7 Ways to Amp Up Your Pasta Salad Game

Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggeiro
Prop Stylist: Marcus Hay

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Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggeiro Prop Stylist: Marcus Hay

Photo by: Yunhee Kim Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Yunhee Kim Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

As our calendars begin to fill up with plans for picnics, potlucks and backyard barbecues, it’s safe to say that we’re going to be seeing a lot of pasta salads. The danger of such a staple side dish though is that “safe” can quickly become “boring.” Don’t let pasta salad after pasta salad blur together this season. Take a break from your standard mayonnaise-laced fare and give these 7 recipes a try.

Grill, meet vegetables. Radicchio, fennel and bell peppers take a turn on the grill to add a crisp-tender texture and charred flavor to a dish simply seasoned with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.

Punch up the flavor in your pasta salad with a double helping of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped up for the salad – along with olives, fresh tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese – and mixed into a savory dressing, with red wine vinegar and capers, for Ina Garten’s 5-star recipe.

Food stylist: Stephana Bottom
Prop Stylist: Meghan Guthrie

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Food stylist: Stephana Bottom Prop Stylist: Meghan Guthrie ,Food stylist: Stephana BottomProp Stylist: Meghan Guthrie

Photo by: Kang Kim

Kang Kim

With bacon and steak in the mix, this creamy pasta salad edges towards main dish-worthy levels of satisfaction. Bright green beans and bell peppers help to add crunch, color and lightness.

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After seeing BLT work its magic in a pasta skillet, macaroni and cheese and a lobster roll, we can't say we're too surprised that these classic flavors work just as well in a pasta salad.

FOOD: STEPHANA BOTTOM
PROP: VICTORIA PETRO CONROY

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FOOD: STEPHANA BOTTOM PROP: VICTORIA PETRO CONROY,FOOD: STEPHANA BOTTOMPROP: VICTORIA PETRO CONROY

This Mediterranean-inspired dish features refreshing herbs and the bright, salty flavors of olives, feta cheese and pepperoncini peppers.

Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggeiro 
Prop Stylist: Marcus Hay

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Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggeiro Prop Stylist: Marcus Hay

Photo by: Yunhee Kim

Yunhee Kim

Easy to assemble and impressively stacked, this 5-star recipe has a little bit of everything, including deli ham, cheddar cheese, avocado and broccoli.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Bobby Flay adds some Southwestern flair to his pasta salad with corn, cilantro, chipotle pepper, tomatillos and grilled peppers.

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