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What Goes with Pasta Salad: 25 Delicious Ideas

Want to know what goes with pasta salad? I like to choose sides and desserts that enhance and complement each other. In this case, I typically choose to fill the plates with delicious comfort foods.

There are actually quite a few different dishes you can pair with either a creamy or vinegar-based pasta salad. My family has always liked both, so I alternate for variety.

zesty rotini salad and creamy pasta salad

If you serve a creamy pasta salad, you might want to choose something that balances the creaminess. For a vinegar based pasta salad, a creamy dish might just hit the spot.

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

Most pasta salads are easy to make and can be prepared in advance. They are also versatile and can be eaten as a side dish or main course.

If you want a couple of delicious pasta salad recipes, try either this creamy macaroni salad or this tart and tasty zesty rotini pasta salad.

Both of them are pretty wonderful. In fact, you can even make both and still have time to whip up something else to go with them.

I’ve also added a little tuna, salmon, or ham to my cold pasta salad to make it a main dish. I like to experiment with different ingredients, depending on what mood I’m in and what I have in the fridge or pantry.

What to serve with Pasta Salad as a Main Course

When. you add any type of protein to your pasta salad, it becomes the main course. We do that often at our house.

Then you have a choice of adding more sides. Or simply eat it all by itself. But where’s the fun of that?

Choose one or both of the 2 cold pasta salad recipes shown above and surround them with other delicious dishes with lots of good flavors.

A filling meat along with a vegetable side dish, more salads, some bread, and dessert will bring rave reviews from everyone at the table.

Pasta Salad Add-Ons

I love having a lot of different flavors on my plate, so sometimes I simply provide add-ons for family members and guests to add to the tops of their delicious pasta salad.

It’s fun to provide a lot of interest on the table. For example, you can include colorful vegetables for everyone to choose from. Or you can use colorful rotini in the pasta dish.

Here are some delicious add-ons:

  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Red onion, either chopped or sliced
  • Green onions
  • Bell peppers (green, yellow, or red peppers)
  • Black olives
  • Fresh mozzarella, either shredded, sliced, or cubed
  • Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
  • Cheddar cheese, sliced, cubed, or shredded
  • Romano cheese
  • Fresh tomatoes, sliced or diced
  • Whole juicy cherry tomatoes
  • Other fresh vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, or broccoli
  • Fresh herbs
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • Italian seasoning 
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Crispy bacon
  • Grilled chicken (actually, any grilled protein is good)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Red pepper flakes

More Prepared Dishes to Enjoy with Pasta Salad

In addition to a variety of add-ons, it’s always nice to serve other delicious dishes to go with your pasta salad. Here are some of my family’s most popular options. 

Some of these dishes are traditional meat main dishes, while others are summer salads. I’ve also included some yummy desserts, a great way to finish off any meal.

oven-fried chicken strips

1. Fried Chicken (oven-fried without flour)

I’ve always enjoyed meals that involved both pasta salad and fried chicken. After I learned that I have an intolerance to gluten, I had to come up with a recipe that satisfied my craving. And this is a great option that’s super easy to make!

broiled lemon dill shrimp on a plate with pasta

2. Lemon Dill Shrimp

You’ll flip out over the yumminess of shrimp cooked with lemon and dill! Like everything else I make, it’s quick and easy. But it tastes like you’ve been in the kitchen for hours.

turkey breast that was cooked in a slow cooker

3. Turkey Breast

Ever since I discovered that I could cook my turkey breast in the Crock Pot, that’s my favorite method. It comes out juicy and flavorful! And I don’t have to heat up my oven, which makes it eve better!

plate of barbecue chicken
Barbecued Chicken Drunsticks

4. Barbecued Chicken

I cook barbecued chicken in the air fryer because it always comes out so good! And the bonus is that it’s super easy to clean up afterward. 

Chicken salad in a bowl

5. Chicken Salad

Sometimes I make sandwiches with chicken salad, and other times, I plop a scoop onto a bed of lettuce. It’s really good when you serve it with other salads, including one of my delicious pasta salads. 

plate of stacked hotdogs

6. Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are super popular, so why not offer a variety of them for your guests? These party hot dog recipes from Back to My Southern Roots are fun and a great way to offer everyone plenty of options. Try one or more of these different ways to wow everyone at the table!

plate of chicken tenders wrapped in bacon

7. Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders

I love making these chicken tenders! First of all, you can serve this finger food as either appetizers or the main dish. But most of all, they are absolutely delicious! How many ways can you say, “Yum”?

plate of barbecued baked beef ribs

8. Baked Beef Ribs

Hearty and delicious, these ribs always put smiles on people’s faces! I’ve cooked them on the grill, but baking them in the oven has turned out to be my favorite method. It’s so easy, and they always turn out great!

sliced pork tenderloin
Juicy Pork Tenderloin

9. Pork Tenderloin

There are so many different ways you can cook a pork tenderloin, but this is one of my favorites. It’s easy, and it comes out juicy and flavorful. There’s no need to add any sauce to it when you use this recipe.

salmon casserole on a plate with a salad

10. Salmon Casserole

This budget-friendly family dinner recipe is absolutely delicious! Serve it with a side of pasta salad, or any of your favorite summer salads for a complete meal

Broccoli slaw in a bowl
Broccoli Slaw

11. Broccoli Slaw

This broccoli slaw adds a lot of color, flavor, and crunch to any meal. It’s perfect to go with the creamiest of pasta salad. And it’s always one of the most popular side dishes at any get-together with friends, potluck, or family event. Use fresh ingredients to make this delicious but easy recipe.

salmon macaroni salad on a plate with tomatoes and lettuce

12. Salmon Macaroni Salad

Why not give everyone several pasta salad options? This salmon macaroni salad is packed with protein, vitamins, and so many more nutrients to keep you healthy and happy. 

grilled cheese sandwich on a plate with pickle slices
Grilled Cheese Sandwich

13. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Make some grilled cheese sandwiches in advance and slice them into finger sandwiches. Add some pickles and a few other things that sound good to you, and you have a delicious side dish to go with your pasta salad.

bowl of pimento cheese

14. Homemade Pimento Cheese

Either make sandwiches with pimento cheese filling or offer the pimento cheese in a bowl. Provide a variety of crisp sliced vegetables, crackers, and savory breads for dipping. I prefer a pimento cheese sandwich that’s been cut into squares or rectangles to go along with anything else I’m eating.

sautéed spinach and tomatoes on a plate

15. Sautéed Spinach and Tomatoes

Not only is this side dish good for you, it’s also delicious and different enough to wow others at the table. Even people who don’t typically care for spinach just might ask for seconds of this one.

bowl and plate of balsamic glazed zucchini

16. Balsamic Glazed Zucchini

The intense flavor of this delicious zucchini dish can easily turn this into the most popular dish on the table. It tastes like a very sophisticated food, but it’s super easy to make. It has become one of my absolute favorite foods to serve with anything.

pan of cloud bread

17. Cloud Bread

I’ve never met anyone who can resist this light, fluffy, and absolutely wonderful cloud bread. It’s a great option for anyone who has to avoid gluten because it doesn’t have a speck of flour in it. 

almond flour tortilla and spatula

18. Almond Flour Tortilla

You’ll be blown away by how easy it is to make these almond flour tortillas. And you can have them in place of bread—with butter, dipped in olive oil, with your favorite spread, or all by themselves.

2 pineapple smoothies
Pineapple Smoothie

19. Pineapple Smoothie

If you like tropical flavors, you’ll want to try one of these delicious pineapple smoothies! It’s a yummy treat, and it’s the perfect drink to serve with your favorite meal!

glass of lime smoothie with a squeezed lime wedge on the rim

20. Creamy Lime Smoothie

Tart yet sweet, this creamy lime smoothie will take your taste buds on a delightful journey while quenching your thirst. It’s really good, so make enough for seconds!

peanut butter marshmallow bar on a plate
Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars

21. No Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars

Peanut butter lovers, rejoice! These peanut butter marshmallow bars will send your taste buds into orbit—in the best way ever! They are the perfect ending to any meal, but they’re also a wonderful afternoon snack!

2 plates of scotcheroos

22. Scotcheroos

These yummy scotcheroos are so easy to make you’ll want to have them often. I use my microwave, but you can also use a double boiler if you prefer. They have the best balance of some of your favorite flavors, all in one dessert bar!

plate of chocolate covered pecans
Chocolate Covered Pecans

23. Chocolate Covered Pecans

For those times when you want to nibble on dessert, these yummy chocolate covered pecans are perfect! Since they are a finger food, you can place them in candy dishes or put them in a portable container and take them with you!

plate of T-bone steak

24. T-Bone Steak

This delicious and juicy T-bone steak recipe makes dinner preparation as easy as it gets. You can enjoy the delicious flavor you love without worry, since all of the guesswork has been taken out of the equation. Serve any of side dishes with it, including your favorite pasta salad.

plate of meatloaf

25. Easy Meatloaf

Made without milk, this easy meatloaf recipe is ideal for a family that enjoys the ultimate comfort food. Serve it with a pasta salad, and you’re sure to have happy people sitting around the table.

Perfect Side Dish

Pasta salad is the perfect side dish for so many other foods. Try some of the recipes listed above or come up with your own.

Whether you’re creating a salad bar or serving it alongside your favorite entree, you’ll satisfy even the hungriest people at the table.

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