Pasta salad recipes and ideas for a tasty snack and a quick meal

 layered pasta salad ideas


Pasta salad recipes are very convenient and give a lot of room for culinary imagination and experiments. These salads are so nourishing and tasty that they easily become an independent meal. If we take into account that unlike most other salads, the ones prepared with pasta can be prepared in advance, then it becomes clear that this is an excellent meal to take with you to work or to a picnic.

The neutral taste of pasta is the perfect base for any other ingredients and you can choose as per your personal taste – from meat and salted or smoked fish to seafood and fresh vegetables. A spicy dressing that completes the dish is essential to pasta salads otherwise they may turn out to be bland and boring. Capers, olives, fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, marjoram, etc. will be more than appropriate. Cheese, of course, is a must in almost any recipe!

 Pasta salad recipes – how to choose the type of pasta?

colorful tasty healthy salads with pasta

Pasta salad is not just a favorite dish, but is almost a symbol of the lifestyle of Italians. No wonder the culinary history of such salads stretches from very ancient times and nowadays it is becoming increasingly popular among chefs around the world.

Pasta is the most popular, tasty and affordable dish. All sorts of pasta is extensively used in modern Italian, European, Asian and vegetarian cuisine. Thousands of recipes have been invented, in which pasta is the main ingredient. It is tasty, it is cooked fast and it is not expensive!

vegetarian pasta salad broccoli olives

How to choose the type of pasta for the best pasta salad recipes? There is only one rule – use short and small varieties. Any type will do – farfalle, Campanelle, Acini di Pepe, ruote, Fusilli, Orecchiette, Tubetti, Rotini, Lancette, Risoni and all the variety of Pastinna. As you know there are hundreds of pasta types, so experiment and use a different one in every recipe!

When you purchase dry pasta, always check the label. It is advisable to use pasta made from durum wheat. The packaging itself must be airtight and not damaged, transparent – so as not to prevent the examination of products sealed in it. High-quality pasta must be with a smooth surface and have a uniform golden-cream color.

Easy and delicious pasta salad recipes

easy pasta salad recipes


Vegetarian Mediterranean style pasta salad with avocado, tomatoes and chickpea

vegetarian pasta salad with avocado tomatoes and chickpea


Ingredients (serves 6):

For the pasta:

  • 8 oz (220 g) Orecchiette
  • 1 (15 oz/425 g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • Optional: 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

For the vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Torn basil leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  • Add all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package until al dente. When done, rinse with cool water and drain. Add to a large bowl.
  • Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, feta, avocado, red onion and olives, if using.
  • Add the dressing and gently stir until well combined.
  • Season with freshly ground black pepper and torn basil leaves.

Pasta salad with avocado and broccoli pesto and strawberries

fusili salad with avocado broccoli pesto and strawberries


Ingredients (serves 8):

  • For the broccoli avocado pesto:
  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • 1 small avocado, pitted
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

For the salad:

  • 1 pound (500 g) short pasta
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil

Instructions:

  • Steam the broccoli until tender, for about 5 minutes.
  • Combine the broccoli, avocado, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, adding olive oil if needed to thin.
  • Add the feta cheese and pulse until combines. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  • Add the pasta to a large bowl and toss well with the pesto. Add the balsamic vinegar, mozzarella, strawberries, tomatoes, and basil and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature.

Pasta salad with artichoke, asparagus and tomatoes

salad with pasta artichoke asparagus and tomatoes

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 12 ounces (350 g) pasta penne
  • 12 ounces (350 g) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 16 ounces (450 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 12 ounce (350 g) jar marinated artichokes, chopped

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out and immediately place them in a bowl of ice water. Drain asparagus and set aside.
  • Bring the same pot of water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and oregano.
  • When pasta is cooked, drain and pour it into large serving bowl. Toss pasta with a tiny bit of the dressing just so it doesn’t stick together.
  • Add the asparagus, tomatoes, artichokes, and enough dressing to coat well.
  • Toss and serve at room temperature or cold.

Pasta salad with chicken

pasta chicken and vegetables salad

Ingredients, serves 4 to 8:

  • 12 ounces (340 g) rotini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauce + 1 tablespoon for cooking chicken
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • 1 1/4 pounds (600 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
  • In a bowl add 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice apple cider vinegar, honey, Italian seasoning, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and whisk to combine.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet, add chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, flipping the meat so all sides cook evenly.
  • Add the sauce and cook at a medium-high temperature for about 3 to 4 minutes until sauce has reduced and chicken is cooked through.
  • Add chicken and any cooking liquid to the pasta bowl.
  • Add the tomatoes, basil, cucumber, cheese, and toss gently to combine.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
  • Serve cold or reheat gently prior to serving if desired.
  • You can keep the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Pasta and broccoli salad

pasta and broccoli salad recipe

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces (340 g) Rotini
  • 2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ red onion, peeled and cut into strips
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces (220 g) Italian dressing

Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add broccoli and cook until just tender and bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge them into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil again and cook pasta according to package directions, drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
  • Combine broccoli florets, bell peppers, and onion in a large bowl. Stir in cold pasta. Add Parmesan cheese and salad dressing and toss until uniformly combined.
  • Place in a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
  • Taste before serving and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Pasta salad with smoked salmon

Pasta salad with smoked salmon and vegetables

Ingredients, serves 4:

  • 400g conchiglie shells
  • 2 cups (280g) frozen baby peas
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 400g hot smoked salmon, flaked
  • ½ cup chervil leaves
  • 1 cup (240g) crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, add the peas in the final minute, drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
  • Divide the pasta and peas between bowls and top with the onion, cucumber, salmon and chervil.
  • Place the crème fraiche and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Top the pasta with the crème fraiche mixture to serve.

Pasta salad with shrimps

Pasta salad with shrimps and vegetables

Ingredients, serves 8:

  • 12 ounces (340 g) Trottole
  • ½ Orange bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Large celery stalks (sliced)
  • 8 ounces (220 g) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 Large pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 2 Large pepperoncini, chopped
  • 8 ounces (220 g) small cooked shrimp
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 5-7 Shakes Tabasco sauce
  • Small pinches of salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside
  • Combine cooked pasta, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, shrimp and parsley. Set aside.
  • In separatea bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over pasta and stir to coat.
  • Refrigerate until served.
  • Serve with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the pasta.

Beef and pasta salad recipe

pasta and beef salad recipe

Ingredients, serves 4

  • 2 thick-cut beef rump steaks (about 250g each)
  • 9 ounces (250g) farfalle
  • 9 ounces (250g) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup small black olives
  • 8 ounces (220g) bocconcini, cut in half
  • 4 ounces (100g) baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside
  • Brush the steaks lightly with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the barbecue flat-plate or char-grill plate or pan to hot before adding the steaks. Cook on one side until the first sign of moisture appears. Turn steaks once only. Test the steaks for degree of doneness with tongs.
  • Remove steaks from heat, loosely cover with foil and rest steaks for 5 minutes before serving.
  • While the steaks rest, combine cooked pasta with all the ingredients.
  • Slice the steaks thinly and mix with the pasta salad.

Pasta with blue cheese, steak and bacon

Pasta salad with blue cheese steak and bacon

Ingredients, serves 4:

  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 12 (340 g) ounce strip steak
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
  • ½ pound (220 g) asparagus
  • 1/2 pound (220 g) penne
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 ounces (150 g) blue cheese crumbles, divided

Instructions:

  • Cook bacon until crispy according to package instructions. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and when bacon is cooled, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Place steak on a plate or platter. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil on steak and rub to coat both sides. Allow steak to come to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Season steak with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Grill steak until desired doneness. Allow steak to rest for 10 minutes after grilling and slice thinly.
  • Remove and discard woody ends of asparagus.
  • Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil on asparagus and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Grill asparagus for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions and drain. Reserve some of the water to use if needed.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in milk, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Add 4 ounces (100 g) blue cheese and continue to cook and stir until cheese is mostly melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in cooked pasta. Add most of the bacon, steak, and asparagus.
  • If sauce becomes too thick, stir in a little of the reserved pasta water.
  • Serve topped with remaining bacon, steak, asparagus, and blue cheese scattered on top.

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