New York Paris London Palm Beach Hudson Valley


Jul 18

8 Unique Pasta Salads Perfect For Picnics & Beyond


Let’s be honest—we never stopped eating pasta. It plays well with creamy, comforting flavors in colder months, then graciously welcomes warmer temperatures with bright, fresh zest. But while pasta is seasonless, the pasta salad screams summer.

From soba noodles dressed in citrus ginger to tender bow ties sprinkled with red pepper flakes and tomatoes, a cool, big bowl of pasta salad is endlessly versatile. You can plop in whatever farmer’s market bounty you find: cucumbers, carrots, corn, or radishes. Plus, they hold up (even improve!) over time as dressings and ingredients marinate—no wilting or getting soggy. So, now as we’re entering long summer days, we’re piling our plates with these eight beauties.


Cold Vegetable and Noodle Salad with Ponzu Dressing

This is a great way to get acquainted with tart and salty ponzu sauce: tossed with silky udon and a medley of crunchy, fresh vegetables and herbs.


For the noodle salad:
8 ounces udon noodles
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon yellow miso
12 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 ears corn
1 cup cooked edamame
1 small head Savoy cabbage, cut into small ribbons, rinsed, and dried
1 cucumber, roughly chopped
3 scallions, green parts only, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, or more to taste
Lime wedges, for serving
Basil and mint, torn, for serving

Full recipe HERE

Summer Pasta alla Caprese

If you love caprese salads but also want to be full an hour after dinner, just add all those tasty components to pasta.


3 medium red, ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound curly pasta (I like cavatappi)
1 medium ball fresh mozzarella

Full recipe HERE!


Orzo Salad with Scallions, Hazelnuts, and Golden Raisins

A make-ahead masterpiece if we’ve ever seen one! You can mix the dressing, plump the raisins, and toast the hazelnuts the night before.


1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup orzo
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Kosher salt
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for coating the orzo
6 scallions
Small handful of chives
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Full recipe HERE!


Miso Peanut Pasta Salad

Macaroni salad gets a new personality. Instead of creamy cheese, coat noodles in peanut butter and miso, then add some spice with vinegar and chili-garlic sauce.


1 pound whole wheat elbow pasta, or your favorite shape
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used natural unsweetened, which is more gritty, but use what you like)
1 heaping tablespoon white miso
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, to taste (get a jar of the Huy Fong and stash it in the fridge — it’s ridiculously good)
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons honey (or less, if using sweetened peanut butter)
3 to 5 dashes sesame oil, to taste
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
1/2 large watermelon radish, cut into 2-inch sticks
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch sticks
1 cup broccoli florets, blanched or lightly steamed, chopped
8 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped, legs and all, plus extra for garnish
Roasted peanuts, for garnish

Full recipe HERE!


Bow Tie Pasta Salad with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Celebrate tomato season with Michel Guérard’s Genius Sauce Vierge, a gorgeous no-cook tomato sauce. The combination of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs shines in this simply-dressed pasta salad.


One batch of Michael Guérard’s Sauce Vierge (link in headnote)
1 pound bow tie (farfalle) pasta, cooked to al dente and drained well
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or cubed
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 splash red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, for garnishing

Full recipe HERE!


Summer Cold Noodle Salad

Here’s an almost no-cook, 5-ingredient salad that will actually help you cool down.


For the salad::
1/2 pound (usually half a package) noodles
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced red pepper
1/4 cup shredded or thinly sliced carrots
1/4 cup shredded cabbage (or chopped spinach, or some other green)
1 pinch Sesame seeds

Full recipe HERE!


Jaengban Guksu (Korean-style Soba Noodles with Spicy Dressing)

Meanwhile, some people like to eat hot foods in the summer. If you’re looking for a spicy kick, gochujang takes this salad to the next level.


2 bundles soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
3 cups assorted greens (baby spinach, baby kale, spring mix, chopped romaine, etc.; whatever your preference)
2 cups chopped variety of vegetables (carrots, red onion, cucumber, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, all work well here)
1/2 apple, sliced

Full recipe HERE!



Summer’s a time for free spirits. Riff on your favorite pasta shapes and flavors to create your own masterpiece.

How to Make Pasta Salad without a Recipe



Written By: Food52


Share this