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Cold Pasta Salad for Hot Summer Days

Updated on December 10, 2015
Spiral Noodles are my noodle of choice in this pasta salad! Graphic designed by me, JackieBlock
Spiral Noodles are my noodle of choice in this pasta salad! Graphic designed by me, JackieBlock

Cold Pasta Salads Taste Wonderful on Hot Days!

Summer is the season for barbecues, picnics and potlucks. One of my favorite summer recipes, that is a hit for all these occasions, is Pasta Salad. This is my mom's recipe, with a few changes that I've made over the years. It works equally well as both a side dish for summer cookouts, or as a main dish if you add tuna or chicken breast. Without the added meat this salad is also great to bring to a vegetarian or vegan event as well! I usually make such a large batch for summer cookouts that I can add tuna to it for a second meal the next day. I think this is the best food for hot weather. Be sure to tell us what you think!

Photo by Agalova

This salad is Egg and Dairy Free!

My mom just found out she has both egg and dairy allergies at the beginning of this summer. Many of our family's recipes are so dependent on eggs and milk, but this recipe is both egg-free and dairy-free from the start. It will be a great, familiar comfort dish for her at this weeks family cook-out. That also means that when I bring this dish to a large gathering, I can know that my vegan friends can enjoy it as well. I like to serve dishes that everyone invited can all enjoy!

5 stars from 2 ratings of Summer Pasta Salad

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: This salad make enough for a group.
Cold Pasta Salad
Cold Pasta Salad


  • 2 Boxes Rotini Noodles, (Rainbow or Whole Wheat are my favorites)
  • 3 Bell Peppers, (I like to use Red Orange and Yellow)
  • 1 large Onion, (I like the White or Purple)
  • 2 crowns Broccoli-cut up, (my husband doesn't like the stalks so I use just the tops.)
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil, Extra virgin has the richest flavor, use light if you don't want a strong olive oil taste
  • 1 cup White Vinegar, (other varieties are fine too)
  • 2 T Mrs. Dash Garlic and herb blend, (or your favorite no salt spice blend)
  • 2 tins canned Tuna or Chicken, (if desired)
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, I often use them whole for ease, but they are great sliced as well

Instructions for making this Pasta Salad

  1. First step: Bring the water to a boil for the noodles. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on their package. I like to add the broccoli in with the noodles to save cooking time.
  2. Then, while the noodles and broccoli are cooking, chop up the peppers, onion and tomatoes, if needed.
  3. Drain the broccoli and noodle mixture, and rinse with cold water until the pasta is thoroughly cooled.
  4. Mix the noodles and all of the veggies together with the vinegar, oil and Mrs. Dash or the seasoning blend of your choice. Here is where you can add your canned meat if so desired. If you are making this salad ahead of time, it will easily store in the large 2 gallon sized zip-lock bags in the refrigerator.
  5. Final Step: Add the chilled pasta salad to the serving bowl when you are ready to serve. And, of course, most importantly - Enjoy!


Expirience has shown me that the noodles soak up most of the oil and vinegar overnight, so it is always a good idea to add a little more before serving the salad on the second day.

Garden Poll

Do you use ingredients from your garden when making pasta salad?

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Summer Salad Poll

Whats your favorite?

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Values are approximate

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 4 oz
Calories 180
Calories from Fat54
% Daily Value *
Fat 6 g9%
Carbohydrates 24 g8%
Sugar 8 g
Sodium 180 mg8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

What is your favorite recipe for a hot, sunny day? - Tell us what you think of my recipe, or suggest a new one for us to try!

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Looks delicious.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Cold pasta salad is perfect for a hot summer day. Now I want to make one...yum!

    • Sara2901 profile image

      Sara2901 5 years ago

      I like pasta salads but do not make them very often

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 5 years ago

      Pasta salads are great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I need to make my own pasta salad for a change. I typically take a Cesar box salad and then add Italian dressing to that. It tastes great but I bet homemade would taste better.

    • ae dc profile image

      ae dc 6 years ago

      oh..this recipe is worth trying.. thanks so much!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I love pasta salads. My favorite is macaroni salad ( I use mayonnaise & sour cream in mine) with either shrimp or tuna. In fact, I have a shrimp/mac salad in my fridge right now. I make a big batch and it gives me lunches and/or a dinner all week. It's my favorite summertime dish for hot days.

    • JackieBlock profile image

      Jackie Block 6 years ago from SE Michigan

      @lollyj lm: Give the Mrs. Dash a try. The original blend is good, and they have about a dozen other varieties, too.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 6 years ago from Washington KS

      We have pasta salad often in the summer, but I can't seem to find the right seasoning for them.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      You are so right about the noodles soaking up all the oil and vinegar!

    • themeaparty profile image

      themeaparty 6 years ago

      Have you served this at a party yet? Any good comments? I'd love to try this.

    • costumesngifts profile image

      costumesngifts 6 years ago

      Jamie Oliver's pasta salad recipe is my favorite, but this one sounds really good too!

    • bwet profile image

      bwet 6 years ago

      of course! they are yummy

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Pasta Noodles or Shells, it really doesn't matter to me! I like them both and especially during the Summer Months! ;)

    • profile image

      mcampbell123 6 years ago

      I want one right now lol. I'm new to squidoo and need some likes check out my lens please.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 6 years ago

      This is a nice lens, thank you for sharing this recipe. Congratulations on making Popular Pages - Featured Lenses. Terrific Honor!

    • rallo-smith profile image

      rallo-smith 6 years ago

      Love it!

    • profile image

      hetzer39 6 years ago

      i love pasta salads :)

    • CCTVwebmaster profile image

      CCTVwebmaster 6 years ago

      I love pasta salads! Great for summer parties & BBQs!

    • profile image

      katieross 6 years ago

      Pasta salads always sound good at a cook our or picnic. Great lens for the summer!

    • makemoneyonline5 profile image

      makemoneyonline5 6 years ago

      Love pasta salads, but try to eat them now and then due to my new eating plan :)

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 6 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Yes, I do like pasta salads. Your salad recipe looks very good...I'll have to try it. Thanks for the recipe.

    • profile image

      PoetsCorner 6 years ago

      always:) the best

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Definitely, ESPECIALLY on hot summer days!

    • fifta profile image

      fifta 6 years ago

      i haven't tried pasta salads, but this sure looks yummy, especially for summer days

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      I like a little pasta but not to smother a salad

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It's been around 99* here and the salad sounds great. I miss my lovely wife's cooking! Good job on the lens love.

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this recipe...

    • profile image

      jakealoo 6 years ago

      As a big consumer of carbs, I give this lens a big thumbs up! Haha, great info and sweet layout. My fridge is calling me now :)

    • xriotdotbiz lm profile image

      xriotdotbiz lm 6 years ago

      Many people won't like this, but I do like mixing up the pasta salad from the box. Not very homemade but I like it. Cook the noodles and mix with mayo.

    • profile image

      Tamara14 6 years ago

      Love it in any way :)

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I also have a favorite pasta salad that

      s a bit different than this one, but this one also looks good.

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Can't wait to try this recipe. Great lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      I do love pasta salads! Thanks for the new recipe :)

    • tyrosine profile image

      tyrosine 6 years ago

      sure i do and i love them any time of the day!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Lovely recipe. Congrats on award and now featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Squidoo LOTD Lenses 2. Hugs

    • profile image

      Jolent 6 years ago

      I love cold pasta salads during the summer since they are both filling and refreshing on a hot day.

    • parwatisingari lm profile image

      parwatisingari lm 6 years ago

      Yes, I make it vegetarian, with sprouted beans, and destroy it with crispies.c

    • Morgannafay profile image

      Morgannafay 6 years ago

      Pasta salad always makes me weak in the knees, I do love it with mayo and or bacon crumbles. I know I'm a bad girl! lol

      I'm going to give the summer pasta salad a try though, It sounds so yummy. I think I'll try it with the red onions, or some sweet vadaila if I see it in the store.

    • profile image

      devotedfan 6 years ago

      will try this recipe today, i'll try to respond later

    • Mystico profile image

      Mystico 6 years ago

      Something cool to eat when it's hot outside ... oh, yes, yes, yes! Very nice lens, and recipe looks tasty.

    • Wbisbill LM profile image

      Barbara Isbill 6 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      Love them and thumbs up!

    • profile image

      tinnitusnaturalcures 6 years ago

      Pasta salads are a great way to get my grandchildren to eat their veggies. We all love the pasta salads.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I definitely like pasta salads. Terrific lens!

    • Phoenix2361 profile image

      Phoenix2361 6 years ago

      What a timely lens. Since the weather has gotten warmer, I've been craving pasta salads. They're light, easy to make and doesn't batter the budget.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @lasertek lm: hello!

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      Worth trying recipe. Thanks for the share.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      We love pasta salads, especially with fresh ingredients. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • fivee05 lm profile image

      fivee05 lm 6 years ago

      This is really great. Thanks for sharing.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 6 years ago

      I love pasta salad, but I don't make it often. I live by myself so if I make it I end up eating it for days.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I prefer the vinager based also, mayo dressings feel heavy.

      Congrats on your LOTD

    • Bobbala profile image

      Bobbala 6 years ago

      Love your lens. Thank you!

    • cheech1981 profile image

      cheech1981 6 years ago

      love them when they use a vinaigrette but not such a huge fan of the mayonnaise-based ones. :)

    • profile image

      ScaryScorpion 6 years ago

      Congrats on your LOTD! I love pasta salad!

    • missroxa lm profile image

      missroxa lm 6 years ago

      Honestly, I usually make pasta, never thought of pasta salad, even if I have made pasta with some of the ingredients you mentioned. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I make several varieties of pasta salad and we love each one. This is a new one to add to the menu.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 6 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Congratulations on your LOTD! I love pasta salad and was glad to find a GF pasta that worked ~ I have to give a shout-out to Shaar pasta! Great lens ~ now I'm hungry! B : )

    • accfuller profile image

      accfuller 6 years ago

      Doesn't everybody love pasta salad? My household has an ongoing debate ... is it "Pasta Salad" or "Macaroni Salad" ... anyway, congrats on LOTD!

    • Paperquest5 profile image

      Paperquest5 6 years ago

      Great job on the lens. I love cold pasta salads!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      Love 'em! Like them best when someone else makes them ;-). I've enjoyed your reminder of Summer. Thanks, d

    • Snakesmom profile image

      Snakesmom 6 years ago

      LOVE potato salads (every kind) ~ Great lens!

    • Fran Tollett profile image

      Fran Tollett 6 years ago

      Love pasta salads. They are great with frozen veggies too. Especially when fresh isn't available.

    • beinpulse lm profile image

      beinpulse lm 6 years ago

      I do love pasta salads, and when it gets really warm out I crave cold pasta salads. My family loves a simple tuna, macaroni shell, black olive, dill pickle and white onion pasta salad with mayonnaise dressing. I know that it's basic, but it's beloved!

    • profile image

      jdwdrmr 6 years ago

      Great recipe.....and simple. I use the whole wheat rotini for mine as well. Perfect summer dish.

    • joykennel profile image

      joykennel 6 years ago

      Just finishing one from 2 days ago--got the summer craving and made a huge one. I also like to add marinated artichoke hearts or celery or shredded carrots, just so there will be at least a little something for everyone and they can pick out anything they don't like. One of my recipes has crumbled feta added right before serving--fun for something new. Congrats on LOTD!!!!!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      We love pasta salads! My husband loves for me to add cubed mozzarella cheese and pepperoni to ours. Love your idea of using Mrs. Dash in the dressing - fabulous suggestion! Congratulations on your Lens of the Day!

    • Ribolov LM profile image

      Ribolov LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens, great pictures and a lot of good informations. Thnx for this lens! Njamiiiii! :)

    • Deborah Swain profile image

      Deborah Swain 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      i love combining left over pasta with green salad leaves!

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 6 years ago

      Congratulations on making Lens of the Day! I do love pasta salad

    • profile image

      Jason Sositko 6 years ago

      It's nice to see a brief and to the point lens getting some love, really what else needs to be said about the subject? can have a cook out with out Pasta Salad.

    • emmajowebster profile image

      emmajowebster 6 years ago

      I am so hungry now! I'm going to have to go home and make some even though its not hot!!!

    • profile image

      dividi 6 years ago

      Congratulations Agalova for that great lens! I also love potato salads!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      I really enjoy pasta salad, but don't seem to get around to making it that often. You've given me some new ideas. Thanks!

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 6 years ago

      Pasta is my weakness!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love pasta hot or cold, but in the summer its cold pasta salads.

      Your right on spot.

      Congratulations on LotD! W00t! ~ Blessed! :)

    • IYenForZen profile image

      IYenForZen 6 years ago

      I love pasta salad! I just made one this week in fact!

    • profile image

      BrandonCHFG 6 years ago

      Cold pasta salad is great. I like to use cheese tortellini and zucchini, and for the seasoning/dressing on of the Italian dressing packs that you add oil and vinegar too.

    • profile image

      kristimoore 6 years ago

      I love pasta salads for meals. Now I'm craving for it! lol

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great article, you're off to a great article, hope you keep adding more to this and to help cheer you on ... *blessed by a squid angel* to help ya!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Pasta salad recipes are fun and easy to change up and they're easier to mix the recipe than some entrees are.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 6 years ago

      Pasta Salad is one of my favorite dishes to make in the summer time. Congrats on LOTD.

    • cathywoodosborn profile image

      cathywoodosborn 6 years ago

      I love the simplicity of this lens - pertinent and interesting info, and I like the tip about using the grape tomatoes that don't require chopping.

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 6 years ago

      Yes, especially on warm summer days! This spring day is like summer!

    • Surreymagic profile image

      Surreymagic 6 years ago

      Pasta adds some valuable carbs to salad and is filling, inexpensive and tasty- sepecially with lots of olive oil!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Sounds quite lovely - congrats on LotD, blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 6 years ago

      I think pasta either cold or hot is great but thanks for sharing your recipe. I'll definitely try it. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I tried it once, it was one of the greatest things i ever ate!

    • profile image

      Jake_2525 6 years ago

      Pasta salad is great! I'll have to show my mom some of these. Hey If you'd check out my lens about Awesome Easter Decoration Ideas that would be awesome! Thanks

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 6 years ago

      I love pasta salad, I like it with some mayonnaise and thousand island sauces.

    • Budeni profile image

      Budeni 6 years ago

      Too bad I have no brokkoli right here. I would start cooking it right now if I had. Thank for sharing. :-)

    • gamrslist profile image

      gamrslist 6 years ago

      ye made me hungry

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 6 years ago from Australia

      You have really activated my appetite, so will have to try your pasta recipe and others from the book you suggest.

    • bonusprint lm profile image

      bonusprint lm 6 years ago

      Nice Lens

    • profile image

      kayla_harris 6 years ago

      It looks very delicious! I like pasta salads very much!

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 6 years ago

      Yes just today I was craving shrimp salad!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I love pasta salads.. tuna is amazing or just plain macaroni with mayo :) Blessed!

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 6 years ago

      I love pasta. Pasta salad sounds really good.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 6 years ago from New York

      I love pasta salads. My favorite uses tuna too.

    • profile image

      dilipsvarma 6 years ago



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