Trying to figure out what to serve with pasta salad is a problem many hosts face. If you’re serving pasta salad at a family barbeque or picnic, you know it will be the first dish to disappear. So, you must have plenty of sides to keep your guests happy.
Pasta salad is a dish that typically contains pasta, vegetables, and a dressing. While pasta salad is most often cold, making a warm pasta salad with the right ingredients is possible. The vegetables used in pasta salad are typically chopped into bite-sized pieces and can be raw or cooked.
Because it’s an incredibly versatile dish, pasta salad can deliver many different flavors and textures. However, common pasta salad ingredients include tomatoes, onions, olives, peppers, and cheese.
The dressing is usually an acidic vinegar-based Italian dressing. But creamy dressings, such as Ranch or Caesar sauce, can also be used. Pasta salad can be served as a side dish or main course. And is often served at picnics, potlucks, and barbeques.
What To Serve With Pasta Salad: 10 Amazing Side Dishes
That picnic luncheon with your friends is just around the corner. And you know your trusty pasta salad will be on the menu. Now you need to decide what to serve with pasta salad to ensure your guests get the hearty meal they deserve.
We’ve put our top 10 recommendations together to help you determine what to serve with pasta salad. Here they are:
1. Barbeque Chicken
Barbeque chicken is the perfect choice when deciding what to serve with pasta salad. The bold flavors of the barbeque sauce complement the fresh, light flavors of the pasta salad. And, if you have a creamy dressing on the pasta salad, it helps to balance out the spice of the barbeque chicken.
When it comes to texture, these two dishes work well together. The tender chicken and moreish noodles provide a nice contrast to the crunchy vegetables in the salad. For best results, allow your barbeque chicken to come to room temperature before serving.
2. Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs may not be the first thing that pops to mind when wondering what to serve with pasta salad. But they make for a great side dish.
The creamy texture of the eggs pairs perfectly with the density of the pasta. And the zesty flavor of the deviled egg yolk brings balance to the richness of the pasta salad. Not to mention that deviled eggs add a touch of protein to the dish, making it more filling and satisfying.
3. Caprese Skewers
Perhaps a more refreshing side is the answer when asking: What to serve with pasta salad? The bright, fresh flavors of the tomatoes and mozzarella complement the creamy dressing and hearty pasta. And the smoothness of the mozzarella is also a nice contrast to the crunchy vegetables in the pasta salad.
Because both dishes can be served at room temperature, they are ideal for picnics and summer barbecues. For best results, assemble the skewers shortly before serving.
4. Meatball Subs
The classic meatball sub is a delicious combination of savory meatballs, zesty marinara sauce, and cheesy goodness on soft bread. The creamy dressing and fresh veggies in the pasta salad balance out the richness of the meatballs and cheese. And the variety of textures makes for a delightful meal.
When serving meatball subs at an outdoor event, keep them warm in a slow cooker or chafing dish. Then set out the bread and toppings so guests can build their own sandwiches.
5. Grilled Hotdogs
When it comes to summertime eating, few things are more enjoyable than a grilled hot dog. But why are grilled hot dogs such a great option when determining what to serve with pasta salad?
Part of the reason has to do with the contrast in textures. The smooth, creamy pasta salad is a perfect foil for the crisp, charred hot dog. But the flavors are also complementary, with the salty, smoky sausage paired perfectly with the tangy dressing and fresh vegetables in the pasta salad. The result is a dish that is both satisfying and refreshing.
6. Grilled Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob and pasta salad are two of the most popular dishes to serve at picnics and barbecues. They’re easy to make, can be served either hot or cold, and pair very well together.
The sweetness of the corn contrasts with the acidity of the tomatoes in the pasta salad. While the creamy dressing provides a counterpoint to the crunchy corn kernels. And the soft pasta holds its own against the firmness of the grilled corn.
7. Flame-Grilled Beef Burgers
There are a few reasons why flame-grilled beef burgers are the perfect option when choosing what to serve with pasta salad. For one, the rich, savory flavor of the beef pairs perfectly with the creamy, tangy sauce of the pasta salad. And the crunchy vegetables in the pasta salad also provide a nice contrast to the tender beef.
Top your flame-grilled beef burger patties with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles for some added freshness and texture.
8. Cheesy Garlic Bread
Cheesy garlic bread is the answer if you’re looking for something filling when wondering what to serve with pasta salad.
The rich, creamy flavor of the cheese pairs well with the tanginess of the dressing in the pasta salad. And the crunchy texture of the bread’s crust contrasts with the softer texture of the pasta. The garlic itself also complements the flavors of the pasta, tomatoes, olives, and dressing. Cheesy garlic bread is best served warm.
9. Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaican jerk chicken is a flavorful and spicy dish that pairs well with pasta salad. And it’s an ideal option when exploring what to serve with pasta salad. This is primarily if you’re serving it at a picnic or barbeque, as it can be served cold or straight off the grill.
The spiciness of the jerk chicken is offset by the creaminess of the pasta salad. At the same time, the vegetables and cheese in the pasta salad provide a balance of flavor. And the acidity of the tomatoes in the pasta salad is the perfect counter for the rich chicken.
When most people think of pasta salad, they envision a light and refreshing dish made with fusilli pasta, fresh salad vegetables, and a creamy dressing. However, adding cornbread to the mix gives you a completely different flavor profile.
The rich and savory flavors of the cornbread provide the perfect contrast to the cool, creamy pasta salad. And the soft texture of the bread marries well with the creaminess of the dressing. When serving, cut your cornbread into squares, so they’re easier to hold.
There are many different side dishes to choose from when deciding what to serve with pasta salad. Perhaps you’re looking for something classic like grilled hot dogs or hamburgers. Or maybe you want to try something a little more exotic, like Jamaican jerk chicken. Either way, our list of the 10 amazing sides for pasta salad has something for everyone.