As far as summer staples go, this one’s a nonnegotiable.
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pasta salad recipes
Credit: 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.

Cook 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.

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Spicy Thai Shrimp Soba Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

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

Tapas-Style Pasta Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

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

Southwestern Pasta Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

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

Niçoise Pasta Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

Niçoise Pasta Salad

The only thing wrong with a Nicoise salad is that it never had noodles—but not anymore. We packed all the flavors we love from a classic Nicoise into a hearty pasta salad perfect for picnics or brown-bag lunches. Bonus: it uses just one pot to cook the pasta, potatoes, and the hard boiled eggs. You're welcome.

Get the recipe: Niçoise Pasta Salad

Moroccan Couscous Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

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

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

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

grilled-med-salad

Grilled Mediterranean 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.

Get the recipeGrilled Mediterranean Salad

Hazelnut Romesco Pasta Salad

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, such as Rivulet Farm ($18 for 16 oz.; rivulet.farm).

Get the recipe: Hazelnut Romesco Pasta Salad

Tortellini Basil Salad

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.

Get the recipeTortellini Basil Salad

Orzo Tomato Salad

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

Get the recipe: Orzo Tomato Salad

Coconut-Miso Soba Salad

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

Get the recipe: Coconut-Miso Soba Salad

Tuna and White Bean Salad

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

Get the recipe: Tuna and White Bean Salad