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9 Best Pasta Salad Recipe you Should Try Out

Pasta salad is a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed year-round as a side dish or a main meal. It typically consists of cooked pasta tossed with various ingredients such as vegetables, meats, cheeses, and dressings.

Pasta salad is a great way to use leftover pasta and ingredients, making it an economical and convenient meal option.

Additionally, it can be easily customized to suit individual tastes and dietary preferences, making it a crowd-pleaser at parties and gatherings. In this article, we will explore some delicious pasta salad recipes that will impress your family and friends.

Pasta salad recipe
Pasta salad with vegetable dressing


Pasta Salad Ingredients

Wondering what goes in pasta salad? These are the ingredients you’ll need:

1. Pasta

This colourful, top-rated pasta salad starts with one pound of tri-coloured spiral pasta. 

2. Dressing

Use a bottle of store-bought Italian-style dressing or make your own at home if you want to go the extra mile. 

3. Seasoning mix

Salad seasoning mix lends tons of savoury flavour. 

4. Vegetables

You’ll need cherry tomatoes, three bell peppers (green, yellow, and red), and a can of black olives. 

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Pasta Salad Recipe Variations

1. Italian Pasta Salad Recipe  

Italian Pasta Salad Recipe  
Italian Pasta

What Ingredients do I need for Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

For the Dressing

  • ⅓ c red wine vinegar 
  • ¼ c pesto
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 extra-virgin olive oil

For Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. rotini pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 c. diced salami
  • 8 oz. mozzarella pearls
  • 1 c. sliced black olives
  • 1 c. thinly sliced baby bell peppers
  • ½  c. diced red onion
  • ½  c. grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt 
  • ½  c. chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • ¼  c. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Instructions on How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

For the dressing

Whisk together the vinegar, pesto, garlic, salt, and pepper. Gradually add the olive oil, constantly whisking until combined. Set aside.

For the pasta salad

  • Add the cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, salami, mozzarella, olives, bell peppers, onion, Parmesan, salt, basil, and parsley. Whisk the dressing once more, then pour it over the salad, stirring to combine.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle with more chopped basil, parsley, and parmesan if you like.

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2. Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

What Ingredient is needed for the Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

  • 20 oz. Refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini 
  • ⅔  c. plus 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • ⅓  c. white wine vinegar
  • ¼  c. sundried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
  • ¼  c. finely grated parmesan cheese 
  • 1 tbsp honey,
  • ½  tsp. Salt
  • ¼  tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 c. sliced salami
  • 1 c. sliced black olives
  • 1 c. thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 c. thinly sliced yellow or green bell pepper
  • ½  c. sliced pepperoncini peppers
  • ¼  medium red onion, thinly sliced 
  • ½  c. chopped fresh basil 

Instructions On How To Make Tortellini Pasta Salad

  • Cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Return pasta to the pot and toss with two tablespoons of oil. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2/3 cup olive oil, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, honey, salt, and pepper until combined.
  • Add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, salami, olives, zucchini, bell pepper, pepperoncini, and onion to the dressing in the large bowl; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 3 days.
  • Just before serving, add the basil, and stir gently to recombine all the ingredients. Garnish with more parmesan if you like.

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3. Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

What Ingredients do I need for Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

  • 8 oz. large pasta shells
  • ¾ c. mayonnaise
  • ½  c. sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½  tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼  tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 5-oz. cans of albacore tuna, drained
  • 1 c. frozen green peas, thawed
  • ½  c. chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • ½  c. chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼  c. chopped red onion
  • Lettuce, for serving
  • Potato chips, crushed

Instructions on How to Make Tuna Pasta Salad

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool the pasta. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the pasta, tuna, peas, celery, bell pepper, and onion. Gently fold together until well coated, ensuring not to break up tuna too much.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl lined with lettuce leaves. Top with chips just before serving.

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4. Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe

Chicken pasta salad recipe
Chicken chunks pasta salad

This super savoury pasta salad is a hit at barbecues and potlucks and hearty enough to qualify as a meal. Swapping in a tangy mustard vinaigrette for the usual mayo-based dressing lightens things up a bit. A healthy serving of seared chicken and crispy bacon makes it satisfying enough to be a meal all on its own.

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5. Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

Pesto pasta salad recipe
Zesty sauce pesto pasta

Pesto pasta salad is a flavourful and refreshing dish that is perfect for any occasion, from family dinners to outdoor parties. This dish typically features cooked pasta with a bright and zesty sauce made from fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

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6. Macaroni Pasta Salad Recipe

Ingredients for the Macaroni Pasta Salad Recipe

For Pasta Salad

  • ¾  lb. elbow pasta, cooked
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½  c. black olives, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish 

For the Dressing

  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions On How to Make Macaroni Pasta Salad

  • Combine celery, bell pepper, olives, and carrots in a large bowl.
  • Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and stir until combined.
  • Pour dressing over pasta mixture and toss. Garnish with parsley before serving.

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7. Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

Greek pasta salad recipe
pasta salad

Ingredients for the Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 8 oz. fusilli or rotini
  • ¾  c. Basic Pesto
  • ¼  c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 8.5-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 8 oz. feta cheese, cubed 
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ c. pitted kalamata olives, halved

Instructions on How to Make Greek Pasta Salad

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking the pesto with olive oil, vinegar, a large pinch of salt, and some pepper in a small bowl.
  • Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water. Allow it to dry slightly, then toss it in a bowl with 4 to 5 tablespoons of the pesto dressing. (Add more if you want the pasta to be more coated.) Taste and season with salt, if needed.
  • Add the artichoke hearts, feta, cucumber, tomatoes, and olives to the pasta. Spoon the remaining dressing all over the top and gently toss again.

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8. Japchae Pasta Salad Recipe

Meaning “mixed vegetables,” japchae is a simple dish made with transparent glass noodles and an assortment of toppings.

Ingredients for Japchae Pasta Salad Recipe

For the Beef

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. mirin (optional)
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. honey,
  • ½  tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. sirloin steak, thinly sliced

For the Egg

  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. canola oil

For the vegetable

  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. gochujang
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (3.5-oz.) container shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 8 to 10 mushrooms)
  • 4 c. packed baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • ½  small red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 large carrot, julienned 
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

For the Noodles

  • 10 oz. sweet potato starch noodles or glass noodles
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Beef Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the sirloin until combined. Add sirloin and toss to coat. Set aside.

Egg garnish Instructions

  • Whisk egg and yolk with a pinch of salt in a small bowl. In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low, then add eggs, swirling the pan several times to make a thin layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip, cooking 1 minute more until the eggs are fully set. Remove from pan, let cool, and slice into thin strips.

vegetables Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, gochujang, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add mushrooms and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, pat dry with paper towels, and add to bowl with gochujang mixture.


  • Add spinach and blanch to the pot of boiling water for 15 seconds. Remove with tongs to a strainer and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. With your hands, squeeze out excess water and add to the bowl with the gochujang mixture. Toss to combine.
  • Cook remaining vegetables: Return skillet to medium-high heat and heat oil. Add red onion, carrot, green onion, and a pinch of salt. Cook until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to bowl with gochujang mixture. Toss to combine.
  • Cook the beef: Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add marinated beef. Cook until meat is tender, occasionally stirring, for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Bring the pot of water back to a boil. Add noodles and cook until soft and chewy but not mushy, occasionally stirring for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain. 
  • Toss noodles with sesame oil, honey, and soy sauce in a large bowl. Let cool slightly, then add all vegetables, sliced eggs, and beef, tossing gently to combine.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and more green onion before serving.

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9. Southwestern Pasta Salad Recipe

This kicked-up pasta salad with a zesty Greek yoghurt dressing contains all your favourite taco fixings, including taco seasoning, cilantro, cheddar cheese, avocado, black beans, and corn. It’s super easy to mix up ahead of time, too.


Healthy Pasta Toppings for Pasta Salad

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutritious and versatile vegetable that makes a great addition to any pasta dish. In addition to packing a hearty dose of fibre in each serving, it’s also rich in micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese. 

Try boiling a few florets with your pasta and pair them with other healthy toppings, like olive oil, garlic, or Parmesan cheese.

2. Mushrooms

Mushrooms can bring a creamy taste and texture to pasta dishes and a host of health benefits. Their nutritional value varies depending on the type of mushroom. Most mushrooms contain a good amount of vitamin D, an important nutrient that’s found naturally in many food sources. 

3. Peas

Green peas are often paired with pasta due to their sweet flavour and the pop of colour they add to your plate. They work well with toppings like mint, garlic, cheese, basil, and red pepper flakes.

4. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable known for its mild flavour and impressive nutrient profile. Raw spinach packs a good amount of fibre, vitamin C, iron, and calcium into each serving. Its versatility makes mixing with tomato sauce or any other cream-based sauce possible. 

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a classic topping that can upgrade any pasta dish.

Try making your own homemade tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes, or top off your favourite pasta with cherry tomatoes, cheese, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

6. Asparagus

Loaded with fibre and various essential vitamins and minerals, asparagus can be an excellent healthy pasta topping.

Asparagus can be combined with other flavorful ingredients, like peas, tomatoes, cream cheese, and lemon zest.


Pasta Salad Tips and Tricks 

Here are my favourite tips and tricks for ensuring your pasta salad turns out perfectly every time!

  • Choose the right pasta shape for your salad. Rotini is always a great choice. Any smaller, bite-sized pasta works great in a pasta salad, like macaroni, orecchiette, and shells.
  • Salt your pasta water – this helps flavour your pasta as it boils, adding extra flavor to your pasta salad.
  • Set a timer when cooking your pasta. If your pasta cooks too long, it will turn out mushy and soggy. Likewise, if your pasta doesn’t cook long enough, it may still be a little firm or crunchy in the middle.
  • Dress your pasta at room temperature – this gives it a chance to soak up some of that dressing while it sets. Cold pasta won’t soak up dressing like warm or room-temperature pasta does.
  • If making your own dressing, use the classic 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar (as directed in the recipe card). Too much vinegar can make a pasta salad taste harsh and acidic.
  • Not sure about making your own vinaigrette? Feel free to substitute with your favourite bottle of Italian dressing instead. If you know your family loves a particular dress, use that instead. That way, you know you’ll enjoy it.

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In conclusion, pasta salad is a versatile and delicious dish that can be customized to suit any taste and occasion. From classic Italian pasta salad to creamy ranch pasta salad and pesto pasta salad, there are a variety of recipes to choose from that are sure to please your family and friends.

Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or a dish to bring to a potluck or picnic, pasta salad is a great option that is easy to make and can be prepared in advance.

By following the simple tips and recipes outlined in this article, you can create delicious and satisfying pasta salads that will become a staple in your recipe collection. So, grab some pasta and your favourite ingredients, and start making your own delicious pasta salad today.