13 Quick And Easy Cold Pasta Salad Recipes

13 Quick And Easy Cold Pasta Salad Recipes

You can never have too many cold pasta salad recipes.

When it comes to pasta salad, the sky’s the limit. There are so many different variations of pasta shapes, pasta types, pasta salad ingredients and dressings to choose from. Cold pasta salad can be served as a light meal, a colorful lunch or a summer side dish. This year, shake up your summer routine with a brand new picnic pasta or two. All that you need for a delicious, pasta picnic salad is a bit of creativity and your natural instinct for color, flavor and texture. The variations are endless and the cooking required is minimal, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

Orzo pasta salad with fresh vegatables, chickpeas, olives and more

Al Dente Pasta is Key

Be sure to cook your pasta to that tender but yielding texture known as al dente. There’s nothing worse than mushy pasta… especially in your cold pasta salad recipes. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water. Test the noodles for doneness before the suggested cooking time. Once it reaches that signature al dente texture, drain the pasta and immediately rinse with cold water for a few seconds to halt the cooking process. (This is something you only do when making cold pasta, by the way.)

Pasta Salad Ingredients

The most popular pasta salad ingredients are extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs like basil and parsley. To introduce more color and flavor, add fresh chopped vegetables, such as halved cherry tomatoes, red onions and bell peppers. It’s a good chance to use up your garden veggies and highlight seasonal favorites. Add vegetables raw, quickly grilled or sautéed in a pan. Get in some greens like spinach and arugula for a healthy twist. One of the most exciting additions to cold pasta salads is the inclusion of bold and briny Mediterranean ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers and pickled peppers. Pasta salads are a great way to get creative. Toss up any ingredients that you like in a combination of your choosing.

Pasta Salad Dressings

There are so many great ways to top off your cold pasta salad recipes. You can choose a great bottle of pre-made dressing or vinaigrette for your pasta, or you can create a homemade Italian dressing. It’s easier than you think to whip up your own dressing or vinaigrette. Just be sure to use a quality extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Other popular ingredients for homemade dressings include citrus, minced garlic, fresh chopped herbs, dried spices and Dijon mustard. Tailor your dressing pick to your pasta salad ingredients. For instance, dazzle your Greek pasta salads with an herby lemon vinaigrette.

Semolina, Whole-Wheat or Gluten-Free Pasta

Another reason to love cold pasta salads is that they can be adapted for different dietary restrictions. Choose from traditional semolina pasta, whole-wheat pasta or gluten-free pasta for your cold pasta salad recipes. Semolina is the most common type of pasta for a classic pasta salad, but if you want to add some whole grains to your summer pasta, why not go with a hearty whole-wheat pasta? What we love about DeLallo Whole-Wheat Pasta is the subtle, toasty flavor it adds to cold salads. And with DeLallo, there is no fear of a gritty bite or an overwhelming earthy flavor. We also offer a number of Gluten-Free Pasta options for those limiting their gluten intake. Keep in mind: Short cuts of pasta are more practical for mixing, serving and eating.

Check out some of our favorite cold pasta salad recipes. Try one of these or glean some inspiration to create your own. Don’t forget to share it with us on Instagram @delallofoods using the hashtag #delalloeats.

Add a little excitement to your picnic pasta salad with cavatappi pasta. When cooked to al dente, their hollow spiral shape is perfectly sturdy and ready to scoop up all the goodies we’ve got loaded in this cold pasta salad recipe.

This cold pasta salad recipe is more than a summer side dish, but a full on meal featuring bites of juicy chicken breast, asparagus, colorful bell pepper, red onion, grape tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, marinated artichoke hearts and bouncy farfalle pasta. Toss it up in a large bowl with an easy homemade dressing of olive oil, zesty Dijon mustard, garlic and a few spices.

Kickoff picnic season with a bold and flavorful fusilli pasta salad. Springy whole-wheat noodles take on green olives, tangy pepper drops and tender chickpeas in this cold pasta masterpiece.

For a classic pasta salad boasting healthy, protein-packed ingredients, go green! This incredible cold pasta salad recipe is hearty enough to serve as the main event, but can be enjoyed as a summertime lunch or a colorful side dish.

What is brilliant, herbaceous and ready to wow your taste buds? The answer is this surprisingly simple cold pasta salad recipe featuring brilliant citrus, fresh garlic and herbs, tender chickpeas, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, our authentic Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the iconic bowtie pasta Farfalle. Technically, it can be enjoyed warm or cold, so give it a try and see what you like best!

If you’re as obsessed with the buttery, briny green olive as we are, this Castelvetrano-centric Greek pasta salad is going to hit the spot. Nothing says summer like a large bowl of slick pasta tossed with tons of fresh cut garden veggies and crumbled feta cheese. The garlicky red wine vinaigrette brings it all together.

Nothing says summer like an easy pasta salad recipe to fill your belly yet keep the kitchen cool. This one features fun fusilli pasta, crisp bell peppers, briny olives and marinated artichoke hearts tossed in a tangy-sweet golden balsamic vinaigrette.

Who said stuffed pasta is strictly a winter comfort food? We love these cheesy rings of pasta in this colorful, veggie-loaded cold pasta salad. Serve it up as a light summer meal, as a satisfying lunch option or as a side dish at your next backyard barbecue.

We can’t think of a better way to brighten up your summer menu than with this colorful cold pasta salad recipe. Whether you’re looking to wow your picnic guests or to impress the hosts of your next summer potluck, this incredible strawberry and grilled chicken pasta salad is it. You’re going to want to bookmark this one just for the pesto pasta salad dressing alone!

Proof that cold pasta salad for dinner is totally a thing, this easy pasta salad recipe features salami, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, black olives and a few fresh herbs. We recommend our springy Whole-Wheat Fusilli as the sturdy, hearty foundation. Take the leftovers for lunch!

A classic pasta salad in Italy, this is also one of the simplest. It features your favorite pastina, garden veggies, fresh chopped herbs, chickpeas and olives. We top it off with an irresistible homemade pasta salad dressing of extra virgin olive oil, Golden Balsamic Vinegar and a kiss of lemon.

If you love all the bold, briny bites at the olive bar, you’re going to love this antipasto-loaded pasta salad recipe. Olives, pickled peppers, creamy provolone cheese and groovy bowtie pasta comes together for an unforgettable cold pasta salad. Serve it as a light meal or a big-flavored side dish.

Just a few spoonfuls of pesto can really perk up a cold pasta salad recipe. Featuring springy fusilli gluten-free pasta, grape tomatoes and our herbaceous basil pesto, this easy pasta salad recipe will most definitely be talk of the barbecue.