51 Best Pasta Salads for a Potluck

(Cassie Blount)

Here, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer and barbecue season! And I think no matter where you live, we can all agree that the go-to barbecue side dish is pasta salad. Am I right?

Not only these pasta salad recipes versatile, they are quite easy too. There are just a few simple mistakes some people make when making pasta salad, but don’t worry, we’re breaking them down, along with the 51 Best Pasta Salads for a Potluck.

Related: 50 Penne Pasta Recipes

What are five mistakes to avoid when making pasta salad?

  1. The biggest mistake people make when making a pasta salad recipe is not cooking the pasta properly. You have to be careful not to overcook it and end up with soggy noodles, but you also have to be careful not to overcook it.
  2. Speaking of pasta, choosing the right pasta for your recipe is crucial. Think about the other ingredients going into the salad and how they will be picked up with the pasta. It’s not ideal to end up with a bowl full of vegetables or meat that has slipped and slipped from the pasta. It’s generally best to avoid long, stringy noodles unless a recipe specifically calls for them.
  3. The next mistake is simply going too far. Although pasta salads are a great dish to make, don’t make them more than a day in advance.
  4. Seasoning is obviously super important. You’d think it would be a no-brainer, but you need to season your pasta salad a bit more than standard pasta dishes.
  5. The final mistake to avoid is using too many or too few “complementary” ingredients. Pasta salad is best when you have a roughly equal ratio of pasta to vegetables and/or meat.

How to make a pasta salad

Although there are countless pasta salad recipes. The basic steps are to cook and then chill your pasta. Combine the pasta with the vegetables, meats and cheeses of your choice. Season everything well, then add the vinaigrette of your choice.

When making a pasta salad, what’s better: hot or cold pasta?

I find the best result when making a pasta salad is to quickly rinse the pasta under cold running water to stop the cooking process. However, you do not need to cool completely before assembly.

How long do pasta salads last?

Pasta salad can be kept for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container. Keep in mind though that it’s best served within a day or two.

Pasta salads make a great side dish, of course, but some can even be used as an appetizer. They can be creamy, oil-based, meatless, or loaded with chicken or steak. There are even drool-worthy pasta salads with tuna! You name an ingredient and it could definitely end up in a pasta salad.

Up Next: 30 tortellini pasta salads

About the Author:

Christine is the creator of Schmoody’s Gourmet Blog. She is a wife and mother of three children. She grew up with a great Italian influence in her life. She brings her love of food and the need to have quick and easy meals together to her food blog.