6 Summer Pasta Salad Recipes

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Summer is upon us and with that comes family reunions, parties at the lake or river, and get-togethers. Pasta salads are the perfect summer meal since they are light and simple, and contain everything a meal needs– pasta, a meat and veggies.


Here are 6 delicious and easy summer pasta salad recipes:

1. Farmer’s Market Pasta Salad

This recipe is great because you can add any vegetables from your farmer’s market or garden!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry farfalle pasta (or any pasta you like)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 large seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (12 oz) jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup of balsamic dressing
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (cooked through, but not too soft, about 9-10 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. In a large bowl, combine pasta with vegetables. Pour balsamic dressing over the pasta and stir gently. Add the feta cheese and basil, then stir again. Season with salt and paper, then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

2. Bacon, Ranch and Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fusilli or rotini pasta
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 cup frozen peas, cooked
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 cup of ranch dressing
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Add the chicken, bacon, peas, and tomatoes. Toss to combine.

2. Add the black pepper to ranch dressing and stir to combine. Pour over pasta mixture and gently stir. Top with bacon crumbles to garnish. Chill until ready to serve.

3. BBQ Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (just use your favorite)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped fine
  • 2 whole scallions, sliced thin
  • 8 ounces pulled pork
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions:

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce. Add chopped vegetables and toss to coat. Add the pasta then pour BBQ sauce over pasta and mix well. Place the pork on top and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then garnish with parsley.

4. Lemony Shrimp Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 5 lemons, halved
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup fresh dill, fronds chopped, stems reserved
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound 16/20 shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
  • 1 pound fusilli
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups diced English cucumber

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the juice of 3 lemons, the honey and chopped dill. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified (oil doesn’t separate). Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set to the side.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the juice of the remaining 2 lemons, the dill stems and 1/2 cup salt. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp using a slotted spoon and add to the dressing. Toss to coat.

3. Bring the liquid back up to a boil. Drop the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water until the pasta is cooled. Remove the dill stems.

4. Add the pasta, grape tomatoes and cucumbers to the bowl with the shrimp and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Bacon and Avocado Macaroni Salad

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces elbows pasta
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and diced
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and thyme, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; then set aside.

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain well.

3. Add pasta, bacon, and avocado to the lemon-thyme dressing. Toss gently to combine, then salt and pepper to taste. Garnished with thyme, if desired and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

6. Creamy Cheddar Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound rotini (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 celery stems, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • fresh broccoli, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley

Directions:

1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook rotini according until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.

2. In a large bowl combine mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar, black pepper and dried parsley. Combine the rotini with the dressing, then stir in chopped red bell pepper, celery, finely chopped onion, and chunks of cheese. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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