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Summer's Best Pasta Salads Are Bolder Than Ever

Pasta salad's back on the menu in a big way this summer. Not content with mere side dish status, the best pasta salads are busting out main-dish moves with bold tastes and textures. The only question is, can you handle this much flavor?

Bold Move: Go Clubbing

Chicken Club Pasta Salad

Why do you order a club sandwich? Because you want to cram all those layers of smoky, meaty, cheesy, crunchy, creamy satisfaction into every bite. This salad is all that, and you can make a huge bowlful to share. "A good idea for hot summer nights as a cool dinner dish. My family LOVED it," says mad4nc.

Chicken Club Pasta Salad

Photo by Christina

Bold Move: Hail Caesar

Pepperoni Caesar Pasta Salad

Quick and easy can be super-tasty, too. Creamy Caesar salad dressing amps up the flavor in this 5-ingredient salad that comes together in minutes. Brianna says, "Lots of flavor from the Caesar dressing and pepperoni. Fresh broccoli gives it a nice crunch, making the overall texture of this pasta salad superb."

Pepperoni Caesar Pasta Salad

Photo by AmyN


Related: No more boring Caesar salads with these next-level moves.


Bold Move: It's All Greek

Greek Pasta Salad I

Fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, and sweet bell peppers mix it up with sharp, salty feta cheese, olives, and pepperoni, while a homemade vinaigrette loaded with Mediterranean herbs brings it all together. You'll want to make the salad a day ahead so the flavors can get to know each other better. "The first time I made it was for a block party, and after tasting it, my husband wanted me to make something else to take so he could have this all for himself," says CMACINTYRE.

Greek Pasta Salad I

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Bold Move: Double the Basil

Pesto Pasta Caprese Salad

You get two big hits of basil's pungent green flavor when fresh basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese are enveloped with a zesty basil pesto sauce. "Super tasty, and very healthy," says Alaniwhat. She used gluten-free rotini, and it was a huge hit.

Pesto Pasta Caprese Salad

Photo by Molly


More: You'll love these top-rated pesto pasta salads.


Bold Move: Bacon + Ranch for the Win

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

A generous helping of crispy, smoky bacon is what sets this salad apart from others that just sprinkle it on a bit. Cool and creamy ranch dressing pulls the rest of the ingredients together for a pasta salad that's definitely not for timid taste buds.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Photo by Melissa Goff


More: Check out homemade ranch dressing recipes.


Bold Move: Customize a Classic

Awesome Pasta Salad

This is the pasta salad everyone makes their own. They add this, tweak that, and pretty soon they've created a signature salad their friends beg them to bring. What will you add?

Awesome Pasta Salad

Photo by The Sporadic Cook

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Vanessa Greaves

About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Check out things that make me go yum: foodelicious On Instagram On Twitter @vanessa_greaves