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If you’re organizing an event outdoors during the summer season, it’s wise to factor in the weather when deciding what to serve. Instead of hot dishes that might be less appealing in the heat, opt for cooler fare. A fantastic option is a pasta salad with bell pepper, salami, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, salami, fresh herbs, and homemade dressing.

This refreshing dish blends different pasta varieties with dressings, usually based on vinegar, oil, or mayonnaise. It’s versatile enough to be offered as an appetizer, a side, or even the main dish, making it a perfect fit for your warm-weather gathering.

Here’s a list of 20 delightful pasta salad recipes perfect for a summer outdoor gathering!

20. Greek Pasta Salad

Dive into a unique pasta salad experience with a Mediterranean twist. This dish is full of vibrant vegetables, offering a delightful departure from typical creamy pasta salads. It’s a standout choice for those seeking something different and refreshing.

19. Grilled Chicken and Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

This salad features orzo, a small, rice-shaped pasta, as its foundation. It’s combined with a mix of vegetables and grilled chicken, creating a dish that’s versatile enough to serve as a light main or a hearty side.

18. Thai Chicken Pasta Salad Dressing with Peanut

Step outside the box for your summer events with this pasta salad, highlighted by a rich and creamy peanut dressing. The addition of crisp vegetables enhances the dish, which can be enjoyed either warm or cold, making it perfect for prepping ahead of time.

If you’re a fan of peanut flavors, don’t miss out on our chicken satay recipe.

Have you tried this recipe yet?

17. Creamy Noodle Salad

Pasta salad lovers, here’s a noodle salad recipe that’s both a feast for the eyes and the palate. It’s versatile and destined to be a go-to recipe all year, especially in summer.

This dish centers around soba noodles, chosen for their soft texture and excellent dressing absorption. But don’t hesitate to get creative with alternatives like whole wheat spaghetti, fresh flour noodles, or even a low-carb version using chicken breast or tofu instead of noodles.

The dressing is a standout, skillfully combining spicy, sweet, and tangy elements. The punch of ginger, garlic, and Sriracha is softened by creamy mayonnaise and a touch of sugar. This richness is perfectly counterbalanced with the tanginess of rice vinegar and the zest of lime.

For the best flavor, toss the noodles with the dressing right after draining them while they’re still warm.

And for those who love raw veggies, whip up some extra dressing. It’s excellent as a dip and brings a lively kick to your crudités throughout the week.

16. Bacon Macaroni Salad

Envision a pasta salad that embodies the beloved flavors of a classic BLT sandwich.

This creation brings together the crunch of crispy bacon, the juiciness of ripe tomatoes, the crispness of celery, and the sharpness of green onions, all unified by a tangy dressing made from mayonnaise and vinegar. It’s a dish that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any event!

Start by preparing the macaroni according to the package directions, then cool it down with a rinse under cold salted water. In a large bowl, toss together the cooled macaroni, tomatoes, celery, and green onions. In a different bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper to create the dressing. 

Drizzle this dressing over the macaroni mixture, ensuring it’s evenly coated in pasta shape.

For the best taste, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Just before serving, stir in the bacon to maintain its crunch.

15. Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad

Fondly known as the Yum Yum Salad, this delightful dish is a local potluck favorite, primarily because of its use of ramen noodles. It features a satisfying crunch from both napa cabbage and ramen noodles, making it a hit at gatherings.

14. The Harvest Salad: Greens, Couscous, Fall Fruit and Apple Vinaigrette

The Harvest Salad is a symphony of flavors and textures, combining fresh greens, grains, and fall fruits, topped with a tangy apple vinaigrette. It’s an all-encompassing meal that’s both nutritious and easy to prepare, taking less than 20 minutes.

You can boost its protein content by adding chicken or savor it in its original form. It’s a quick, wholesome, and tasty choice for any meal.

13. Spring Roll Spaghetti Bowl (with Grain Free Option!)S

With the arrival of spring, embrace the season’s freshness with a Spring Roll-Inspired Spaghetti Bowl.

This unique dish captures the essence of spring rolls in a bowl format and even offers a grain-free alternative for those who prefer it. It’s a creative and appetizing way to welcome the new season, especially after a long winter.

12. Caprese Pasta Salad with Mozzarella

Experience the essence of summer with this Caprese-Inspired Pasta Salad. It’s a straightforward and delightful blend of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, all lightly tossed in olive oil.

This dish is a perfect embodiment of summer flavors and makes an excellent side dish for warm-weather gatherings.

11. Cheddar Broccoli Pasta Salad

Treat yourself to a scrumptious Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Salad. This dish combines broccoli, red onion, shredded cheese, and rotini pasta, all enveloped in a sweet and creamy dressing. It’s a crowd-pleaser at any gathering, often prompting guests to come back for a second helping.

10. Creamy Italian Pasta Salad {Gluten-Free}

This gluten-free version of the classic creamy Italian pasta salad is not just easy to whip up but also a perennial favorite. Featuring a homemade creamy Italian dressing, it’s a top pick for those seeking delicious gluten-free options.

9. Tomato Feta Tortellini Salad – Perfect Side Dish!

Perfect for picnics, this tomato feta tortellini salad is both simple to prepare and deliciously satisfying. With only eight ingredients and a quick 10-minute prep time, it’s an ideal choice for a fast yet flavorful side dish.

8. Quick and Easy Tuna Pasta – Best Pasta Salad!

For a budget-friendly, straightforward, and delightful recipe, try this Quick and Easy Tuna Pasta. It’s an exemplary dish that’s easy to make yet impressively flavorful, perfect for those seeking a hassle-free yet tasty meal option.

7. Cold Spaghetti Salad – Easy Pasta Salad Recipe for Potluck!

Perfect for large gatherings, this Cold Spaghetti Salad recipe is both simple to prepare and a surefire hit. It’s packed with an array of crisp garden vegetables, providing a colorful and flavorful mix.

This pasta salad is an ideal choice for picnics, potlucks, and summer gatherings, where it’s sure to be a favorite.

6. Easy Broccoli Lemon Pasta Salad Recipe

Try this delightful Broccoli Lemon Pasta Salad for a mayo-free alternative that pairs wonderfully with your favorite grilled foods at picnics or BBQs. Its simplicity doesn’t skimp on flavor, offering a light, healthy, and zesty option for your outdoor meals.

5. Make Pasta Salad for Summer

Embrace the flavors of the season with this Summer Pasta Salad. Start with fresh garden vegetables and tender pasta, then toss with a simple dressing that brings out the vibrant tastes of summer. This easy-to-make salad is a celebration of fresh, seasonal produce.

4. BLT Pasta Salad Recipe – Perfect for Potlucks & Summer Picnics!

This BLt-inspired pasta Salad combines the beloved elements of a classic BLT sandwich with the comfort of the best pasta salad recipe. It’s a perfect dish for potlucks and summer picnics, offering a blend of familiar, comforting flavors that are sure to be a hit with guests.

3. Chicken Fajita Easy Pasta Salad

For those who love the combination of fajitas and pasta, the Chicken Fajita Pasta Salad is a culinary delight. Easy to prepare, this salad offers the robust flavors of classic fajitas in a satisfying pasta form. It’s an excellent choice for any occasion where a blend of taste and visual appeal is desired.

2. Bowtie Pesto Pasta Salad

This crunchy Bowtie Pesto Pasta Salad creatively merges the essences of a traditional Caprese salad and fragrant basil pesto into a pasta-based dish. It’s an uncomplicated yet pleasing recipe, perfect for a range of events including summer get-togethers, tailgate parties, picnics, and potlucks.

1. Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad

This Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad is a popular choice for summer events. It beautifully combines Gorgonzola cheese and bacon, offering an option to substitute chicken with grilled shrimp for variety.

To make it, cook the pasta as per package instructions, then cool it with cold water. In a large bowl, mix the cooled pasta with chicken, tomatoes, onion, bacon, and Gorgonzola cheese.

Create the dressing by whisking together oil, basil, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour this over the salad, ensuring everything is evenly coated. Garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for the final touch. Drain and rinse!