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 Pasta Salad

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.

Heathy Pasta Salad

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.

Radicchio-Pasta Salad

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.

Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad



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.

Minted Squash-Orzo Salad


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.

Tossed with walnuts and a Dijon vinaigrette with just a touch of walnut oil, Ellie Krieger's Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese works as a simple side for a summer picnic or as lunch, no matter the occasion.

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Perfecting the Healthy Pasta Salad

It seems like no cookout would be complete without a pasta salad. Everyone has their favorite recipe -- some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious with our tips and recipes.