasta, ripe tomatoes, crunchy broccoli, and black olives make this pasta salad a total crowd-pleaser at potlucks.

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Macaroni Salad
Grilled Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad

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