The weather is great, the mood is even greater so it’s time for outdoor living and chilling or snoozing on cool grass after a quick, light pasta salad meal made with minimum effort. Super tasty and made in a flash, pasta bowls are hard to resist no matter what you are preparing for: a garden BBQ, a picnic at the park or a light lunch outside to catch those precious rays of the sun. Pasta salads are more of a concept than an actual recipe. What you need is a handful of ingredients, normally already in your kitchen cupboards or your fridge.
The key to a faultless and always tasty pasta salads is the variety and abundance of vegetables all year round and especially in the summer, when many are even tastier as they’re in season. If you’re stuck for ideas just go through your cupboards. Pick the pasta shape of your choice: from fussili to penne to spaghetti and noodles. Anything will do really. Then pick a source of protein such as leftover roast chicken, cold shredded steak, cooked hams, prawns or fish. Add an antipasti from a jar: sundried tomatoes, peppers, aubergines if you have them handy or use at least two fresh vegetables and lots of fresh herbs. Sounds easy right? Now dress to impress, give it a good toss and tuck in. Below we have collected 15 brilliant pasta salads for the best veg & carb bowl.
Tortellini with pesto & broccoli
The fresh and fragrant flavour of pesto can lift up any pasta. Grab some tortellini, cook with a few broccoli florets for a couple of minutes. You only need to toss it in a bowl with pesto, pine nuts and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Hey presto!
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Summer sweet corn is a great addition to any salad. Boil from fresh or crack a good old fashioned tin. Tip in some chopped avocado in slices or cubes, bacon and a mild creamy cheese. Don’t forget to spice it up with jalapeños.
Ratatouille pasta salad with rocket
We all keep some leftovers in the fridge. Pasta salads are the best way to use them. If you have made a large pot of ratatouille, use what’s left with some freshly boiled pasta and a handful of fresh rocket. That’s your five a day in a bowl.
Greek pasta salad
There is nothing better than a bit of cool, creamy, salty feta crumbles mixed with juicy cherry tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Well, wait, there is! Toss in some pasta, dress with olive oil and you’re a winner.
Summer pasta salad
Like the above salad but with extra additions for that wow factor and colour! Reds and yellows and purples and greens from peppers, red onion and zucchini add extra layers of flavour, crunchiness and depth.
Balsamic Strawberry Pasta Salad
How much do you love strawberries? We love them so much, we tried them with pasta too. It’s the strawberry balsamic vinegraitte that binds everything together beautifully.
Pasta salad with pesto & prawns
Nothing can go wrong with a classic prawn and pesto combo. Use homemade pesto for best results, fresh herbs and freshly squeezed zesty lemon.
Creamy Cucumber Pasta Salad
With crisp, juicy cucumber, fresh dill and sweet white onion this salad can be turned to a full meal of its own. It’s is a very refreshing summer salad, simple and satisfying.
Artichokes, pepper and feta cheese
Bright, colourful and delicious. If you love artichokes then this is the perfect pasta salad for you. Try it with butterfly pasta (farfalle). Usual partners in crime: feta cheese, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar etc. Can’t go wrong even if you try.
Rustic grilled veg and rigatoni
If you’ve fired the bbq already make some space next to your burgers. If you have an electric grill or using your good old, you will do just fine by grilling fresh vegetables for a delicious chunky pasta dish with a tangy dressing to serve as a side for your grilled meats or make a lunch out if it. Get grilling!
Superfood pasta salad
A pasta salad like no other. The key is in the dressing, soy sauce with ginger and lime. Drizzle over a handful of soya beans and green beans, a bit of carrot and any sprout you love.
Feta and spinach pasta salad
Easy as abc. Boil pasta (al dente), toss it with crumbled feta, raw baby spinach leaves and a handful of black olives for flavour and fun and dig in.
Tomato, olives and basil pasta salad
We love Jamie! And we love his healthy food campaign. Who doesn’t? This dairy free and vegetarian pasta with ripe tomatoes olives and basil smells of Italian summer. Buon appetito!
Thai noodle salad
Mouth-drooling Thai noodle salad with peanut sauce reinforced up with healthy vegetables. It’s vegan and can be gluten-free if you wish. You can make it ahead and if you’re a carnivore stack up with chicken or prawns.
Chicken noodle salad
Another Asian kitchen inspired salad, always healthy, with a spicy kick and of course packed with vegetables and soy dressing. Check the lie calorific value. Instant winner.