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a delicious pasta salad with a white sauce, broccoli, and herbs
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6 Irresistible Cold Pasta Salad Recipes

Cookouts are a quintessential part of summer, and cold pasta salads are a great addition to any summer get-together! We’ve found and sampled these recipes that showcase the flavors of fresh garden vegetables, cheeses, meats, and seafood. 

They taste great and make a satisfying and refreshing option for hot days. From vibrant colors to diverse textures, these cold pasta salads are the star of the show at your next cookout. 

Creamy Avocado and Bacon Pasta Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Rotini pasta
  • Avocado (diced)
  • Bacon (cooked and crumbled)
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Red onion (finely chopped)
  • Cheddar cheese (cubed)
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the rotini pasta according to package instructions, then drain and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooled pasta, diced avocado, crumbled bacon, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, and cubed cheddar cheese.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, salt, and pepper to create the dressing.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.
  5. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to let the flavors meld.
  6. Mediterranean Penne Salad with Grilled Chicken:

Grilled Chicken and Penne Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • Penne pasta
  • Grilled chicken breast (sliced)
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Cucumber (diced)
  • Kalamata olives (pitted and halved)
  • Red onion (thinly sliced)
  • Feta cheese (crumbled)
  • Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • Greek vinaigrette dressing
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the penne pasta according to package instructions, then drain and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooked pasta, sliced grilled chicken, halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, halved Kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onion, crumbled feta cheese, and chopped parsley.
  3. Drizzle with Greek vinaigrette dressing and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss gently to coat.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Rainbow Veggie Rotini Salad with Ranch:

Tri-color Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • Tri-color rotini pasta
  • Broccoli florets (blanched)
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Bell peppers (sliced)
  • Carrots (julienned)
  • Red onion (thinly sliced)
  • Cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • Ranch dressing
  • Fresh chives (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the tri-color rotini pasta according to package instructions, then drain and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, blanched broccoli florets, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, julienned carrots, thinly sliced red onion, and shredded cheddar cheese.
  3. Drizzle with ranch dressing and toss gently to coat.
  4. Garnish with chopped fresh chives and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
  6. Grilled Shrimp and Mango Pasta Salad:

Mango Shrimp Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • Grilled shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • Mango (diced)
  • Red bell pepper (diced)
  • Red onion (finely chopped)
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Lime zest and juice
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the farfalle pasta according to package instructions, then drain and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooked pasta, grilled shrimp, diced mango, diced red bell pepper, finely chopped red onion, and chopped cilantro.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper to create the dressing.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.
  5. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
  6. Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo Salad with Pesto:

Spinach and Tomato with Orzo Salad

Ingredients:

  • Orzo pasta
  • Baby spinach
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
  • Pine nuts (toasted)
  • Feta cheese (crumbled)
  • Fresh basil pesto
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the orzo pasta according to package instructions, then drain and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooked orzo, baby spinach, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and crumbled feta cheese.
  3. Drizzle with fresh basil pesto and lemon juice. Toss gently to combine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
  6. BBQ Ranch Chicken Macaroni Salad:

BBQ Chicken and Macaroni Salad

Ingredients:

  • Elbow macaroni
  • BBQ grilled chicken (shredded)
  • Corn kernels (cooked)
  • Black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Red onion (finely chopped)
  • Monterey Jack cheese (shredded)
  • BBQ ranch dressing
  • Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions, then drain and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooked macaroni, shredded BBQ grilled chicken, cooked corn kernels, drained black beans, finely chopped red onion, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
  3. Drizzle with BBQ ranch dressing and toss gently to coat.
  4. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Refrigerate before serving to let the flavors meld.

Cold pasta salads are the star of summer cookouts. The mix of tastes and textures, and the ability to use your homegrown vegetables, make them a must-serve option. No matter what kind of pasta you use, you’ll be able to create a wonderful variety of dishes that will be fresh all summer long!