These Healthy Pasta Salads Have *All* the Crunch and Flavor

healthy pasta salad recipes
17 Pasta Salads That Are Good for YouWill Dickey

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When the weather warms up, there's only one dish on our minds: pasta salad. It's the ultimate summer potluck side and one of the best pasta recipes for serving at a backyard cookout. But if you're trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, pasta isn't always the first thing that comes to mind—especially the pasta salads that are loaded with a heavy mayo-dressing. Luckily, we’ve got a solution for that: healthy pasta salad recipes. (Yes, they do exist!)

This list of healthy pasta salads is summer eating done right. Whether you opt for a lightened up creamy pasta salad made with Greek yogurt dressing or veggie-packed pasta salad made with a vinegar-base, there's something for everyone. There are tons of options that pack in the protein, with tuna, chicken, and even chickpeas. Plus, all of these pasta salads can be made with whole-wheat noodles, gluten-free pasta, or alternative pastas, like chickpea pasta or lentil pasta. And, of course, you don’t want to forget that fresh, healthy vegetables can turn any pasta salad into a nutritional powerhouse, as is the case with Ree Drummond's kale pasta salad. "A simply delicious pasta salad with the goodness of kale," she says. So go ahead and pick your favorite—then, serve it as a BBQ side dish or for any healthy dinner menu.

Tuna Pasta Salad

Protein is the key to keeping you feeling full for longer and the tuna in this pasta salad is a great source for it! It's also loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health. To make this salad even lighter, just olive oil mayonnaise, or substitute half of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.

Get the Tuna Pasta Salad recipe.

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tuna pasta salad
Will Dickey

Spicy Veggie Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is a celebration of veggies with fresh corn, baby bell peppers, scallions, tomatoes, and lots of herbs. It'll add a pop of color and spice to your table.

Get Ree's Spicy Veggie Pasta Salad recipe.

veggie pasta salad
Ryan Liebe

Chicken Pasta Salad

The dressing for this creamy pasta salad is made with more yogurt than mayo so it has that added benefit of protein and good probiotics. It's also packed with chicken, almonds, grapes, and celery so it's hearty enough to be a meal on its own.

Get the Chicken Pasta Salad recipe.

chicken pasta salad
Caitlin Bensel

Caprese Pasta Salad

Instead of a creamy dressing, this pasta salad opts for a vinegar-based dressing that's light and flavorful. You can easily swap out the pasta for any whole-grain noodle or top it off with grilled chicken for added protein.

Get the Caprese Pasta Salad recipe.

caprese pasta salad
Caitlin Bensel

Greek Pasta Salad

There's nothing boring about this pasta salad! It's light and herbaceous with plenty of fresh veggies, briny olives, fragrant herbs, and creamy feta.

Get the Greek Pasta Salad recipe.

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greek pasta salad
Will Dickey

Couscous Salad

If you're looking to really keep things airy, this couscous salad is the way to go! The grain-like pasta cooks up so light and fluffy, but it still has lots of fiber to keep you full. Plus, the pomegranate seeds add an extra boost of antioxidants!

Get the Couscous Salad recipe.

couscous salad
Caitlin Bensel

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This orzo pasta salad is light and fresh thanks to the tangy, lemony dressing. The chickpeas are a great source of protein (especially for vegetarians), but you can also top it off with grilled shrimp.

Get the Mediterranean Orzo Salad recipe.

mediterranean orzo salad
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Summer Zucchini Noodle Pasta Salad

Zucchini noodles are a great alternative to pasta when you're trying to cut down on carbs. Just be sure to add in lots of flavor with your mix-ins, like smoky grilled corn, blueberries, and fresh basil.

Get the Summer Zucchini Noodle Pasta Salad recipe at Food Faith Fitness.

cold summer zucchini noodle pasta salad
Food Faith Fitness

Italian Pasta Salad

This pasta salad isn't shy about adding flavorful mix-ins, like veggies, olives, herbs, and cheese. It's also made with a red wine vinegar and pesto dressing so you know it's going to have plenty of flavor.

Get the Italian Pasta Salad recipe.

italian pasta salad
Will Dickey

Kale Pasta Salad

Packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta-carotene—it's no wonder kale is considered a nutritional powerhouse! You'll also get plenty of fiber with this dish.

Get Ree's Kale Pasta Salad recipe.

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kale pasta salad
The Pioneer Woman

Shrimp Pasta Salad

This is a lightened-up spin on a Southern favorite that's made with whole-wheat macaroni, shrimp, peas, and fresh herbs. It pairs perfectly with the bright lemon flavor in the creamy Greek yogurt dressing.

Get the Shrimp Pasta Salad recipe at Well Plated by Erin.

shrimp pasta salad
Well Plated by Erin

Vegan Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

This pasta salad uses a pantry staple for the salad dressing: sun-dried tomatoes! It's an easy way to add a burst of flavor along with the healthy spinach, veggies, and olives.

Get the Vegan Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad recipe at Baker by Nature.

vegan spinach and sun dried tomato pasta salad
Baker by Nature

Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad

You only need 10 minutes to whip up this no-cook pasta salad! The "noodles" are made from fresh zucchini so it's gluten-free friendly, too.

Get the Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad recipe at Marisa Moore.

pesto zucchini noodle salad
Marisa Moore

Deviled Egg Pasta Salad

Two potluck favorites join forces in this fun cookout side dish. There's a lot of protein thanks to the hard boiled eggs and greek yogurt in the dressing. And the dijon, garlic, and smoked paprika give it plenty of flavor.

Get the Deviled Egg Pasta Salad recipe at Food Faith Fitness.

deviled egg pasta salad
Food Faith Fitness

Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad

This recipe is perfect for anyone who loves a creamy pasta salad, but is trying to limit their mayo intake. The dressing is blended with fresh herbs, garlic, lemon juice, and avocado for that ultra creamy texture.

Get the Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad recipe at Minimalist Baker.

avocado pesto pasta salad

Spinach Orzo Salad

This is a pasta salad that would make Popeye proud! The spinach is a good source of iron and vitamins and the lemony basil dressing is fresh and bright.

Get the Spinach Orzo Salad recipe at The Modern Proper.

spinach orzo salad
The Modern Proper

Green Goddess Tortellini Salad

This tortellini salad is incredibly versatile. You can use any combination of veggies that are in season and spinach-filled tortellini for added nutrients.

Get the Green Goddess Tortellini Salad recipe at Cookie and Kate.

green goddess pasta salad
Cookie and Kate

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