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What To Serve With Pasta Salad – 48 BEST Side Dishes

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. 

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Nashville hot chicken
Make it Indian-inspired
Tandoori chicken wings
Make it meatless
Spicy vegan gochujang wings


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!).

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Authentic falafel
Bust out the air fryer
Air fried falafel
Another vegan option
Black bean meatless balls

BBQ ribs

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.

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Sticky BBQ ribs
Make it quick
Instant pot BBQ ribs
Make it vegan
BBQ tempeh ribs

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.

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Marinated grilled hotdogs
Make it different
Hot dog burnt ends
Ditch the grill
Bacon-wrapped hotdogs

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.

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Watermelon feta skewers
Change the flavor
Watermelon tajin skewers
Make a salad
Summer melon and prosciutto salad

Salmon pinwheels

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.

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Salmon pinwheels
Make it fun
Buffalo chicken pinwheels
Make it low-carb
Sweet and spicy pork lettuce wraps

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.

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Parmesan asparagus twists
Add a savory flavor
Bacon parmesan asparagus twists
Make it different
Air fryer asparagus fries

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.

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BBQ pulled pork sliders
Make it low-carb
Pulled pork lettuce wraps
Make it meatless
BBQ jackfruit sandwiches

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.

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Maryland crab cakes
Make it crunchy
Fried soft-shell crab
Make it fancy
Baked lobster tails

Blackened shrimp

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.

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Blackened shrimp
Fire up the grill
Cajun shrimp skewers
Change the flavor
Chimichurri shrimp

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.

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White bean salad
More beans
Three bean salad
Skip the beans
Carrot salad

Fish tacos

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.

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Fish tacos
Try another seafood
Spicy shrimp tacos
Ditch the tortilla
Sheet pan mahi fajitas

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.

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Vegetable and halloumi kebabs
Ditch the cheese
Balsamic marinated grilled vegetables
Make it different
Pineapple tofu skewers

Hummus deviled eggs


Getting bored of your typical deviled eggs? Jazz them up by swapping the mayo for hummus.

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.

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Hummus deviled eggs
Change the flavor
Roasted red pepper hummus deviled eggs
Add veggies
Hummus stuffed avocados

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.

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Cowboy baked beans
Make it meat-free
Vegetarian baked beans
Fire up the smoker
Smoked baked beans

London broil

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.

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London broil
Preheat the oven
Baked stuffed flank steak
Make it fancy
Pan-seared ribeye with garlic butter

The best side dishes to serve with pasta salad

  • 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

What To Serve With Pasta Salad

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your pasta salad.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pasta salad side dishes, what to serve with pasta salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 portion
Calories: 147kcal


  • 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!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 147kcal

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