Every day we’re inching closer and closer to spring which means soon we’ll be enjoying BBQs a plenty. Now if you’re like us, you don’t enjoy eating a ton of hot food outside on a warm day under the sun, in fact, if you’re like us, you’re more of a cold side girlie. Believe us, we get it. And when it comes to cold side dishes, nothing tops pasta salad. Here are our three favorite pasta salad recipes to keep on hand for grilling season.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
With the chicken, this pasta salad could be a whole meal. Without the chicken, it could still be a whole meal, but we love it as a side dish. Check out the recipe from Just a Taste.
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz. uncooked pasta, such as rotini or penne
- 2 hearts of Romaine
- Shredded rotisserie chicken or chopped chicken breasts
- Croutons (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, minced garlic and anchovy paste until well combined. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and ¼ teaspoon pepper then set the dressing aside while you make the salad.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large serving bowl.
- Cut the Romaine hearts into 1-inch pieces then add them and your protein of choice to the bowl with the pasta.
- Add the prepared dressing and toss to combine. Add the croutons (optional) and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
Pesto Pasta Salad
What doesn’t taste good drenched in basil pesto? Check out this recipe from Real and Vibrant.
- 1 pound pasta, such as cavatelli or penne
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into small bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ¼ cup chopped pepperoncini
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- 3 cups basil leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Be sure to check the package for recommended cook time. Drain and rinse well under cold water.
- Make the pesto. While the pasta cooks, prepare the basil pesto. In a food processor, combine the fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth and creamy. Scoop out of the food processor and set aside.
- Assemble the pasta salad. In a large bowl, combine noodles, pesto, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, pepperoncini, and parsley. Toss until it’s well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Vegetable Pasta Salad
This veggie pasta salad recipe is a great way to use up any extra vegetables you harvest from your garden this spring and summer. Check out this recipe from Simple Veganista.
- 16 oz. bowtie pasta (or your favorite small pasta)
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, cored and diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
- 4 oz. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
Zesty Garlic Lemon Dressing
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, lemon juice, dijon, oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Assemble salad: Once veggies are prepped, using either a large mixing or serving bowl or the pot the pasta was cooked in, combine the pasta, veggies, and dressing, and toss well to coat.
- Chill: Place in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours or enjoy as is.
- Serve: Spoon into individual bowls and top with a squeeze of lemon and/or a light dusting of Almond Parmesan. Enjoy!