16 Summer Pasta Salad Recipes You'll Want to Make Tonight

As far as summer staples go, this one’s a non-negotiable.

Quick Nutty Noodles
Photo: GREG DUPREE

As soon as the summer heat hits, the oven shuts off (except for peach pie, of course). And what pairs more perfectly with grill fare than a delicious bowl of creamy-crunchy pasta salad? It's served cold, packs plenty of fresh summer produce, and takes almost no effort to make.

Whip up a bowl of summer-style comfort with these vibrant, vegetable-rich dishes tonight. We've included the classics, like Italian Pasta Salad and Tuna and White Bean Salad, plus fresh takes on everyone's favorite picnic-friendly food (think Tortellini Basil Salad and Coconut-Miso Soba Salad). They'll all be the stars of your backyard spread.

RELATED: How to Cook Pasta Perfectly Every Time

Keep reading for a collection of delicious summer pasta salad recipes!

01 of 16

Edamame Pasta Salad

Edamame Pasta Salad
When doubled, this recipe makes enough for your Easter spread and lunch the next day (trust us, it's that good that you'll be craving the leftovers before you finish your first helping). Use fresh farmer's market peas instead of edamame if you can find them. Get the Recipe:Edamame Pasta Salad. Greg DuPree

If you're on the hunt for an easy weeknight dinner or simple party side, give this 30-minute pasta salad recipe a try. Here, nutty edamame, toasted walnuts, and crumbled feta join forces to create a savory vegetarian dish that's packed with protein. Sherry vinegar adds a nice mellow flavor, which means you can serve this dish alongside anything from grilled chicken to roasted fish.

02 of 16

Spaghetti Pasta Salad With Avocado-Basil Dressing

Spaghetti Salad With Avocado and Basil
Victor Protasio

Spaghetti isn't a pasta you typically see in pasta salad, but that doesn't mean it can't get the job done. In this recipe, the long noodles are coated in a healthy, no-cook sauce that's made with avocados, basil, Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of honey. Chopped toasted almonds add some crunch, while sliced cherry tomatoes bring bursts of bright acidity. Any pasta you don't eat for dinner makes for stellar leftovers the following day.

03 of 16

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs Recipe
Greg DuPree

A pasta salad makes a great picnic side, and this one is no exception. This dish has a toasted Israeli couscous base, along with juicy summer corn kernels paired with a showering of fresh herbs—basil, chives, and dill—plus some caramelized onions for good measure. Eat this salad solo for a light lunch, or serve it alongside grilled fish, rotisserie chicken, or a seared steak for a balanced dinner.

RELATED: How to Make the Fluffiest Couscous

04 of 16

Quick Nutty Noodles

Quick Nutty Noodles
GREG DUPREE

Pantry staples like apple cider vinegar, almond butter, and toasted sesame oil come together to create this easy noodle salad that's ready in just 20 minutes. First, you'll quick-pickle the radishes and cook the soba noodles. Once cooked, the noodles will join salt-marinated cucumber, and the whole thing will get coated with a decadent almond butter dressing. Garnish the noodles with peppery watercress and radish slices, and you're good to go!

05 of 16

Spicy Thai Shrimp Soba Salad

Spicy Thai Shrimp Soba Salad
Enough with the gloopy peanut noodles—it’s time to freshen up your soba. Don’t worry, we didn’t cut out the peanut butter entirely, we just lightened it up with the addition of lemongrass, shrimp, fresh mint, and basil. Pack it for lunch with a few lime wedges—it'll wake it up just enough that you’ll forget you’re eating leftovers. Get the recipe:Spicy Thai Shrimp Soba Salad. Greg DuPree

Enough with the gloopy peanut noodles—it's time to freshen up your soba. Don't worry, we didn't cut out the peanut butter entirely, we just lightened it up with the addition of lemongrass, shrimp, fresh mint, and basil. Pack it for lunch with a few lime wedges—it'll wake it up just enough that you'll forget you're eating leftovers.

06 of 16

Tapas-Style Pasta Salad

Tapas-Style Pasta Salad
A salty snack-lovers dream come true, this easy pasta salad combines savory dried chorizo, salty herb-dressed olives, and Manchego, one of our all time favorite snacking cheeses. The dressing calls for a bit of anchovy paste—not enough to really taste it, but just enough to give it some oomph. If you’re super anchovy-averse you can skip it, just give the salad a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Get the recipe:Tapas-Style Pasta Salad. Greg DuPree

A salty snack-lovers dream come true, this easy pasta salad combines savory dried chorizo, salty herb-dressed olives, and Manchego, one of our all time favorite snacking cheeses. The dressing calls for a bit of anchovy paste—not enough to really taste it, but just enough to give it some oomph. If you're super-anchovy-averse you can skip it, just give the salad a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

07 of 16

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad
All your favorite taco night fixings, tossed with chewy pasta and a creamy avocado vinaigrette. This salad is a great way to pack the same flavors your family loves into a different package. The avocado dressing might oxidize overnight, so don’t worry if your lunch looks a little lackluster come Monday. It’ll still taste just as good. For an extra treat, top it with a small handful of crushed tortilla chips. Get the recipe:Southwestern Pasta Salad. Greg DuPree

All your favorite taco night fixings, tossed with chewy pasta and a creamy avocado vinaigrette. This salad is a great way to pack the same flavors your family loves into a different package. The avocado dressing might oxidize overnight, so don't worry if your lunch looks a little lackluster come Monday. It'll still taste just as good. For an extra treat, top it with a small handful of crushed tortilla chips.

08 of 16

Spring Pasta Salad

Spring Pasta Salad Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Celebrate spring with this flavorful and quick pasta salad that's filled with peppery radishes and crisp sugar snap peas—two of the season's finest vegetables. The casarecce pasta used here is perfect for soaking up sauce, which in this case is a honey-mustard vinaigrette spiked with shallot and lemon zest. You'll also find mint and salty ricotta salata, which add a bit of freshness and saltiness, respectively.

09 of 16

Moroccan Couscous Salad

Moroccan Couscous Salad
Israeli couscous offers plenty of texture in this fiber-packed salad, but if you can’t find it, use another small pasta shape like ditalini or orzo. Dried apricots and pistachios add great color, but golden raisins or currants and toasted almonds would be just as tasty. Smoked paprika can be very assertive, so start with a pinch and add more to your liking. Get the recipe:Moroccan Couscous Salad. Greg DuPree

Israeli couscous offers plenty of texture in this fiber-packed salad, but if you can't find it, use another small pasta shape like ditalini or orzo. Dried apricots and pistachios add great color, but golden raisins or currants and toasted almonds would be just as tasty. Smoked paprika can be very assertive, so start with a pinch and add more to your liking.

10 of 16

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
This dish is a new take on our favorite summer Italian flavors. We added grilled broccoli rabe for just a touch of bitterness, and it’s perfect against the creamy mozzarella and the sweet and tangy tomato vinaigrette. Be sure to cut the broccoli rabe and onions into bite size pieces after grilling, making them easier to eat. Get the recipe:Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad. Greg DuPree

This dish is a new take on our favorite summer Italian flavors. We added grilled broccoli rabe for just a touch of bitterness, and it's perfect against the creamy mozzarella and the sweet and tangy tomato vinaigrette. Be sure to cut the broccoli rabe and onions into bite size pieces after grilling, making them easier to eat.

11 of 16

Grilled Mediterranean Salad

grilled-med-salad

When grilling the halloumi in this delicious Mediterranean pasta recipe, use tongs to slowly raise one corner of the cheese to check for sticking. If it doesn't lift off easily, lower it down for about 10 seconds, then try again.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Vegetables

12 of 16

Hazelnut Romesco Pasta Salad

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Chorizo, golden raisins, and mint leaves ensure this salad hits all the right spicy, sweet, and fresh notes. Save time by buying roasted, skinned hazelnuts.

13 of 16

Tortellini Basil Salad

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You'll want to use the easy-prep basil oil you add to this tortellini basil pasta salad on everything you cook this summer. Drizzle it on grilled chicken, veggies, and crusty bread.

14 of 16

Orzo Tomato Salad

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This crowd pleaser makes the most of the season's colorful, juicy tomatoes. Roast them low and slow to concentrate their flavor.

15 of 16

Coconut-Miso Soba Salad

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Add grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp to make this umami-rich salad even more substantial.

16 of 16

Tuna and White Bean Salad

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Blended beans are the secret (healthy!) ingredient in this creamy, Caesar-ish dressing.

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