It’s summertime! This 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. 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 use (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 summery pasta recipes from the Food Monster App below; you will be convinced to give this often-overlooked side a second chance.
1. Garden Picnic Pasta Salad With Veggies, Herbs, and Orange-Miso Tahini Dressing
Source: Garden Picnic Pasta Salad
In this Garden Picnic Pasta Salad from The Whole Foods Diet, 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 citrusy dressing. It’s easy to prepare and can be done the day before!
2. 3-Step Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
Source: 3-Step Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
If you need something quick and simple to whip up for a summer gathering, this 3-Step Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad by Gabrielle St. Claire 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.
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3. Thai Curry Pasta Salad
Source: Thai Curry Pasta Salad
This is anything but your typical mayonnaise-based pasta salad! In this Thai Curry Pasta Salad by Gunjan Dudani, 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.
4. Apple and Grape Pasta Salad
Source: Apple and Grape Pasta Salad
Some people like to mix savory flavors with sweetness, and some do not. If you’re part of the former group, you have to try this Apple and Grape Pasta Salad by Michele Elizabeth! It’s ridiculously simple yet very unique. Pasta is tossed lightly with vegan mayonnaise for a creamy base, and then the grapes and apple provide small bursts of sweet freshness.
5. Zucchini-Ramen Noodle Salad
Source: Zucchini-Ramen Noodle Salad
Yes, we know that technically ramen doesn’t qualify as pasta, but same difference! In this Zucchini-Ramen Noodle Salad by Olivia Lin, there are chunks of juicy tomato, refreshing cucumber, and crunchy peanuts all over a bed of zucchini-based ramen and lettuce. This is a couple of steps up from the ramen you may have lived on during college!
6. Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
Source: Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
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 by Shannon Leparski, 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.
7. Tangy Asian Pasta Salad
Source: Tangy Asian Pasta Salad
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 by Jennifer Harmon only takes a short 10 minutes to whip up and is a nice break from more traditional pasta salads.
8. Tuscan Bean and Pasta Salad
Source: Tuscan Bean and Pasta Salad
This Tuscan Bean and Pasta Salad by Selva Wohlgemuth 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.
9. Simple Summer Macaroni Salad
Source: Simple Summer Macaroni Salad
The name says it all! This Simple Summer Macaroni Salad by Dora Daily 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.
10. Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad
Source: Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad
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 by Rebecca Jacobs, the avocado dressing coats your pasta of choice that is then topped with crispy tempeh, broccoli, and sweet yellow tomatoes.
11. Ginger Cashew Cream Noodles
Source: Ginger Cashew Cream Noodles
These Ginger Cashew Cream Noodles by Emily Brees 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!
12. Spring Greens With Walnut Pesto and Sunflower Sprouts Over Pasta
This Spring Greens With Walnut Pesto and Sunflower Sprouts Over Pasta by Alena Grahn 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!
13. Pasta Salad With Chili Lemon Sauce
14. Lemon Herb Pasta Salad
Source: Lemon Herb Pasta Salad
15. Red Lentil Pasta With Basil-Pistachio Pesto
This Red Lentil Pasta With Basil-Pistachio Pesto by Jackie Newgent 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 instead 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 in our Ultimate Guide to a Vegan Picnic!
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