6 Healthy Pasta Salads to Save Your Waistline

These better-for-you recipes prove that, with a few easy modifications, you can take a scoop of classic potato salad without derailing your healthy lifestyle.

American Macaroni Salad: Food Network Kitchens

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Right up there with the burgers and hot dogs, pasta salad is one of those can't-pass-up dishes that we can't wait to serve up every summer, when we finally dust off the grill and throw a backyard cookout. Though the pasta and macaroni salads you're used to may have been drenched in mayo, these better-for-you recipes prove that, with a few easy modifications, you can still take a scoop of this classic side without derailing your healthy lifestyle.

Just because you're lightening up your pasta salad, it doesn't mean you have to go without the creamy texture you grew up on. Instead of leaving the mayo out altogether, simply ease up on it for a lighter  American Macaroni Salad. Food Network Kitchen's quintessential recipe also loads up on veggies, so you get their crunch and nutrients.

A smooth dressing of buttermilk, reduced-fat sour cream, cider vinegar and scallions gives  Corn and Pasta Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing a tangy creaminess without going overboard. Bulk it up with corn, grape tomatoes, onion, arugula and a smart sprinkling of two slices of crumbled bacon for a pasta salad that is so much more than pasta.

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

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

Rather than a classic creamy dressing, Rachael Ray's  Radicchio-Pasta Salad comes with a vibrant dressing brimming with orange and oregano. Counter the sweet-tangy dressing with bitter red greens and onions for a balanced pasta salad ready for picnicking in under 20 minutes.

RnB_Pasta_Salad-011f.tif

RnB_Pasta_Salad-011f.tif

FOOD STYLIST: VIVIAN LIU PROP STYLIST: MOLLY FITZSIMONS

Kids will go wild for Ellie Krieger's better-for-you  Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad for Food Network Magazine. Toss whole-grain bow-tie pasta with corn kernels, edamame, diced red peppers and shredded carrots for a bright, veggie-packed dish that's even better with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

OrzoSalad1.tif

OrzoSalad1.tif

Food stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Meghan Guthrie

Switch up your next pasta salad by using short-cut orzo instead of macaroni, penne and other shapes. Food Network Magazine's  Minted-Squash Orzo Salad recipe tosses sauteed slices of yellow squash in a skillet before combining it with the orzo, crumbled feta and fresh mint.

Whole Wheat Pasta Salad 03:45

This salad, with walnuts and feta, is a healthy meal in itself.

Watch Ellie Krieger make her healthy recipe for Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese (video above). Tossed with walnuts and a Dijon vinaigrette with just a touch of walnut oil, this hearty pasta salad works as a simple side for a summer picnic or as lunch, no matter the occasion.

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