I can eat pasta just about any way someone wants to make it. However, there’s something about cold pasta recipes that makes my mouth water.
Don’t get me wrong; I love warm pasta – spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, fettuccine. It’s all delicious to me.
When it’s warm out, though, I find myself making more and more cold pasta.
Whether I’m making a box of Suddenly Salad pasta salad or a homemade orange orzo salad, I get equally excited.
It seems like cold pasta is just so flavorful and zesty. That’s not always the case, of course.
Some of the options on this list are spicy or savory, but they’re not any less robust or tasty.
Just remember: Although many of these salads are quick and easy to make, most of them taste better after spending some time in the fridge, so plan accordingly.
Cool, creamy, and full of celery, onions, peppers, and more, Grandma’s macaroni salad is unlike other options out there for macaroni salad.
It takes only 30 minutes to make, and it has an earthy taste with just a hint of sweetness that makes it hard not to eat the whole bowl by yourself.
If you’re looking for a tasty, refreshing side dish for a barbecue or cookout, look no further than this recipe.
This recipe always reminds me of the pasta salads you can make with a box of Suddenly Salad, but this one has a lot more going on and tastes 100 times better than the boxed stuff.
The pasta is tender and well-seasoned; the parmesan and mozzarella add a rich cheesiness, and the extra veggies give the whole thing a garden-fresh taste that’s hard to beat.
If you need a vegetarian-friendly pasta salad, leave out the salami. It makes the dish much lighter, too.
Between the feta cheese, onions, and black olives, this Greek pasta salad has plenty of intense, bold flavors. The dressing is similarly flavorful.
It’s made from olive oil, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, oregano, black pepper, and red wine vinegar.
It has a complex, zesty kick that pushes the whole salad into “delicious” territory.
The added veggies are great as written in the recipe, but feel free to vary them up if you have fresh garden veggies to use up in the summer.
Believe it or not, even spaghetti noodles taste good cold, at least when you toss them in store-bought or homemade Greek vinaigrette and add plenty of veggies and feta cheese.
This salad tastes relatively similar to the Greek pasta salad mentioned above. The only real difference is in the type of noodles you’ll use for it.
If you’re looking for a cold pasta dish with an Asian flair, try cold soba noodle salad.
The veggies are fairly commonplace and straightforward – carrots, green onions, peppers, cucumbers, etc.
You can also add some peanuts, cashews, or edamame for extra texture.
However, none of that is what gives it the Asian touch. That’s all about the dressing.
Made from ginger, lime, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and Asian chile sauce, this sesame lime ginger dressing simply screams “yummy Chinese takeout!”
The ingredients list for this sesame noodles dish looks intense, but it’s remarkably easy to make.
Other than boiling the noodles, you’ll only have to whisk and mix.
It, too, has a bit of an ethnic flair to it, and you’ll appreciate the crunch of the sesame seeds and cucumbers.
Just because the pasta is cold doesn’t mean that it can’t set your mouth on fire.
If you enjoy meals that are full of heat, you’ll love this vegan-friendly spicy peanut pasta salad.
It’s both slightly sweet, thanks to the peanut butter, brown sugar, and peanuts, and super spicy. It’s also totally authentic.
If you’re looking for a macaroni salad that’s more sour than sweet or savory, this is it. I love this salad, but I make funny faces whenever I eat it.
It’s a quirky, zesty dish, and best of all, you can whip it up in 15 minutes or less. Don’t forget to refrigerate it, though!
Despite its appearance, orzo is pasta, not rice, and it’s the ideal ingredient for this dense, hearty salad.
It’s meant to be a side dish, but it’s so filling, you can serve it by itself and have quite the meal.
This salad is a bit zesty, but mostly, it’s fresh and full of flavor.
The chickpeas don’t add much in the way of taste, but they’ll fill you up quickly. If you want a lighter version, leave them out.
So far, most of these pasta dishes have been vegetarian- or vegan-friendly. Well, here’s one for my meat-loving friends.
This simple salad combines ham, cheese, pasta, onions, and peppers.
The dressing is a light, slightly tangy mixture of mayo, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
This whole thing is sheer simplicity, and you can have it done in only 15 minutes.
(Like all the others, though, it tastes better after some time in the fridge.)
This pasta contains both chicken and bacon; it’s a meat lover’s dream. I love it because of how colorful and lovely it is, but it tastes great, too.
The dressing requires mayo, ranch dressing mix, sour cream, and milk, and it gives the whole thing a somewhat buffalo-ranch flavor.
The dill and parsley add a welcome bit of freshness, as well.
Even though you’ll have to do some cooking for this one, it’s still easy to make, and you can always cut down on your cook time by buying microwavable bacon and using leftover chicken.
With a single box of elbow macaroni, three cans of tuna, frozen peas, and a few other everyday kitchen staples, you can make this yummy tuna macaroni salad in only 20 minutes.
It has all the robust flavor of tuna, paired with a few tangy extras like lemon juice and sweet pickle relish.
Pesto pasta salad is a treat for the senses. It looks fantastic and smells wonderful, but best of all, it tastes phenomenal.
It even feels nice. The mozzarella balls are creamy and silky, and the toasted pine nuts add a bit of crunch. In short, it’s one of my favorite pasta salads of all time.
This orzo salad is also gorgeous; it’s easy to make, and it looks like something you’ll see on the cover of a food magazine.
It somehow manages to combine sweetness, tanginess, and zestiness all in one delightful bowl.
There’s even some nuttiness from the almonds. This one has it all.
Coleslaw pasta salad is exactly what it sounds like it would be – a combination of crunchy coleslaw and creamy pasta salad.
It’s full of garden veggies and uses a dressing that combines more than half a dozen bold, aromatic spices and seasonings.
It’s the ideal complement to a summer BBQ.
Most of the ingredients (and the work) for this dish go into making the ginger scallion sauce.
The salad itself only requires four components – soba noodles, cilantro, cucumbers, and lime wedges.
Everything else – all 10 ingredients – are part of the sauce. Luckily, even that is easy to make, requiring little more than whisking and mixing.
The whole thing takes less than 20 minutes to make and is the perfect cool, refreshing lunch on a hot summer day.
This dish is hard to describe, but it’s so good. It’s kind of sweet, kind of tangy, and even a little spicy.
There are so many contrasting flavors in it that it’s hard to pick out just one, but somehow, they all work perfectly together.
If you love chicken Caesar salad, you’ll love this because that’s precisely what it is, only with pasta thrown into the mix.
Pile it high with croutons and grated parmesan cheese, and top it off with the homemade Caesar dressing. It’s mouth-wateringly marvelous.
This simple salad is full of cheese and tomato flavor. There’s cheese in the tortellini and parmesan cheese on top.
The addition of cherry tomatoes and Italian dressing round out the flavor profile for a light side dish that’ll be a new summertime staple.
20. Ravioli Salad
I was hesitant about trying cold ravioli. How good could that be? Ravioli is best served hot and with plenty of sauce, right?
Well, as it turns out, cold ravioli tastes just as good as any other cold pasta.
It’s tender and cheesy, and once you add all the extras – olives, pepperoni, peppers, and more – you won’t remember why you ever questioned this recipe in the first place.
It tastes exactly like something delicious and decadent you’d get from your favorite Italian restaurant, but it just happens to be cold.
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