Pasta salads for barbecue season!

lemon basil pasta salad in a bowl with serving spoon

Our favorite pasta salads for barbecues, potlucks, and cookouts. These fresh, bright, colorful salads, from macaroni to couscous, will wake up your paper plates this summer!

BLT pasta salad in a bowl with salad servers

pasta salads have earned their place in the pantheon of great summer sides for good reason

They add a little bit of needed carb-y goodness to all the summery salads and veggie sides we love to make, and they are a fantastic vehicle for all sorts of flavor combinations. When you sneak in a little protein, the right pasta salad can also make a great summer lunch or casual dinner, so it’s worth having a few delicious recipes up your sleeve this season!


lemon basil pasta salad

Simple, but bursting with the bright fresh flavors of summer, this pasta salad is a versatile side dish that goes with so many summer dinners.

lemon basil pasta salad in a white bowl

Mediterranean pasta salad

This is a prime example of a pasta salad that moves seamlessly from the backyard cookout to work-week lunches. I added tuna to mine for extra protein, but you could also add shrimp, chicken, or whatever you like!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Tuna in a large serving bowl

asiago pasta salad

Inspired by one of my favorite pre-made salads at my grocery store, this unexpected simple combo of nutty asiago cheese, olives, and sweet peppers is totally fresh but traditional and crowd-pleasing at the same time. Get ready for the recipe requests!

Asiago pasta salad in a bowl

spicy Thai spaghetti salad

This salad is a firm fan favorite, and it’s not hard to see why. Loaded with crunchy, herby, fresh, yummy Thai flavors, this salad is another one that makes a fantastic straight-from-the-fridge lunch in the summertime.

overhead photo of spicy Thai spaghetti salad in a glass bowl

BLT pasta salad

Does it get any better than bacon, lettuce, and tomato? This better-than-the-sum-of-its-parts trio makes for one of the best pasta salads I’ve had in my life!

Holding a bowl of BLT pasta, with fork.

Mediterranean orzo salad with creamy lemon dressing

Even though it looks like rice, orzo is actually a small pasta, and it makes for a pasta salad with great texture. Chickpeas, feta, and lots of fresh veggies round out the sunny Mediterranean vibes in this salad. The creamy lemon dressing alone is worth the price of admission!

mediterranean orzo salad with creamy lemon dressing

blueberry and broccoli pasta salad

This pasta salad has a sort of retro soul but with thoroughly modern flavors that make it totally unique and fun. I love all the colors, crunch, and contrast of flavors going on here.

Broccoli and Blueberry Pasta Salad with Lemon Buttermilk Dressing is a fresh, healthy, and gluten free pasta salad just bursting with flavor and crunchy texture!

summer spaghetti salad

When you’ve got the makings of a great summer salad, but you’re craving something with just a little bit more substance…enter spaghetti salad! Equal parts amazing summer dinner or super fresh barbecue side, this spaghetti salad is a celebration of fresh, seasonal produce.

spaghetti salad

tortellini salad with artichokes and edamame

Prepackaged fresh tortellini feels like a delicious cheat ~ it’s flavor, protein, carbs, and that amazing chew factor all wrapped up in pretty little bundles ready to throw into your pasta salad.


Mediterranean orzo salad with shrimp

It’s hard to call this a pasta salad because it’s so much more. This salad could be the centerpiece of any meal. Tender orzo, meat shrimp, and lots of herbaceous flavor make this salad a summer win.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Shrimp in a white bowl

Israeli pasta salad

A mash-up of two of my favorite summer salads, it’s packed with veggies and is the perfect make-ahead potluck or bbq dish ~ it actually gets better after a day or two in the fridge!

Photo of a small glass jar filled with israeli pasta salad on a wood surface.

Couscous Almondine Salad

We can’t forget couscous, which makes the fluffiest, lightest pasta salad of them all. This Middle Eastern take on pasta salad has sweet currants, slivered almonds, and an aromatic lemon vinaigrette lightly spiced with cinnamon and allspice.

Couscous Almondine Salad in pretty floral bowls

e book

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1 Comment

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  • Reply
    Meredith Allen
    May 29, 2022 at 8:46 am

    I have made the asiago one so many times and always get rave reviews! It is one of my absolute favorites. I will be sure to try more from this collection this summer. What a great compilation! Thanks Sue 🙂

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