4 Pasta Salad Ideas With Unexpected Ingredients for Parties, Picnics and Potlucks

When summer reaches its peak sizzle — we’re talking short shorts, crop tops and SPF on the daily — you want something for dinner that’s refreshing and light. Sure, you can make a baked dish for dinner, but we’ll bet you a box of popsicles that just ain’t it for summertime! There are also so many fun gatherings that come with this most social of seasons: BBQs, beach hangs, and more!

Whether you’re looking for a no-sweat (see what we did there), simple dinner idea, or you need something to tote along to a potluck, picnic, or other such please-bring-a-dish occasions, pasta salad made with ZENB Pasta made from 100% yellow peas is your BFF. and there are sooooo many ways you can spin it. In fact, we say it’s time to retire the standard mayo-based pasta salad and let your imagination run wild with ingredient possibilities!

Pro-tips to get the best ZENB Pasta experience rinse your pasta with cold water after cooking and plan to serve shortly after mixing up that pasta salad goodness.

Lots of classic flavor combos can be pasta salad-ified, from tacos to tzatziki! Here are four easy-breezy pasta salad ideas to try throughout the summer. And remember, these are just suggested ingredient pairings if you want to amp up one ingredient or another, or throw in another entirely, do you, boo! Think of ZENB Pasta as your canvas with which to create your pasta salad masterpiece. Check out the YouTube videos of each to see how they come together!

Lobster Roll Pasta Salad

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Feeling fancy? Want to treat your friends to a little bit of luxury? For this pasta salad idea, inspired by East Coast lobster roll sandwiches, mix real lobster meat (we support the splurge!), with ZENB Elbow Pasta, celery, and chives in yogurt with lemon for a taste profile that’s truly divine. It’s a perfect balance of high-brow and casual beach vibes, and would be a fabulous addition to a sun-drenched lunch on a dock, with your toes in the cool water.

Buffalo Chicken and Gorgonzola Pasta Salad

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Buffalo sauce — traditionally a tangy blend of hot sauce and butter — gets an upgrade from its humble happy-hour wings roots in this better-for-you pasta salad idea. First, blend hot sauce with low-fat yogurt to taste. Then add shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken, gorgonzola, and green onions to ZENB Penne Pasta and mix it all together for a flavor that’s simultaneously familiar and altogether new. Bring this along to enjoy after a sporty event, like a pick-up game of soccer, or your local adults’ softball league game.

Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

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Garden herbs and fresh fruit are a duo that we’ll never tire of, a poetic pairing that combines juicy sweetness with earthy herbaceousness. Some of our top combos include pineapple and sage, raspberry and mint, and strawberries and basil. It’s these last two that take the spotlight in this elegant little pasta salad idea: Combine ZENB Rotini Pasta, fresh strawbs, feta cheese and fresh basil with bottled or jarred balsamic vinaigrette to taste for just the right pop of acidity. We love this with a glass of rosé after work, or at a picnic, preferably somewhere dotted with pretty wildflowers.

Cucumber Kimchi Pasta Salad 

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Not only is kimchi, a spicy, zesty Korean cabbage-based condiment, so yummy, but it’s also can be gut-friendly. Because it’s fermented, kimchi has lots of probiotics! Plus it provides a major punch of umami. Toss a jar of your favorite kimchi with ZENB Spaghetti, scallions, cucumbers and sesame seeds to taste for a complex melange of flavors and textures.

There are so many more pasta salad ideas (and more!) in the ZENB recipe collection, packed with over 150 plant-fueled, globally inspired dishes to discover. For more kitchen inspiration, check out our blog, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. 

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