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20 Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Want to Serve Tonight

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20 Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Want to Serve Tonight

Who says pasta salad has to be a guilty indulgence? With these 20 healthy recipes, you can enjoy every bite without having to worry about your diet.

Pasta salad is versatile, delicious, and, in the case of these 20 recipes, totally healthy.

Whether you’re meal prepping for the week or planning to be the hero of a company picnic, you just can’t go wrong with pasta salad.

Try just one of these recipes out and you’ll see why.

They’re not only packed with protein and vegetables, they’re calorie– and macro-friendly and downright delicious.

Pasta salad is also highly adaptable, so if you’re not feeling the broccoli in one recipe, sub in some asparagus instead. Not in the mood for tuna? Try shredded chicken.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these 20 pasta salad recipes, so get some water boiling and help yourself to a portion today.

Enjoy!

Chilled Italian Shrimp Tortellini Salad

tortellini shrimp pasta saladPicture courtesy of SkinnyTaste

Using tortellini will turn any pasta salad into a meal. Since it’s a type of stuffed pasta, you’ll add another element of flavor without having to do extra work.

Pick tortellini with a smart filling like ricotta and spinach, you’ll be adding extra nutrition too. Thanks to that, this lean pasta has more protein than carbs per serving.

Serves 8

Ingredients

Salad:

8 oz. ricotta spinach tortellini

2 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 oz. capers

1/4 cup sliced black olives

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

3/4 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 240

Protein: 25 grams

Carbs: 18 grams

Fat: 7 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

caesar pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Erika Follansbee

Chicken Caesar salad is a standby for good reason, so it’s a no-brainer to turn it into a picnic-style pasta dish. If you’d rather make your own low-fat Caesar salad dressing, use Greek yogurt in place of the olive oil and egg yolk.

You can still add plenty of flavor with Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, and anchovy to keep is traditional (if that’s your thing).

Serves 12

Ingredients

16 oz. rotini pasta, cooked

2 chicken breasts (about 6 oz. each), cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bottle (16 oz.) creamy Caesar dressing

1 1/4 cups (about 5 oz.) Parmesan, shredded or shaved

Pinch of dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Tabasco to serve

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 400

Protein: 15 grams

Carbs: 24 grams

Fat: 27 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Caprese Pasta Salad

caprese pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Pip and Ebby

An Italian salad, Caprese requires just a handful of ingredients: fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. No dressing required, just a super simple seasoning of olive oil and salt.

To turn it into a filling meal, just add your favorite cooked pasta. It’s better to choose a whole-grain variety, which provides complex carbs that digest slowly and therefore won’t spike your blood sugar.

Serves 10

Ingredients

1 box (16 oz.) rotini pasta, cooked al dente

8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella pearls

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup basil pesto

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 255

Protein: 10 grams

Carbs: 27 grams

Fat: 12 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

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Healthy Pepperoni Pasta Salad

italian pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Well Plated by Erin

This is portioned for a side dish, but it’s also healthy enough to eat for a whole meal when you’re craving pepperoni pizza.

With broccoli, cherry tomatoes, onion, and olives, it has all the ingredients that would be part of a supreme pizza topping. Yet with pasta in place of crust, each serving has about 150 calories and fewer carbs than you’d get in a single slice of pizza.

Serves 8

Ingredients

Pepperoni Salad:

8 oz. whole-wheat pasta

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/3 cup turkey pepperoni slices, quartered

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 can (2.25 oz.) sliced black olives, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup (about 2 oz.) reduced-fat feta, crumbled

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Italian Dressing:

1 small tomato, halved

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. pure honey

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. dried basil

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 153

Protein: 7 grams

Carbs: 21 grams

Fat: 5 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Smoked Salmon, Strawberry & Zucchini Noodle Salad

low carb salmon pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Cotter Crunch

For a refreshing salad, forget about the pasta altogether. A crisp summer salad can start with zucchini noodles, made by either spiralizing the summer squash, using a mandolin slicer, or getting a julienne peeler, which is specially designed for making thin strips.

This zucchini pasta salad is completed with a savory-sweet combo of salmon, strawberries, candied walnuts, and goat cheese.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 zucchinis

3 Tbsp. goat cheese crumbles

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil (or butter)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/3 avocado

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

3 Tbsp. candied walnuts

2 oz. smoked salmon

1 cup chopped strawberries

Balsamic glaze or vinegar (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 188

Protein: 9 grams

Carbs: 12 grams

Fat: 13 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Winter Crunch Pasta Salad

winter crunchy pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Macheesmo

Since it’s served cold, it may seem like pasta salad is only good in the summertime. But like most salads, it’s highly adaptable and can incorporate whatever ingredients are available year-round.

A winter pasta salad, for example, can be made with Brussels sprouts, squash, and cranberries. Then, an apple cider vinaigrette sweetened with maple syrup is simple and keeps it within the season.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Salad:

12 oz. pasta, cooked and drained

3 cups diced acorn squash

3 cups shredded Brussels sprouts (or kale)

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Dressing:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 528

Protein: 11 grams

Carbs: 56 grams

Fat: 32 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Spring Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Artichokes

spring pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Veg Kitchen

After a cold winter of stews and roasts, a pasta salad is a great way to welcome the first tastes of spring. This one features fresh peas, asparagus, and artichoke hearts.

But with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon, and parsley, it’s also adaptable to include other spring ingredients like radishes and fava beans.

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 oz. tri-color rotini

8 oz. slender asparagus

1 cup shelled fresh peas (or frozen peas)

1 can (15 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 241

Protein: 10 grams

Carbs: 39 grams

Fat: 8 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Skinny Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

ranch pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Foodie Fresh

This low-fat pasta salad will be welcome at any picnic or outdoor cookout. It looks like a classic macaroni salad with Ranch dressing and bacon – only this one has Greek yogurt and turkey for a fat-free side dish.

That’s almost all you need to make a satisfying ranch pasta salad, but you can also add tomatoes, peas, and other veggies like bell pepper.

Serves 6

Ingredients

8 oz. macaroni

Salt to taste

8 slices turkey bacon

1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

3 tsp. ranch seasoning mix

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 206

Protein: 14 grams

Carbs: 33 grams

Fat: 1 gram

  GET THE RECIPE

Tabbouleh Pasta Salad

tabbouleh pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Vegan Richa

This Middle Eastern salad is usually made with bulgur, a type of cracked wheat. But if you make a pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, herbs, and lemon in a pasta salad, the only noticeable difference without the bulgur wheat is the texture. The flavor will be just like a great tabbouleh, especially with fresh mint and parsley.

Serves 2

Ingredients

6 oz. whole-grain fusilli

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 cucumber, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint

Salt to taste

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 439

Protein: 15 grams

Carbs: 79 grams

Fat: 9 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Shrimp Macaroni Salad

shrimp macaroni salad recipePicture courtesy of Foodie Crush

Forget about questionable macaroni salad from a convenience store. This version is creamy and loaded with healthy ingredients like seafood and hard-boiled eggs.

And with diced sweet pickles, it doesn’t rely on just mayo for flavor. This recipe will work with regular shrimp too, but if you can find smaller bay shrimp, grab those since they’re perfectly sized for a pasta salad.

Serves 8

Ingredients

3 cups dry shell pasta

1 lb. bay shrimp, cooked

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

8 sweet pickles, chopped

3 large eggs, hard-boiled and chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

6 Tbsp. pickle juice (or more to taste)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 306

Protein: 15 grams

Carbs: 33 grams

Fat: 13 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Basil & Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Salad

vegetable pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Abra’s Kitchen

This salad uses purple cauliflower and Romanesco spiral-shaped broccoli, but white cauliflower will work too. No matter what kind you use, the vegetable is great for filling a pasta bowl because it has way fewer calories, but lends a similar texture.

With cauliflower in the mix, you can use less whole-wheat pasta per serving – and this trick works with any pasta salad recipe you’re craving.

Serves 12

Ingredients

Salad:

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 lb. rotini pasta

2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed

1 cup sliced scallions, green and white parts

1 cup (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella pearls

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil (plus more for garnish)

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 292

Protein: 10 grams

Carbs: 30 grams

Fat: 15 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Creamy Avocado Lime Pasta Salad

creamy avocado lime pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Chocolate Slopes

This creamy pasta salad is inspired by guacamole with rice and beans. There’s avocado and fresh lime, of course, but here the combo is paired with a gluten-free brown rice pasta.

Then for more Mexican flavor, mix in black beans, diced tomatoes, and fresh cilantro. And if you like spicy food, add hot sauce to taste.

Serves 8

Ingredients

12 oz. brown rice rotini

Juice from 2 limes

2 tsp. minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 avocado, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 medium cucumber, chopped

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup (about 2 oz.) shredded Mexican blended cheese

1 package (1 oz.) ranch seasoning mix

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 336

Protein: 13 grams

Carbs: 45 grams

Fat: 12 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Cold Soba Summer Salad

soba pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of I Am a Food Blog

Easy Gourmet: Awesome Recipes Anyone Can Cook is loaded with tips to build your kitchen skills. You can also find delicious, easy-to-make meals at Stephanie Le’s blog, aptly named I Am a Food Blog.

If you pick up the cookbook, you’ll find instructions to make other simple-yet-stellar dishes like fried chicken and waffles, plus another cold noodle salad made with sesame oil.

easy gourmet cookbook

Serves 6

Ingredients

Salad:

6 oz. soba noodles

1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 ear corn, cooked, kernels sliced off

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 cucumber, deseeded and julienned

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1/3 cup sliced green onions

1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 6 oz.), cooked and shredded

Dressing:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup neutral oil

1 Tbsp. Sriracha (or more to taste)

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 352

Protein: 13 grams

Carbs: 35 grams

Fat: 19 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Crab Salad with Fresh Mint Oil

crab pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Food and Wine

Pasta salad might seem plain, but you can dress it up any way you like. Make it into a special side dish or light summer lunch by adding lump crab meat.

This recipe is by Mario Batali, so you know it’ll taste gourmet. Fresh herbs work best here, but if you can only get the rosemary, using a dash of dried marjoram will work in a pinch.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh mint, lightly packed

3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

1 can (15 oz.) white beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

1 tsp. minced marjoram

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. lump crabmeat, picked over

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 254

Protein: 19 grams

Carbs: 10 grams

Fat: 16 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Greek Cucumber Noodle Salad

greek pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Hungry Girl

Greek pasta salad can be heavy with olive oil and full-fat feta cheese. Keep everything that adds flavor, and you won’t have to make any sacrifices to create a healthy version.

Since Greek salad already has cucumbers, in this recipe they’re turned into the pasta base. Then add your favorite low-fat dressing, or whisk together a quick Greek yogurt vinaigrette.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup reduced-fat feta, crumbled

1/3 cup light vinaigrette dressing

1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives (or black olives)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 92

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 11 grams

Fat: 4 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Low-Fat Pesto Pasta Salad

low fat pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Wallflower Kitchen

Pesto is a great way to use fresh herbs, and it’s delicious served hot or cold. Yet most pesto is hardly more olive oil than basil. For this vegan pasta salad, start by making an oil-free pesto.

It uses white beans, cashews, and pine nuts to turn fresh basil into a substantial sauce that’s good enough to go on plain pasta.

Serves 2

Ingredients

Salad:

1 1/3 cups fusilli pasta

4 Tbsp. low-fat pesto

Bunch of spinach

Low-Fat Pesto:

3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 can (14 oz.) white beans, drained and rinsed

4 Tbsp. pine nuts, lightly toasted

2 Tbsp. cashews

4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 340

Protein: 10 grams

Carbs: 66 grams

Fat: 4 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Sweet Grape & Tuna Pasta Salad

tuna pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of The Healthy Apple

Take tuna pasta salad in a whole new direction with some inspiration from fresh fruit. This recipe adds orange zest, juice, and red grapes for a hint of sweetness.

Finish it with a creamy Greek yogurt dressing, which has savory-sweet flavor from balsamic vinegar.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 can (5 oz.) albacore tuna, drained

1 cup red grapes

3 Tbsp. non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 tsp. orange zest

3 tsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 cup cooked gluten-free pasta (about 4 oz. dry pasta)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 341

Protein: 26 grams

Carbs: 53 grams

Fat: 3 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Antipasto Pasta Salad

antipasto pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Good Housekeeping

There’s something special about a bowtie pasta salad. Unlike other shapes, farfalle has a wide, flat surface area. And it’s thicker in the middle than at the ends, whereas other pasta tends to be one texture.

That means the bowtie pasta can carry a lot of sauce, as well as other delicious ingredients like prosciutto and mozzarella.

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 oz. farfalle

8 sun-dried tomato halves (not packed in oil)

1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette

1 fresh mozzarella ball (about 4 oz.)

1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes

1 bulb fresh fennel

2 cups baby arugula

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

12 Kalamata olives, pitted

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3 oz. sliced prosciutto

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 448

Protein: 22 grams

Carbs: 53 grams

Fat: 17 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Orzo Pasta Salad with Cranberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette

orzo pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Diethood

One way to liven up any salad is with a delicious dressing. This orzo salad is simple with feta and fresh parsley. But the one-of-a-kind pasta salad dressing is what puts this recipe over the top.

It features a combo of cranberry, pomegranate, and red wine vinegar. So while it’s easy to make, the dressing adds lots of unique flavor.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Salad:

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo

1/2 cup crumbled feta

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

1 cup dried cranberries

Chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Cranberry-Pomegranate Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup cranberry juice

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 451

Protein: 11 grams

Carbs: 61 grams

Fat: 18 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

Bacon & Avocado Pasta Salad with Honey Mustard Chicken

avocado pasta salad recipePicture courtesy of Made for Mums

Pasta salad doesn’t have to be a side dish. Add honey mustard chicken to bulk it up for a whole meal, and the marinade can double as a salad dressing. This recipe can be easily made into a chicken BLT pasta salad by adding lettuce or other fresh greens like baby spinach.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Marinade & Dressing:

4 Tbsp. pure honey

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. paprika

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Chicken Pasta Salad:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz. each)

14 oz. whole-wheat pasta

3 strips bacon

1 avocado, chopped

16 Cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 471

Protein: 26 grams

Carbs: 65 grams

Fat: 13 grams

  GET THE RECIPE

What did you think of these pasta salad recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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