8 Cold Pasta Salad Recipes for Summer

Cold pasta salad recipes are perfect for using up the garden bounty in summer.

cold pasta salad recipes

Substitute any variety of pasta in pasta salad recipes, such as easy-to-eat bow ties.

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One of summer’s many gifts is the freedom to prepare simpler, lighter meals using ingredients from right outside your back door. Most of my warm-weather meals are made sans recipe and depend completely on what was harvested in the garden that day, not to mention avoiding a hot oven at all costs. This means lots of fruits, vegetables, herbs, beans and any meat I can cook on an outdoor grill. I have found that adding pasta noodles with any number of these ingredients makes a complete and filling meal. Drizzle a homemade dressing over it all, and you’ll have a salad better than anything you can buy out of a deli case. Plus, there are always leftovers for another meal or two.

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Use these warm months as an excuse to keep the oven turned off and explore new ways to serve up the garden bounty. Feel free to mix and match any of the following combinations. Pasta salad is about as versatile as it comes. Remember that you can change any homemade dressing in a pinch by adding fresh herbs and experimenting with various oils, vinegars and citruses — see what happens when you substitute fresh-squeezed orange juice if a vinaigrette calls for lemon juice. Try a sliced, boiled egg for extra protein if you’d rather not add meat. The pasta suggestions in the recipes that follow are just that, suggestions. If you prefer spaghetti noodles to bow tie, go right ahead, or substitute whole-wheat noodles. Most of all, enjoy these months of warm weather and easy, light eating.