Pasta salad is a great way to enjoy your favorite Italian flavors without the carbs. It’s effortless, too.
You can even make it ahead of time for an event and save yourself some work on game day. It consists of cooked pasta, vegetables, and a dressing.
It is an excellent dish for any occasion. It’s delicious, and it can be served hot or cold.
But what should you serve with pasta salad? That’s where this blog post comes in handy.
We’ve compiled ten side dishes that are perfect for serving alongside a bowl of pasta salad at your next get-together.
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What to Serve with Pasta Salad? 10 BEST Side Dishes
Although pasta salad is a delicious combo, it can be boring to eat on its own.
By serving a side dish alongside your pasta salad, you increase the variety of flavors that will come into play during each bite and create a new lively conversation topic for guests at your event.
Please list out the top 10 side dishes to serve with Pasta Salad
1 – Roasted Veggies
For a tasty and light side dish, try roasting vegetables.
Cut up your favorite veggies into bite-size pieces and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, olive oil, or a little bit of butter before popping them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 Celsius).
The roasted veggie side dish is versatile – it can be served alongside pasta salad to add different flavors and textures to the meal, added as an accompaniment on top of hot soup such as chicken noodle soup, or even used as a pizza topping.
What are some other great roasted vegetable dishes? Roasted potatoes make a delicious addition that kids will love.
You could also roast cauliflower florets or fresh green beans. What’s your family’s favorite?
2 – Grilled Corn on the Cob
One of the easiest and most popular side dishes is grilled corn on the cob. This dish requires minimal time, effort, or skill to make.
After cleaning off the kernels from a fresh ear of corn with a sharp knife, grill over an open fire for about 15 minutes.
This delicious side dish is an excellent accompaniment to any pasta salad.
It’s got as much protein as meat but more fiber and significantly less fat. It provides vitamin C, potassium, and iron too.
3 – Chili-Lime Peanuts
If you’re looking for a delicious, different take on nuts, these Chili-Lime Peanuts are for you.
Boiled peanuts that have been tossed in oil and then covered with chili powder.
After the spices have cooked down to form an outer coating of flavor, lime juice is drizzled over the top before serving.
You can easily make this appetizer recipe at home – boil up your favorite type of peanut (from raw or roasted) and follow the steps below:
- Toss boiled peanuts in olive oil until they’re well coated. Add some salt if desired as well.
- Mix flour, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl to create a spice mixture. Slowly add water while whisking until it creates a thick sauce.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add peanuts, tossing them to coat well with the spice mixture. Add chopped fresh cilantro before serving if desired.
This dish is usually served before a meal or during the holidays, but it can also be used as an appetizer. It’s sure to please even picky eaters.
4 – Spicy Cashews
Another hot and spicy side dish for pasta salad is these spicy cashews. Chili peppers and cayenne pepper add a nice kick to the nuts that coat them in spices.
The crunchy nuts contrast to the soft pasta salad and can be eaten as an appetizer on their own.
To make the recipe:
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Add a can of chili peppers, drained and chopped into small pieces, as well as one tablespoon of each cayenne pepper flakes and garlic powder to two tablespoons butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir until they start to bubble, then remove from heat and set aside.
In another bowl, mix one cup of raw cashews with about four cups of water or enough so that it’s completely submerged.
Pour this mixture onto an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet (to make cleanup easier) and roast for 25 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit while occasionally stirring until roasted evenly browned.
Serve alongside pasta salad for added crunch.
5 – Buttered Breadsticks
Who doesn’t love a deliciously crispy breadstick, especially when dipped in a little bit of butter?
Mixing up the regions with an Italian side dish is always ideal. Buttered breadsticks are one of our favorite additions to this hearty meal.
The soft end of each stick is excellent for dipping into creamy dressings, while their slightly crispy crusts can be broken up in chunks or crunched as you enjoy your meal.
6 – Caprese Skewers
Caprese Skewers are a great side dish if you’re looking to delight your guests with some lighter fare.
These skewers, made from fresh mozzarella and sweet cherry tomatoes, can be prepared in advance to not interfere with the main course’s preparation time.
It takes only a few minutes to assemble ingredients onto wooden or metal skewers and set them out on the table.
Moreover, they look so elegant and are a fantastic addition to any summertime meal.
You can also substitute the cherry tomatoes with beefsteak or any other variety of tomatoes for a richer flavor.
7 – Broccoli Slaw with Pecans and Cranberries
If none of the other suggestions are appealing, you can go with broccoli slaw.
It is a healthy side dish that will surely leave your friends and family satisfied.
The broccoli slaw with pecans and cranberries offers an excellent crunchy texture, while the tanginess of the dressing matches well with pasta salad.
The crunchy texture of the vegetables makes it perfect for serving as an appetizer, side dish, or main meal.
It’s quick and easy, plus it has a lot of healthy ingredients that will give your body the nutrients you need to power through an active lifestyle.
8 – Roasted Red Potatoes
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
So if you’re looking for a guilt-free side dish, these roasted red potatoes are the way to go.
They’re easy, inexpensive, delicious, and help you fill up on healthy whole foods.
My favorite way to prepare is by roasting them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit on a cookie sheet sprinkled with thyme or rosemary, letting them cook until browned, and then cutting the potatoes into large chunks.
This will allow their natural sugars to caramelize and become crispy.
Then, serve them on their own or alongside your favorite pasta salad recipe for lunch or dinner.
9 – Baked Beans with Bacon
Who doesn’t love a side of bacon with their pasta salad?
The smoky taste of bacon combined with baked beans’ sweet and tangy flavor is a match made in heaven.
This dish can be served on its own as an appetizer, or it can accompany the main course like pasta salad for lunch.
You might also want to keep this recipe handy if you’re having people over for brunch because it’s just great when topped off with eggs.
Not only do they taste great, but they are easy to make and budget-friendly too.
10 – Kiwi Fruit Slices
The final side dish to serve with pasta salad is kiwi fruit slices.
This dish combines two delicious flavors into one tasty side – sweet and tart, fresh green apple taste of the juicy kiwi fruit slice mixed with the refreshing, slightly sour flavor of a thinly sliced lemon.
The kiwi is one of the healthiest fruits in existence, containing an abundance of potassium used by cells throughout our body as energy.
In addition, kiwis are naturally sweet, so you don’t need much sugar in your sauce to make them taste fantastic.
So if you’re looking for something new at your summer get-togethers, then try out these addictive little guys; they’ll make everyone happy while contributing some beneficial nutrients too.
Pasta salads are a great option for potlucks and parties.
They’re also perfect when you want to make something that’s both gluten-free and vegetarian.
This article has given you ten side dishes, but don’t be afraid to get creative.
And if you need help coming up with a menu idea or just some inspiration for what types of recipes might work well as sides for your next Italian feast, we’ve got plenty more ideas in our blog archives.
So have fun picking out which one sounds best, and let us know how it goes.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
- Roasted Veggies
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Chili-Lime Peanuts
- Spicy Cashews
- Buttered Breadsticks
- Caprese Skewers
- Broccoli Slaw with Pecans and Cranberries
- Roasted Red Potatoes
- Baked Beans with Bacon
- Kiwi Fruit Slices
- Choose your favorite recipe from the list of options.
- Organize all required ingredients and prepare a delicious meal in 30 minutes or less!
For the most part, pasta salad will last between 4 to 7 days if you store it correctly. Always use sealed containers or freezer-quality storage bags. (You can also freeze it for up to three months - you can read more on freezing pasta salad in the section below.)What do Italians eat with pasta? ›
Italians take great pride in their pasta, and like risotto, it is often served as a standalone dish without any additional side dishes such as salad or potato chips. As a main course, pasta is hearty enough to satisfy even the most ravenous appetites.What are the three most popular pasta dishes? ›
The most famous pasta dishes are: Spaghetti Bolognaise. Lasagne. Fettuccine Alfredo.Should you rinse pasta when making pasta salad? ›
The starch in the water is what helps the sauce adhere to your pasta. The only time you should ever rinse your pasta is when you are going to use it in a cold dish like a pasta salad or when you are not going to use it immediately. In those cases, rinsing the pasta helps to stop the cooking process.Why is pasta salad better the next day? ›
The pasta, vegetables, and cheeses get time to absorb the dressing and take on additional flavor. They absorb the seasoning from the dressing, ensuring every bite is as flavorful as possible. The second time you dress it should be right before you serve the salad.What makes pasta so unhealthy? ›
Pasta Is High in Carbs
Refined pasta, in particular, is higher in carbs and lower in fiber than whole-grain pasta. Additionally, simple carbs like refined pasta are digested very quickly, leading to increased hunger and a higher risk of overeating ( 8 ).
Yes! I actually recommend making this 8 to 12 hours before you plan to enjoy it so the flavors continue to build. Just refrigerate in an airtight container. Give it a good stir before serving so the dressing doesn't stay sitting in the bottom of your bowl.Can I eat 4 day old pasta salad? ›
Pasta Salad Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary
Pasta salad lasts for 3-5 days in the fridge. Dairy products like cheese and milk can spoil quickly, so it's best to avoid them if you want your pasta salad to last. Once you've made your pasta salad, it's best to eat it within a few days.
Yes, you can freeze pasta salad. Simply place it in a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you're ready to eat it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then enjoy.When creating a salad what 5 factors should you consider? ›
There are five elements to a perfect salad: greens, sweetness, creaminess, crunchiness, and dressing.
- Not using the well method to mix your pasta. ...
- Using the wrong type of flour. ...
- Using too many egg whites. ...
- Not using the correct dry-to-wet ingredient ratio. ...
- Not adding semolina. ...
- Under-kneading your pasta dough.