If you’re wondering what to serve with your pasta salad, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 48 of the most popular side dishes for pasta salad.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with pasta salad are BBQ ribs, Nashville hot chicken, steak, hot dogs, crab cakes, or pulled pork sliders. For vegetarian-friendly options, try falafel or grilled vegetable skewers. You can also serve other classic barbecue sides like baked beans or deviled eggs.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Nashville hot chicken
True to its name this crispy fried chicken has a fiery hot kick, thanks to the spice rub, spiced breading, and the Nashville hot sauce.
I love it alongside a cold and creamy pasta salad to balance out the heat.
Psst… want a milder flavor? Skip the hot sauce to reduce the spice level.
Why we love this recipe: everyone will be asking for seconds of this chicken.
Jazz up your pasta salad with a couple of falafels.
This classic Middle Eastern dish is made with chickpeas, and herbs and spices like parsley, cilantro, cayenne pepper, and cumin.
The falafels become deliciously crisp on the outside once you fry them, but keep a soft inside.
Pro-tip: for best results, chill your dough for at least an hour before shaping.
Why we love this recipe: they’re perfect for meal prep (and vegan!).
Pasta salads are a staple at cookouts and barbecue parties, so this list wouldn’t be complete without some BBQ ribs.
The meat is smothered with a homemade sweet and savory sauce that turns into a sticky delight once it hits the grill.
You’ll need to plan in advance if you want to make these because it takes almost 4 hours. But it’ll be worth it once you sink your teeth into the tender meat!
Why we love this recipe: you won’t have any leftovers to deal with.
Marinated grilled hotdogs
If you haven’t tried marinating your hotdogs, you’re missing out big time.
Like any other meat, a good marinade will leave you with extra juicy, extra flavorful hotdogs.
This recipe uses a simple chili mustard marinade, which brings a slight spicy note to the table.
Why we love this recipe: it transforms plain, boring hotdogs into a tasty treat.
Watermelon feta skewers
These watermelon skewers are great during the summer months.
The cucumber and watermelon cubes are super hydrating, the basil brings a pop of freshness, and the cheese adds a salty kick.
They’re the perfect fresher in between bites of pasta salad.
Psst… don’t like basil? Use mint leaves instead.
Why we love this recipe: these skewers are a feast for the eyes and taste buds.
Need another dish to complete your picnic spread?
You can’t go wrong with these smoked salmon pinwheels – they’re a breeze to make and really handy to eat.
Psst… fill your pinwheels with other ingredients like avocado or sweet pepper strips to make them more substantial.
Why we love this recipe: they’ll be loved by kids and adults.
Parmesan asparagus twists
These twists are made by wrapping asparagus spears in strips of puff pastry and then sprinkling them with parmesan cheese.
As the asparagus becomes crisp-tender, the puff pastry and parmesan cheese crisp up nicely, leaving you with a gorgeous golden crust.
I like serving these twists as a “breadstick” option alongside a fresh pasta salad.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a great way to sneak more veggies into your meals.
BBQ pulled pork sliders
Tangy pasta salads are fantastic with sandwiches and burgers, especially with these pulled pork sliders.
They’re loaded with pulled pork, bacon, and cheese – sounds fantastic, right?
And this recipe goes even further by brushing the buns with a sweet and garlicky butter glaze.
Why we love this recipe: it’s ideal if you’re serving a crowd.
Maryland crab cakes
This recipe is a must-try if you’re like me and hate crab cakes stuffed with fillers.
It uses a mixture of shredded and fresh crab.
Not only is this economical, but the shredded crab also acts as a binder, so you won’t need to use as much filler – win-win!
Psst… don’t forget the remoulade for dipping.
Why we love this recipe: they’re restaurant-worthy.
Take some inspiration from Cajun cuisine and make juicy blackened shrimp to add into your pasta salad.
The star ingredient in this recipe is the seasoning – it gives the shrimp an appetizing dark crust and a spicy kick.
You can buy the seasoning blend pre-made, but you can also make it yourself with common spices like cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder.
Why we love this recipe: it’s simple but packs a flavorful punch.
White bean salad
Why not serve a medley of salads?
Beans are an underrated ingredient. They’re cheap, packed with nutrients, and will fill everyone up.
They don’t need a lot of work to taste amazing either, just mix in a tasty salad dressing and then let the beans marinate for around an hour so all the flavors can soak in.
Why we love this recipe: it only needs 5 minutes of prep time.
A platter of fish tacos is the ultimate accompaniment to a Tex-Mex pasta salad.
You can customize the toppings but don’t skip the lime crema – the taco’s won’t be the same without it!
Not a fan of fish? Chicken tacos would be delicious too.
Why we love this recipe: it boasts a near-perfect rating (4.99 stars) out of 1044 votes.
Vegetable and halloumi kebabs
Add a fun element to your barbecue spread with these halloumi kebabs.
Halloumi doesn’t melt when you grill it. Instead, it gets creamier, and it even squeaks when you chew it!
Grilling also brings out the sweetness in the vegetables, making them a perfect partner for your salty halloumi.
Why we love this recipe: guests can mix and match what they want on the skewers.
Hummus deviled eggs
This humus will add a garlicky, umami flavor to the eggs.
Plus, its creaminess will help offset the heat from the dijon mustard.
Pro tip: you should try avocado deviled eggs too.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a fun party food.
Cowboy baked beans
Baked beans and mayo-based pasta salads are both traditional side dishes for barbecued meat, and luckily they work really well together too.
These baked beans’ sweet and savory flavors are an excellent contrast to your cool and creamy pasta salad.
Think this recipe is too meaty? Just halve the amount of beef and bacon required.
Why we love this recipe: it’s easily customizable to suit your preferences.
London broil has a reputation for being a tougher cut of meat, but all it needs is a few hours to marinate.
The acids in the marinade help break down the meat’s protein, making it oh-so-tender,
Enjoy this marinated London broil alongside your pasta salad for a fancy dinner that won’t break the bank.
Why we love this recipe: you can guarantee no one will leave the table hungry.
The best side dishes to serve with pasta salad
- Nashville hot chicken
- BBQ ribs
- Marinated grilled hotdogs
- Watermelon feta skewers
- Salmon pinwheels
- Parmesan asparagus twists
- BBQ pulled pork sliders
- Maryland crab cakes
- Blackened shrimp
- White bean salad
- Fish tacos
- Vegetable and halloumi kebabs
- Hummus deviled eggs
- Cowboy baked beans
- London broil
What To Serve With Pasta Salad
- 1 portion pasta salad
- Prepare your pasta salad according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: nashville hot chicken, falafel, bbq ribs, marinated grilled hotdogs, watermelon feta skewers, salmon pinwheels, parmesan asparagus twists, bbq pulled pork sliders, Maryland crab cakes, blackened shrimp, white bean salad, fish tacos, vegetable and halloumi kebabs, hummus deviled eggs, cowboy baked beans, London broil.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!