What To Serve With Pasta Salad – 31 Recipes

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Pasta salad is one of the best dishes for any occasion! Not only is it easy to make and personalize with your favorite ingredients, but it adds a beautiful splash of color to your table and turns any entree into a complete meal. Here are some of our all-time favorite recipes to serve with cold pasta salad.

Chicken tenders, ribs, baked beans, and cheeseburger.


Summer festivities are meant to have not only great company, but also great food!

Cold pasta salad is a staple for our family during the summer, whether served on its own or as a delicious side dish to a savory main dish or entree.

This list has an easy recipe for every skill level, and every one of them will pair perfectly with pasta salad to make a complete meal. All of them are made with simple ingredients and are fantastic for folks of all ages.

Main Dishes To Go With Pasta Salad

There are so many great main dishes that pair perfectly with pasta salad. Chicken, pork, burgers, and so many more.

1. Hot Dogs

The best way to make hot dogs is in the air fryer. You’ll get juicy hot dogs with delicious flavor in just a few minutes, along with perfectly even toasted buns. For best results, we recommend cutting slits in the hot dogs before cooking so that they don’t burst. Top with your favorite condiments and enjoy!

2. Grilled Chicken

Top juicy grilled chicken with bacon, jalapeños, and melted Southwest cheese to enjoy loads of savory flavor in every bite. This tasty chicken recipe is perfectly cheesy and is a great main dish to pull out for summer cookouts.

3. BBQ Chicken

This easy air fryer chicken recipe has tons of bold flavor! BBQ chicken features a delicious seasoning blend made with only five ingredients: paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. For best results, brush on the BBQ sauce 1-2 minutes before the cooking time is over to allow the sauce to caramelize.

4. Chicken Tenders

Baked chicken tenders take less than 30 minutes to make and are so easy to prepare with simple seasonings. These delicious tenders can be enjoyed on their own or inside of a sandwich, or chop them up and add to cold pasta salad.

5. Garlic Bread

A classic side that everyone will love is garlic bread. You can make the best garlic bread in the air fryer, either from scratch or by heating pre-made frozen bread. The delicious garlic herb butter will melt into the bread while it toasts, resulting in crispy, buttery perfection.

6. Hamburgers

Skip the drive-through line and make your own hamburgers at home! Juicy hamburgers are so easy to make, thanks to the help of the air fryer. You only need a few ingredients to load these patties with flavor: salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce.

7. Salmon

Flaky, tender, and tasty, oven-baked salmon is a main dish that is sure to satisfy. Flavored simply with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon, this recipe requires minimal ingredients and takes only a few minutes to prepare. Add a scoop of your favorite pasta salad on the side to make it a complete meal!

8. Ribs

Seasoned with a simple rub and covered in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, these tender crockpot ribs will practically melt in your mouth. This easy recipe takes 8 hours to cook on the lowest setting, making it a great choice for busy weeknight meals. Just set it and forget it!

9. Buffalo Chicken Sliders

A delicious main dish that is perfect for any party is buffalo ranch chicken sliders. These tasty sliders are packed with flavor in every bite and are so creamy and melty thanks to the added cheese and ranch dressing. If you brush the rolls with butter before baking, they will turn out beautiful and golden!

10. Meatloaf

Lipton onion soup mix is the secret ingredient that gives this meatloaf its unique savory flavor. We love this recipe because it is so simple to make, as well as easy to personalize with different additions such as bacon. Serve this dish with a side of cold pasta salad, potatoes, or roasted green veggies.

11. Texas Toast Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes are hearty and comforting, and best of all, they only take twenty minutes to prepare from start to finish. These open face sloppy joes are made with crispy garlic toast and topped with melted cheese for extra flavor. The combination of tender ground beef, buttery toast, and sweet and savory sauce is unmatched.

12. Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

One of the easiest but tastiest recipes on this list is air fryer grilled cheese. Start by spreading butter or mayonnaise on one side of each piece of bread, then add your favorite cheese — shredded or sliced. Swiss, American, mozzarella, and provolone are all a great choice.

13. Fried Shrimp

Air fried shrimp is one of the best treats! Cook frozen popcorn shrimp in the air fryer in just 10 minutes for crispy, golden bite-sized pieces. While these fried shrimp bites are so flavorful on their own, they will taste even better with dipping sauce. Enjoy with cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, or with fresh lemon juice.

14. Stuffed Sausage

Three ingredients and 30 minutes are all you need to make this amazing stuffed sausage. Use a knife to cut halfway through uncooked sausages, then stuff them with mozzarella sticks. Spread your favorite marinara sauce in a baking dish, lay the sausages on top, and bake until melted and bubbling.

15. Pork Tenderloin

Tender pork tastes incredible with cold pasta salad and is easy to make in the oven in just half an hour. This pork tenderloin recipe gets its delicious flavor from garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground mustard, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. For the juiciest results, let the pork sit for about five minutes before you slice it.

16. Chicken Wings

Baked to perfection, these crispy chicken wings are the perfect main dish for any occasion. Butter is the key ingredient in this recipe — it not only helps the skin get nice and crispy, but also gives the wings a rich flavor. To ensure maximum crispiness, always pat the wings dry with a paper towel before seasoning them.

17. Turkey Roll Ups

Turkey roll ups are not only beautiful but also so easy to make! These savory pinwheel sandwiches are loaded with deli meat, cheese, and delicious sun-dried tomato cream cheese spread. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare these roll ups, and you can personalize them with any of your favorite sandwich toppings and condiments.

18. Meatballs

The crockpot makes it so easy to prepare a huge batch of frozen meatballs. All you need is a bag of frozen meatballs and your favorite jarred sauce. This recipe will be ready in 4-6 hours on low heat, but if you’re short on time, you can also cook it in 2-3 hours on high heat. 

19. Ham

Savory ham is a great choice all year long –– not just for the holiday season! This ham recipe provides all the tips you’ll need for cooking your own at home, whether fresh, frozen, bone-in, or boneless. Adding different spices or a glaze to your ham will make it even more flavorful and help the edges caramelize beautifully.

20. Salmon Salad

Canned salmon salad is an easy recipe that only takes a few minutes to prepare. This simple dish is made with fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, and simple seasonings that give it plenty of flavor. We love that this meal is tasty, light, and refreshing! Serve it with cold pasta salad or use it as a sandwich filling.

21. Steak

Thin sizzle steaks have a delicious flavor and are easy to cook quickly on busy nights. These thin-cut steaks are typically budget-friendly sirloin or top round cuts. Pair these steaks with side dish or two, or slice and add to sandwiches or wraps for an on-the-go complete meal.

22. Chicken Salad

This copycat Arby’s chicken salad tastes just as good as the original from the restaurant! Made with grilled chicken, grapes, apples, celery, pecans, mayonnaise, and lemon juice, this chicken salad is perfectly creamy with a little bit of a crunch in every bite. It’s sure to be a hit at summer cookouts!

23. Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Buffalo chicken wraps are packed with flavor from the combination of chicken, zesty buffalo sauce, creamy ranch, and crunchy vegetables. You can make these wraps in just 10 minutes, making them perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

24. Corn Dogs

Air fried corn dogs are crispy and golden on the outside but have a juicy, perfectly cooked hot dog on the inside. The air fryer is the best way to cook corn dogs because of how easy it is and how incredible the texture turns out! Preheating the air fryer is optional but will help the corn dogs cook even faster.

25. Fish Sticks

Ready in under 10 minutes, frozen fish sticks make a tasty meal and are super easy to cook in the air fryer. Be sure to shake or flip them halfway through the cooking time, then sprinkle with salt or Old Bay seasoning before serving. 

26. Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Here’s a simple chicken leg recipe that you can make in the oven with just a few ingredients. Coat the chicken skin with olive oil to help the seasoning stick and ensure it gets nice and crispy while baking. Chicken drumsticks will taste delicious with rice, potatoes, or cold pasta salad.

Other Sides To Go With Pasta Salad

A few of our other favorite pasta salad side dishes.

27. Roasted Vegetables

Add some color to your plate with these beautiful roasted vegetables! Air fryer vegetables are healthy, tasty, and easy to make in just a few minutes. You can personalize this delicious side dish with any vegetables that you love, but it’s a good idea to use veggies that have a similar cooking time. 

28. House Salad

A classic house salad is always a great choice to serve with cold pasta salad or any of your other favorite dishes. This green salad is packed with fresh vegetables, crunchy croutons, and your dressing of choice. It can also easily be customized to include other toppings that you love including cheese, meat, or nuts!

29. Baked Beans

One of the best sides to serve at summer cookouts is cowboy baked beans. Made with ground beef, onions, and brown sugar, these beans have a unique and delicious flavor that sets them apart from most recipes for baked beans. These beans are the perfect balance between savory and sweet.

30. Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is a fun way to satisfy any sweet tooth! This easy fruit salad uses a rainbow of different fruits, but you can personalize the recipe to include any of your favorites.

31. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Ready in just 20 minutes, this delicious side dish looks fancy but is actually so simple to make in the air fryer! The brown sugar and butter glaze adds the perfect amount of sweetness to complement the salty flavor of the bacon and the savory green veggies.

Let me know what other pasta salad sides you enjoy in the comments below.

More salad recipes


Thank you for visiting Food Lovin’ Family! With 3 kids I know it can be hard getting food on the table. Here you will find easy and delicious recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

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