pasta salad ideas

10 Pasta Salad Ideas/Recipes

If you enjoy spending time in your kitchen you understand the reality of running out of ideas. It’s easy to cook the same four meals over and over again, but who wants to do that? People enjoy trying new things, switching the ordinary to extraordinary, and impressing their taste buds. If you’re looking for some new dishes to share with your friends and family, then you’ve found the right corner of the internet. Keep reading to discover some irresistible recipes, and who knows, you might just find dinner tonight, as well!

Pasta Caprese

creamy caprese pasta

Originating from the island of Capri in Italy, pasta Caprese is one of the most well-known dishes. Not only is it absolutely scrumptious, but it’s pleasing to look at and it’s good for you, as well.


⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 minced shallot
1 small clove of garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (this is optional)
2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 pound pasta, penne, or fusilli is recommended
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, ½-inch pieces
½ cup freshly chopped basil
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest


1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and shallot in a large bowl and season them with salt and pepper. If you’re going to use the sugar, this is the time to add that in. Add the tomatoes and gently toss the ingredients together. Marinate the mixture for approximately 15 minutes at room temperature.
2. While that’s marinating, boil a large pot of salted water. Add in the pasta and cook it as you normally would. Drain the pasta into a colander and run it under cold water in order to stop the cooking process.
3. Add the pasta and the mozzarella to the tomato mixture. Toss them all together. Stir in the basil and the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Put it into the refrigerator and stir it occasionally before serving.

Tagliatelle Marinara

simple marinara sauce

It’s believed that marinara sauce came from mariners returning to Italy from the Americas with brand new fruit, the tomato! This was said to happen in the 1700s, but it’s being shared and enjoyed all over the world today.


2 cups tagliatelle egg noodles
Black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (this is optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
¼ cup chopped shallots
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 ⅛ cup marinara mix or fresh peeled seafood
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped


1. Following the instructions on the package, cook the egg noodles
2. Heat up the oil in a pan.
3. Saute the onion until it’s transparent.
4. Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook for five minutes.
5. Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until the seafood is tender. Make sure that you don’t overcook it.
6. Add if your sauce tastes a bit too tangy, add in the one tablespoon of sugar.
7. Serve on top of a generous portion of the tagliatelle.

Pasta Alla Norma

pasta alla norma recipe

It goes without saying that Sicili is well-known for its impressive pasta dishes. While there are plenty of dishes to choose from, we have to admit that this Pasta Alla Norma is absolutely glorious.


2 large, firm eggplants
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 dried red chili, crumbled (this is optional)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced finely
A large bunch of fresh basil stems finely chopped, leaves put to the side
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 14-ounce cans of chopped plum tomatoes, better quality is preferred
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound dried spaghetti
6 ounces salted ricotta or Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Grab your eggplants and cut them into quarters lengthwise. If the centers are fluffy or seedy, remove them and throw them away. Cut the eggplant into finger-sized pieces.
2. Using a large nonstick pan, heat up a little bit of oil.
3. Put the eggplant into the oil in two different batches. It’s perfectly fine if you need to add a little bit more oil into the pan for the second batch. Toss the eggplant so the oil coats it evenly. Sprinkle the eggplant with some of the dried oregano. Using tongs, turn the eggplant until it’s a nice golden color on all sides. Repeat these steps with the second batch of eggplant.
4. Once the eggplants have finished cooking, put the first batch back into the pan. If you’re going to use the chili, now is the time to put it into the pan. Turn down the heat to medium and add a little bit of oil, garlic, and basil stems.
5. Stir well. Add in the tomatoes and vinegar. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Taste and correct the seasoning to your liking.
7. Tear up half of the basil leaves and add them to the sauce. Toss the mixture.
8. Put your pasta into the pot of salted, boiling water.
9. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, put a bit of the water to the side, and put it back into the pan.
10. Add in the Norma sauce and a bit of the water from the pasta and put them back onto the heat.
11. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
12. Divide among the plates, add any leftover sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the basil, grated cheese, and oil.

Chez Panisse Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Tomato Pasta

If you’re not really a fan of eggplant, then you won’t care for this recipe too much. But give it a try, this classic dish might just surprise you.


1-2 eggplants to equal 4-6 cups of diced eggplant
Olive oil
1 onion, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of basil leaves
Kosher salt
¾ pound of pasta of your choosing
Sherry vinegar
2 cups of tomato sauce
Red pepper flakes
½ pound of ricotta cheese (you can also use grated Parmigiano Reggiano)


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the eggplants into ¾-inch cubes. Lightly toss them with olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and brown.
3. Using a large pot, boil water for the pasta. Add just a pinch of salt and cook the pasta al dente.
4. Heat a large saute pan. Add olive oil and onions over medium heat. Season with salt and saute until they’re caramelized, which should take approximately 20-25 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a minute or so. Add in a splash of sherry vinegar to deglaze the onions.
6. Add the eggplant, tomato sauce, and just a pinch of the red pepper flakes.
7. Heat the sauce to simmering.
8. Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato saucepan. Toss gently.
9. Chiffonade the basil and add it to the pan.
10. Serve the pasta with the ricotta or Parmigiano Reggiano crumbled on top.

Italian Pasta Salad

italian pasta salad recipe

One of the most simple pasta dishes you can make is a traditional Italian pasta salad. This dish is more than perfect for hot summer days in the backyard, surrounded by family.


16 oz. tricolor rotini
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ orange bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 cups of grape tomatoes
½ cup sliced black olives
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
⅓ cup red onion, diced
8 oz. salami, chopped
1 cup bottled Italian vinaigrette dressing
⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper


1. Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package.
2. Rinse the pasta under cold water in order to stop the cooking process.
3. Combine all of the ingredients, and any other ingredients you’d like to add, into a large bowl.
4. Add dressing and toss.
5. Make sure to refrigerate for at least two hours before serving it.

Easy Greek Pasta Salad

greek pasta salad recipe

This pasta salad may not be Italian, but it sure is just as delicious.


16 oz short pasta (you can use penne, bow ties, or even rotini)
¾ long English cucumber, diced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, diced
½ cup sliced pitted olives
½ cup feta cheese, cubed
⅓ cup red onion, diced

For the dressing, you can use a bottle a cup of bottled vinaigrette dressing, or you can make your own:

¼ cup red wine vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to your taste


1. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.
2. Cook the pasta al dente using the directions on the package.
3. Rinse the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
5. Add the dressing and toss.
6. Make sure to refrigerate for at least two hours before you serve.

Well, there you go! Now you have several different recipes to choose from to help you impress your family or friends with your amazing cooking skills! And the best part is that they’re all relatively easy to make, so you won’t have to sweat too much preparing it. Well, unless you’re standing in front of the stove, of course.