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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

Check out our collection of Pasta Salad Recipes.


Vanessa Greaves

About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Find me as foodelicious on Allrecipes and vanny.gee on Instagram (but only if you don't mind cat pics and cocktails).