7 Ways to Amp Up Your Pasta Salad Game

FNM_TuscanPastaSalad_070.tif

FNM_TuscanPastaSalad_070.tif

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.

KK_11_0216_FN_S3_016.tif

KK_11_0216_FN_S3_016.tif

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.

BLT Pasta_012.tif

BLT Pasta_012.tif

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.

FN_09_0526_shot_01-070.tif

FN_09_0526_shot_01-070.tif

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.

FNM_7LayerPastaSalad_048.tif

FNM_7LayerPastaSalad_048.tif

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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Pasta Salad, Lightened Up

Traditional pasta salad is swimming with hidden calories that’ll have you hiding from bathing suit season. Find out how to lighten up this summer classic and still keep your svelte shape.

The New Age of Potato Salad: 7 Ways to Do It Up Right

Never gloopy, these new-age picks — each with its own flavor-boosting edge — deserve a spot on your cookout menu, starting now.

5 Ways to Up Your Greens Game

Greens that taste amazing? You better be-leaf it! These healthy, delicious green sides will upgrade any main dish (if they don't steal the show first).

7 Delicious Pastas, Lightened Up!

Make these Healthy Pastas Without the Guilt. Find more healthy recipes like this at Food Network.

8 Ways to Shake Up Your Game-Day Menu This Weekend

Bored with burgers? These fun recipes will make your tailgating routine feel brand new again.

6 Healthy Ways to Up Your Carrot Cake Game — Fall Fest

Whether you prefer your carrots in cake, cupcake or muffin form, follow these six tips for turning your favorite carrot desserts into health-minded fall treats.

5-Ingredient Recipes: Pasta Salad, 3 Ways

Here are 3 classic salads, re-created pasta style, made with 5 ingredients each.

7 Ways to Win at Potato Salad — Summer Soiree

When you're cooking a spread in the name of summer, you better bet a side of potato salad will make the cut.

7 Ways to Fire Up Summer Vegetables

Just a few minutes of scorching heat will transform any farmers market find into charred, perfectly smoky bliss.