What Goes With Pasta Salad: 14 Best Pairings

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We’re all accustomed to familiarity in our salads, so why not make pasta salad a little different? Having a variety of pairings to work with is a great way to elevate any meal. So if you’re wondering what to serve with pasta salad at a dinner party or picnic, I’ve got a delicious list for you!

Table of Contents

What is Pasta Salad?

Pasta salad is a classic Italian dish consisting of pasta, pasta sauces, and a variety of spices. Normally it is served cold, so many can enjoy its ingredients’ freshness. You can serve many dishes alongside pasta salad; the results are exceptional, whether as a side dish or a main course. It’s super easy to create a pasta salad with ingredients that are so versatile that they can pair with the heftiest of meals, leaving you and your guests incredibly satiated.

What Goes Well With Pasta Salad?

Since you’re most likely to serve a pasta salad at picnics and parties, here are some delicious side dish ideas for you to consider serving with cold pasta salad.

  • Baked Beans
  • Fried Chicken
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Fried Okra
  • Grilled Hotdogs
  • Garlic Bread
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Spicy Cashews
  • Meatballs
  • Caprese Skewers
  • Buttered Breadsticks
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Roasted Vegetables

Baked Beans

If you’re planning to host a busy party, then you’ll want to make sure that there are a variety of side dishes available. Aside from pasta salad, baked beans are incredibly delicious and particularly filling, especially during barbecues. Baked beans are brimming with sweet, savory, and smoky flavors, which complement the richness of pasta exceptionally well. Simply flavor your beans with barbecue sauce, onions, peppers, and bacon.

What Goes With Pasta Salad: 14 Best Pairings

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is the ultimate familiar dish to serve alongside any main course. The freshness of the pasta is a total contrast to the tender, juicy deliciousness of fried chicken, which is guaranteed to please everyone at the table. A combination of moist chicken with crispy dough and a wonderful recipe marinated in meat and flour to create perfection.

Deviled Eggs

Rich, creamy deviled eggs make the perfect complementary side dish to your pasta salad recipes. Once heated through, slice the eggs in half, and mash the yolk into a crumble. Add some mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper, then mix well. Sprinkle with paprika for additional flavors, and serve immediately.

Fried Okra

Looking for something crunchy to complement the delicious tenderness of your pasta salad? How about some fried okra? It’ll provide your meal with a nice crunch, offering a brilliant twist to the unsuspecting vegetable. Coat the okra in cornmeal batter, then deep fry till they emerge a wonderful golden color.

Grilled Hotdogs

These delectable grilled hot dogs are another delicious way to incorporate some protein into your meal. Make cuts in the hotdog using a sharp knife, and allow them to marinate before plopping them onto the grill. Grill until they’ve charred to perfection.

What Goes With Pasta Salad: 14 Best Pairings

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is so much more delicious than ordinary plus bread, with a rich buttery layer combined with spices and parsley. Garlic bread is a classic side that can be enjoyed for breakfast or served with any main course on the dinner menu. Buttermilk garlic bread is super simple to make, with fairly easy ingredients.

This side dish is made using bread that has been sliced, seasoned, and dipped in oil or butter. Before baking, the bread is added with some delectable seasonings, such as minced garlic or coriander. This garlic bread is especially delicious, combining the crispiness of the bread, and the delectable aroma of garlic butter, the perfect choice to have with pasta salad.

Corn on the Cob

A side of grilled corn on the cob makes for a familiar side dish that can be prepared quickly in any way you like. You’ll adore the crunch and deliciousness of grilled corn when paired with the creamy pasta salad. You can boil, grill, or microwave this picnic-friendly vegetable, and it won’t disappoint!

Spicy Cashews

These seasoned nuts are incredibly rich and taste incredible when added to tender pasta salad, creating the perfect dish. This side dish is extremely simple to create and is ready in less than 20 minutes. Sauté some cashews in butter and oil for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Spread them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and let them stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Then transfer to a large bowl and season with salt, chili powder, and pepper flakes. Toss generously and store in an airtight container.


Meatballs are a popular choice of side with other salads, including pasta salads, and created the perfect combination with this simple meal. Even if you’re working with leftover meatballs, they’ll manage to create something incredible out of the simplest of dishes. From creating meatballs with tomato sauce, meatball soup, fried meatballs, and more.

Caprese Skewers

Easy to prepare with simple ingredients guaranteed to please a crowd. Made in a wonderful balsamic reduction featuring cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and cheesy mozzarella. A light and scrumptious accompaniment to your pasta salad, imitating the ever-perfect Caprese salad.

What Goes With Pasta Salad: 14 Best Pairings

Buttered Breadsticks

Once you’ve tried these homemade breadsticks, you’ll never opt for the store-bought varieties again. Extremely buttery and golden brown breadsticks that are both pleasing to the eyes and stomach. Super delicious recipes like this require a few ingredients to emerge delectable: All-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter, and milk.

Broccoli Slaw

How about we get rid of the classic coleslaw and introduce this sweet, tangy broccoli slaw? You need broccoli, carrots, cabbage, onion, dried cranberries, almonds, and a delicious coleslaw dressing to tie the slaw together.

Combine mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup for the dressing. You can make the slaw and eat it right away, or allow the ingredients to marinate in the fridge before serving to create a spectacular, flavorful blend.

BBQ Chicken

Chicken BBQ is the perfect accompaniment to have when serving pasta salad at a party. Complimenting the rich tenderness of the pasta with juicy meat that’s exceptionally satisfying. Cooked slowly on the grill and coated in a savory barbecue sauce, turning a simpler meal into perfection.

Roasted Vegetables

If you’re looking for a healthier side to pair with your pasta salad, then a bowl of roasted veggies will do the trick. A side dish with fresh ingredients is the perfect way to enjoy any dish, and roasting vegetables is the best way to like them, adding depth and delicious flavors with incredible contrasting textures.

Simply chop up your choice of veggies, place them on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Then sprinkle some Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper, then toss everything together. Roast the vegetables till they’re gorgeous and tender.

What Goes With Pasta Salad: 14 Best Pairings

Pasta Salad Ingredients

There are many versions of pasta salad, but the basic ingredients are as follows:

  • Pasta
  • Vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Mayonnaise and Oil


Pasta salad is quite an incredible dish to throw together, combining an essential ingredient with a variety of vegetables to create perfection. As you know, pasta comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, so choosing the right-sized pasta for your recipe is very important. Try bow-shaped pasta, or perhaps a spiral-shaped pasta will make your dish taste divine. If you’ve overcooked pasta, this may compromise the overall textures, so keep your eye on the bubbling pot of pasta!


Fresh vegetables are another essential component in this dish. Certain vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, and cauliflower, add wonderful color and freshness to your dish. You can choose any kind of vegetable you like for pasta salads.


A little bit of cheese goes a long way. Cheese is a must when it comes to pasta salads; a little sprinkle here and there creates an unmissable depth that provides unique flavors to your dish.

Some common cheeses used in pasta salads include parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella, feta cheese, and cheddar cheese.

Mayonnaise and Oil

There are some common ingredients used in pasta dishes to tie the ingredients together. Mayonnaise often appears in salads due to its richness and aroma, which is why it’s so great in pasta salads. Additionally, cooking oil helps the pasta with its shine and overall appearance, making this dish incredibly flavourful and delicious.

The Bottom Line

For a home chef, nothing is out of the ordinary when it comes to figuring out what goes with pasta salad for dinner. Whether you intend to save your salads for the main course or plan to serve it up at a backyard dinner party, choose from the list of incredible side dishes for pasta salad to make your already delicious meal phenomenal!


What is a Good Side Dish with Pasta Salad?

Many dishes are deemed perfect for serving alongside pasta salad, including Hamburgers, BBQ chicken, sandwiches, fried chicken, grilled hot dogs, corn on the cob, and fried okra.