It’s summertime! Which means parties, picnics, and gatherings with tables filled with delicious seasonal eats like burgers, barbecue veggies, hot dogs, cold soups, and the classic pasta salad. Pasta salad seems to be a fairly polarizing dish at these events. While some view it as a refreshing way to satisfy their pasta craving during the hot summer months, others are irked by the tendency of some pasta salads to be soggy and bland.
Pasta salad lovers are bound to go wild over these creative takes on the iconic dish! Some recipes use creamy, vegan mayonnaise-based dressings, others use tangy vinegar, and some have their own unique dressings you wouldn’t think to mix it (but after today, you will).
For those of you out there that have yet to see the appeal of pasta salad, just check out the 15 recipes below; you will be convinced to give this often overlooked side a second chance.
In this Garden Picnic Pasta Salad, pasta is tossed with shredded kale, blanched broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and plenty of fresh herbs which is then topped with a simple, healthy, and citrus-y dressing. It’s easy to prepare and can be done the day before!
If you need something quick and simple to whip up for a summer gathering, this 3-Step Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad is the answer to all your troubles! Spinach, pine nuts, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan parmesan are blended up into the perfect pesto for tossing with your favorite pasta.
This is anything but your typical mayonnaise-based pasta salad! In our Thai Curry Pasta Salad, whole grain pasta is tossed with crisp, fresh vegetables and a creamy Thai curry-inspired dressing. Coconut milk makes the dressing creamy while the lime keeps it light and fresh along with the help of the zesty spices.
Yes, we know that technically ramen doesn’t really qualify as pasta, but same difference! In this Zucchini-Ramen Noodle Salad, there are chunks of juicy tomato, refreshing cucumber, and crunchy peanuts all over a bed of zucchini-based ramen and lettuce. This definitely a couple steps up from the ramen you may have lived on during college!
Few things are more refreshing than a bite of crisp, peppery radish! Enjoy all the freshness the vegetable has to offer in this Kale Caesar Pasta Salad, which also features kale and a super creamy homemade dressing. Think of it as a modernized version of the classic Caesar salad made to be the perfect picnic or barbecue food.
Pasta and vegetables are tossed in a gingery tahini peanut butter sauce and then refrigerated overnight for a delicious cold pasta salad in the morning. This simple, Tangy Asian Pasta Salad only takes a short 10 minutes to whip up and is a nice break from more traditional pasta salads.
Tuscan Bean and Pasta Salad is inspired by the vibrant flavors and produce of Tuscany. It features colorful sun-dried tomatoes, baby spinach, zucchini, and red onion mixed with whole wheat pasta and chickpeas. The dressing only enhances the fresh flavors of the salad thanks to the light oil and vinegar base.
The name says it all! This Simple Summer Macaroni Salad is the perfect easy to make recipe if you are looking for a side (or meal!) that won’t be too heavy in the hot weather. Pasta is tossed with crisp vegetables like bell peppers, celery, and onion and then coated in a classic vegan mayonnaise based dressing. The addition of pickles provides a tangy, salty punch that will leave everybody coming back for a second helping.
If we are being honest, nothing can top a dressing made from avocado. It’s creamy, fatty yet fresh, and much healthier than mayonnaise. In this recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad, the avocado dressing coats your pasta of choice that is then topped with crispy tempeh, broccoli, and sweet yellow tomatoes.
These Ginger Cashew Cream Noodles are proof that cold noodle dishes pack the biggest punches of flavor. The gingery cashew sauce is super creamy and the red pepper, cucumber, pea pods, and carrots mixed in add a fresh crunch. This pasta salad uses soba noodles that are made from buckwheat flour, making the recipe even healthier!
Spring Greens With Walnut Pesto and Sunflower Sprouts Over Pasta is a delicious way to get your family to eat some greens! Just toss it all together in the creamy pesto sauce for a delicious pasta salad!
This Pasta Salad With Chili Lemon Sauce is so fresh and delicious! There is something about chili and lemon together that is just so flavorful!
This Lemon Herb Pasta Salad is a classic! Mint, parsley, and lemon really brighten up the dish and complement the zucchini and yellow squash really well.
This Red Lentil Pasta With Basil-Pistachio Pesto is a good way to get picky eaters to eat some extra veggies! The fresh pesto is accented with lemon, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika in lieu of parmesan cheese. And the tomatoes add pops of vibrant color and bursts of juiciness.
Now that you’ve picked out the ideal pasta salad (or salads!) for you, find some wonderful other summery eats to pair it with!
We highly recommend checking out Food Monster app, a food app available for both Android and iPhone. The app has over 10,000+ vegan recipes with 10+ recipes added daily as well as cooking tips, you’re going to find something you love. Give it a try — and don’t forget to follow Food Monster on Instagram and Facebook!
Lead image source: Tuscan Bean and Pasta Salad