Four pasta salad recipes that double as side dishes or main attractions.
That’s right, we said pasta salad recipes that aren’t goopy. And you know the ones we mean—those overly-dressed dishes that, when left to sit in the sun too long, become slimy and, well, goopy. These aren’t those kind of pasta salads. In fact, these four recipes all end in a perfectly dressed and seasoned dish that doubles nicely as either side dish or main event. And we’re happy to report that we highly recommend any (or all) of these pasta salad recipes for any of your spring and summertime party needs.
Chorizo Pasta Salad
This protein-packed pasta salad stars spicy Mexican chorizo sausage, which makes for an ultra-satisfying salad that can be served warm or chilled, depending on the occasion. We suggest small shell pasta in this combination, but like any of these pasta salad recipes, you can easily substitute with your favorite shape.
Pasta Salad with Chickpeas, Walnuts and Arugula
A lovely vegetarian option, this medley is dotted with nutritious nuts and veggies. But fear not those craving protein. Between the chickpeas, walnuts and fresh mozzarella, this pasta salad is packed with protein. Not a fan of a vegetarian pasta? This recipe would be delicious served alongside sliced grilled chicken.
Shrimp and Pasta Salad
Laced with garlic-sauteed shrimp, this savory salad is a seafood lover’s dream. The vibrant colors of bell peppers, red onion and tomato make for a beautiful presentation, and a light coating of classic Italian dressing lends a traditional tangy flavor. Be sure to cool your shrimp before tossing them in—you’ll want those fresh veggies to stay crunchy.
Lemony Asparagus and Chicken Pasta Salad Toss
One of our favorite spring and summertime one-dish dinners, this pasta salad has all you need—a little chicken breast for protein and fresh asparagus for color. The fresh flavors of lemon juice and your favorite herb pesto provide the dressing, turning this salad into one that translates beautifully to left-overs.
Pasta Salad Recipe Reminder: You can substitute just about any pasta with a whole-wheat version for a healthy twist, and most meat-y pasta salads can easily be changed up to feature a different protein or none at all!
Fresh Mexican chorizo sausage jump-starts the taste of this tailgate party-perfect pasta and bean salad.
You can use those tiny fresh mozzarella balls (they are so good), and if they seem too big you can cut them in half, or even in quarters.
Fresh veggies and Italian dressing lighten up this summer sea-side staple.
A great option for brown-bag lunches.