8 Pasta Salad Recipes We Can't Get Enough Of

Top-down view of tuna pasta salad next to dishes of greens and toppings
Top-down view of tuna pasta salad next to dishes of greens and toppings - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

There's nothing more versatile and all-encompassing than a pasta salad. A blend of fresh and canned, cooked and raw, pasta salads offer a delightful contrast of textures and flavors in each bite. You can make them as simple or complex as you like, and while they're typically a lunchtime favorite, pasta salads also make for satisfying one-pot dinners.

Whether you're in the mood for Asian, Italian, or Mexican, pasta salads are amenable to a full spectrum of global ingredients and cuisines. Of course, with so many pasta shapes, flavor combinations, and salad dressings, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the flood of recipes that'll appear when searching for the perfect pasta salad.

Luckily, Tasting Table staff have done the hard work of narrowing your search to a well-rounded list of pasta salad recipes. Below, we've included eight diverse recipes, each with a unique flavor profile and culinary theme to satisfy whatever you're craving for lunch or dinner. Our list of pasta salads varies in difficulty level from scratch-made and elaborate to pantry-staple dump-it recipes, but they're all delicious.

Read more: 44 Types Of Pasta And When You Should Be Using Them

Chicken Pasta Salad

Chicken pasta salad in a white bowl
Chicken pasta salad in a white bowl - Catherine Brooks/Tasting Table

We'll start the list of pasta salads at the simplest end of the spectrum with this fresh and tasty chicken pasta salad created by Catherine Brooks of Blue Sky Eating. If you're ever wondering what to do with plain chicken breasts, this pasta salad is the perfect flavor vessel. A colorful combination of romaine, yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers receives hearty chunks of chicken, then is added to a bed of fusilli. The dressing, however, is what provides the burst of flavorful complexity, featuring a blend of honey, Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, and mayonnaise. The creaminess of the mayonnaise balances the sweetness, acidity, and spicy bite of the other ingredients.

Recipe: Chicken Pasta Salad

Veggie Antipasti Italian Pasta Salad

Veggie antipasti pasta salad in two white bowls
Veggie antipasti pasta salad in two white bowls - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

A true dump-it recipe, this veggie antipasti pasta salad opens cans and jars of your favorite Italian small bites such as artichoke hearts, olives, and pepperoncini. Sweet, juicy cherry tomatoes, slices of red onion, and shredded basil leaves bring a pop of color, crunch, and freshness. Chunks of creamy feta and meaty, tender hearts of palm are the salty, zingy final touches to this veritable kitchen-sink salad mixed with freshly cooked rotini and bathed in a lemony red wine vinaigrette.

Recipe: Veggie Antipasti Italian Pasta Salad

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

Mandarin chicken salad in a glass bowl with wooden spoons
Mandarin chicken salad in a glass bowl with wooden spoons - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

This complex, citrusy Asian-inspired Mandarin chicken pasta salad features a double dose of orange from the juicy, fresh mandarins and a splash of orange juice in the honey-ginger-soy salad dressing. Oven-roasted chicken gets shredded over a vibrant mix of chopped fresh cilantro, red bell peppers, diced avocados, and scallions for a well-rounded, fragrant salad. Toasted sesame seeds add a pop of crunch while enhancing the sesame oil in the salad dressing. The fusilli offer a chewy, fun, classic pasta salad foundation, but you can also use another type of pasta such as spaghetti or even fat rice noodles for a more authentic cold noodle dish.

Recipe: Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar pasta salad in a ceramic bowl
Chicken Caesar pasta salad in a ceramic bowl - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

If you're looking for an elegant dinner-worthy pasta salad, look no further than this scratch-made Caesar chicken pasta salad. Every component of this recipe is homemade, from the toasted croutons to the authentic anchovy-filled Caesar salad dressing. Tender, juicy oven-roasted chicken, shaved fresh Parmesan, and crunchy croutons top a bed of dressed romaine and fusilli pasta for a beautifully presented main course that's as tasty as it looks. Recipe developer Jennine Rye also provides vegetarian options, swapping grilled chicken for marinated tofu, Parmesan for roasted garbanzos, and anchovies for capers for a plant-based Caesar pasta salad that's just as delicious as the original recipe.

Recipe: Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad

Zippy Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna pasta salad with bread crumbs in a ceramic bowl with a fork
Tuna pasta salad with bread crumbs in a ceramic bowl with a fork - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

Pasta salad and tuna salad are two of the most popular lunch recipes, and this zippy tuna pasta salad artfully combines them into a unique fusion of flavors and textures. "Zippy" is the perfect description of the tangy, creamy dressing that blends mayonnaise, lemon juice, and crème fraîche with fresh dill and basil. Canned corn and a dash of paprika add that perfect balance of sweet and spicy to pair with umami-rich canned tuna. Toasted breadcrumbs are the veritable icing on the cake, adding sophistication and a buttery, crunchy finish. You can also serve zippy tuna pasta salad over a bed of romaine for a dignified lunch.

Recipe: Zippy Tuna Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest pasta salad in a white bowl
Southwest pasta salad in a white bowl - Haley MacLean/Tasting Table

This Southwest pasta salad is a zesty, tangy marriage of corn and bean salsa and guacamole officiated by a smoky, sweet, and spicy chipotle-mayo dressing. The spiraled rotini helps capture all that flavorful chipotle cream infused with a wealth of aromatic spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and oregano. Roasted yellow corn, black beans, and chunks of avocado bring earthy, savory Mexican flavors and plenty of protein while scallions, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and red onions counter with a zesty, not-too-spicy crunch.

Recipe: Southwest Pasta Salad

Tortellini Greek Salad

Top-down view of tortellini Greek salad in a white bowl with ciabatta bread
Top-down view of tortellini Greek salad in a white bowl with ciabatta bread - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Authentic Greek salads have no lettuce, consisting solely of tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese. You can put an Italian twist on classic Greek salads while also transforming a light side dish into a hearty main course by adding tortellini. Tortellini stuffed with rich, creamy cheese boils as you prepare an elaborate Dijon mustard vinaigrette to dress this bright, fresh tortellini Greek salad recipe. The cherry tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers offer a fresh, juicy crunch to counter the chewy, tender tortellini and meaty Kalamata olives. This is the perfect effortless fusion of Mediterranean favorites that'll earn accolades at your next potluck.

Recipe: Tortellini Greek Salad

Mediterranean Orzo

Top-down view of orzo salad with feta and kale in a white bowl
Top-down view of orzo salad with feta and kale in a white bowl - Christina Musgrave/Tasting Table

This Mediterranean orzo salad created by Christine Musgrave from Tasting with Tina makes the most of its short ingredients list, offering a well-balanced burst of Mediterranean flavors. Hearty kale adds a wonderful chew and heft to contrast the light, couscous-like orzo. Feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted red peppers provide a trifecta of umami, aromatic, and salty notes. A drizzle of olive oil, the most Mediterranean staple of all, ties all the ingredients together with an earthy richness. Because most ingredients are pre-made and the dressing is a simple drizzle of olive oil, this recipe comes together in no time for a tasty, easy, and nutritious one-bowl meal.

Recipe: Mediterranean Orzo

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