Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim Credits: Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim
Planning a picnic or family barbecue anytime soon? Give yourself one less thing to worry about and go for one of our easy pasta salad recipes. It's sure to be a hit!
Pasta salads are great to make ahead, and are absolute tops for large groups. They also take the cake for being an extremely versatile dish – with a host of added ingredients, toppings and dressings, simple pasta salads can go from humble side to star entrée in no time.
We asked Test Kitchen food specialist Amanda Barnier to share some top tips for preparing pasta salads, and why they're a crowd favourite. Here's what she had to share:
Pasta salads: the perfect make-ahead dish
"Pasta salads can easily be prepped in advance and can feed a crowd with little effort," Amanda says. "It can be made in advance and cooled immediately after cooking."
One important tip to remember, she adds, is to "add dressing the day it's being served, because it will quickly absorb the dressing."
Pasta salad favourites
"I like using cheese filled tortellini for a hearty salad. Soba and rice noodles are great with Asian dressings, whole grain and coloured pastas," Amanda says.
How to store pasta salads
"Keep salads well wrapped and refrigerated," she says. "Salad has the same storage life as its ingredients. Seafood is best eaten within 2 days, and chicken (within) 2 to 3 days. If traveling, be sure to store pasta salads in coolers packed with lots of ice."
"Proteins should not be within 4 C and 60 C for longer than a four hour period," she adds.
The long and short of it: best pasta shapes
"Short shapes are best with vinaigrettes and creamy dressings, and chunky ingredients such as chopped vegetables and beans," Amanda says.
"Long pasta shapes are better used with thinly sliced vegetables, proteins, herbs, spices and vinaigrettes."
Tips for making pasta salad
"If making a pasta salad in advance, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well," she advises. "Add dressing just prior to serving. Pasta quickly absorbs liquids; if the dressing is added too soon, the pasta will absorb it."
So whether you prefer chunky pasta salads with a cool, creamy dressing perfect for summer picnics, or entrée-worthy pasta salads with long rice noodles and a tangy vinaigrette, you're sure to find a new favourite with from our collection.
Easy pasta salad recipes:
Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad
A bright vinaigrette makes this pasta salad the ultimate dish to serve at any summer party.
Photography by Joe Kim
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
This salad highlights many fresh flavours of the Mediterranean and is at its best when made with good-quality olive oil.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
The Best Macaroni Salad
This is a great keeper salad and perfect for a picnic or BBQ. Just make sure you pack it with plenty of ice packs to keep it nice and cold, both during transportation and at the table.
Photography by Annabelle Waugh
Chicken, Broccoli and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
Make this pasta salad for the whole family—the kids will love the mild dressing and round bocconcini cheese, while the adults will appreciate it as a light alternative to a sandwich.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
More great pasta salad recipes:
Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
This salad is simple to assemble for a quick family meal.
Warm Spinach and Ham Pasta Salad
Dressed with Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar, this penne pasta salad is a winner topped with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Winter Vegetable Pasta Salad
Cook everything together in one pot for this easy warm salad.
Pea, Pepper and Pasta Salad
This make-ahead salad is perfect for toting to a potluck barbecue or picnic. Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving so the peas stay bright green.
Summer Pasta Salad
Serve this light summery salad with crispy, homemade Parmesan Breadsticks.
Mediterranean Fusilli Salad
Fresh basil, hearty beans, piquant sun-dried tomatoes and al dente pasta make the perfect summer salad.
Warm Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
The dressing lends a taste of summer any time of year. The red peppers provide vitamins A and C and potassium. Quick and easy to make, this salad is perfect to take to a last-minute potluck or picnic.
Grilled Sausage, Pepper and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
This delicious pasta salad is made with tasty Italian sausage and lots of colourful peppers.
Bow-Tie Pasta Salad
This easy, colourful salad has the sunny fresh tastes of Greece.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Using tuna packed in both oil and broth means you'll need less oil in the dressing.
Salmon Pasta Salad
Start with melon wedges to whet your appetite for this quick and light dinner.
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
Grilled market-fresh veggies meet marinated olives and artichokes in this healthy dish made with whole wheat rotini. So chock full with taste and texture, carnivores won't complain about this vegetarian dish.
Party Parmesan Pasta Salad
Try this hearty salad studded with salami, olives, tiny tomatoes, roasted pepper and fresh basil.
Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
This easy tasty pasta salad is loaded with calcium. Omit the banana peppers if your child is not a fan of hot food.
Deli Pasta Salad
Add 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) extra pasta to the pot at dinner the night before to have enough for this lunchtime salad the next day.
Sirloin Steak with Green Bean Pasta Salad
Sirloin steaks paired with green beans and tomatoes make this salad a hearty entrée.
Looking for more great recipes? Try our best potato salad recipes.
Highlights from the royal family's tour of Canada.
Following the royal couple’s 2011 Tour, this visit is their second official tour to Canada, and their first as a family of four. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their children—three-year-old George and one-year-old Charlotte, who will be making her royal visit debut—will have a jam-packed schedule and a chance to meet many Canadians along the way.
The weeklong tour runs from September 24 to October 1 and will kick-off in the west with a focus on British Columbia and Yukon. The itinerary includes stops in Victoria, Vancouver, Bella Bella, Kelowna, and Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, and Whitehorse and Carcross in the Yukon. "They are really looking forward to seeing other parts of this beautiful country," said a spokesman for Kensington Palace.
The Royals have a jam-packed schedule (with approximately 30 events planned) and will engage in a number of events, including a visit to the Great Bear rainforest, sampling British Columbia’s harvest, going fishing sailing a tall ship, along with a focus on a number of environmental and social issues. "The Royal Highnesses will highlight the many Canadians who volunteer or work in obscurity. This Tour, more than any other, features important engagements with Indigenous people," said The Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to welcome the royal family on Saturday in B. C. They will open the tour with a plaque unveiling for the veterans of the Afghanistan conflict.
We will be highlighting our favourite moments from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit. Stay tuned!
DAY 1 - Victoria, B.C.
The royal family arrived in Victoria, B.C. on Saturday, where they were greeted by Justin Trudeau, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her son and B.C. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.
The family stepped off the plane wearing colour-coordinated outfits in white and blue. Kate wore a blue Jenny Packham dress, which was gorgeous, but a bit of a surprise for many who thought she might wear red. But she wasn't without any Canadian elements: she wore a maple leaf brooch on her lapel.
Thousands of Canadian fans gave the royal family a warm welcome outside the Legislative Assembly in Victoria.
"Catherine and I are delighted to be back in Canada," William told the crowd.
"We're so pleased that George and Charlotte could be with us in Canada this time around, beginning their own lifetime of friendship with this wonderful country."
Getty ImagesThe couple were officially welcomed by the Songhees First Nation and the ensuing ceremony included a performance by the Victoria Children's choir, a 21-gun salute and an official inspection of the honour guard.
Next stop? Vancouver on Sunday.
DAY 2 - Vancouver, B.C.
Will and Kate arrived in Vancouver at 11am on Sunday without George and Charlotte, who stayed in Victoria. As Prince William said yesterday during the welcoming ceremony, the royal couple is "very much looking forward to learning about how Canadians are tackling some of the biggest challenges of the day, including the environment, supporting young families, and the mental health of young people."
Their Vancouver itinerary focuses on a number of these issues, including a visit to an outreach program for pregnant women and women with young kids dealing with alcohol and drug issues in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, the welcome centre at the Immigrant Services Society of B.C., meeting young Canadian leaders who are making a difference and speaking about mental health issues that first responders face at the Kitsalano Coast Guard Station.
The couple will return to Victoria at the end of the day.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, always looks camera ready—whether she's hitting the red carpet or travelling the world.
Track Kate Middleton's style file—from her star-studded (and trend-starting) wedding to her latest looks in 2016.
Kate wore a blue, printed Altuzarra dress in September 2016, accessorizing with L. K. Bennett heels and clutch.
On a visit to mental health charity Young Minds UK, Kate wore a scarlett dress by L. K. Bennett.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a favourite, L. K. Bennett, from head to toe. We've even seen this dress on Kate before!
Kate wore this stunning dress by Alexander McQueen to take in Andy Murray's win at Wimbledon in 2016.
At the 2016 Wimbledon tournament, Kate chose a bright yellow dress—a piece she wore to an event in Australia in 2014.
Kate joined in on the shoulder-baring trend, wearing this gorgeous white dress at the Natural History Museum in London.
At the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, Kate wore a poppy on her elegant collared lace dress.
At the Royal Ascot horse racing event in England, Kate chose a crisp, white, lace Dolce and Gabbana number.
To celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday, the duchess wore a beautiful blue coat dress by Catherine Walker.
Kate stunned in this royal blue dress at a SportsAid event in June, 2016.
We love the outdoorsy feeling of Kate's appearance in British Vogue's 100 year anniversary issue.
Here she is in a simple striped top in British Vogue's Centennial issue.
The Duke and Duchess sat on 'Diana's bench' infront of the Taj Mahal, where Princess Diana posed for photos during a 1992 tour. Kate wore a simple frock from Naeem Khan's 2015 Resort collection.
Kate is wearing a traditional Bhutanese look to attend a welcome procession in Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, and to later try archery, the country's national sport. Her "skirt" is actually a half-kira that has been elegantly paired with a Paul and Joe wool cape.
Kate attended the Bihu Festival celebrations in an Anna Sui silk chiffon maxi dress from the designer's fall 2015 collection.
Kate is sporting olive biker trousers from Zara and a ruffled button-down by RM Williams at Kaziranga National Park.
Kate narrowly missed a Marilyn-moment with this white Emilia Wickstead dress.
Kate wore a gorgeous two-piece ensemble by Temperley London in black and white for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration in India.
Kate wore a prinited red maxi dress by Anita Dongre for the royal tour in India.
Kate wore this stunning green Temperley London dress as she continued the royal tour in India.
Kate kicked off the royal India tour with this red, printed number by Alexander McQueen.
Kate wore Indian designer Anita Dongre and tried her hand at cricket while wearing this gorgeous printed midi dress.
Kate kept it simple while she fed elephants at Kaziranga National Park in this Boho-chic Topshop dress. The dress is accented with black embroidery and tassel-tipped ties.
Kate wore one of her go-to designers, Jenny Packham, for her first formal, evening event in India.
This stunning royal blue dress with sheer detailing was a lovely look on the Duchess.
Kate wore an Alexander McQueen coat dress for the christening of Charlotte. The fit and flare style stayed true to Kate's preferred silhouette and the Jane Taylor hat completed the look.
Kate looked glamorous in Jenny Packham as she attended the London premiere of James Bond's Spectre.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore this lovely floral printed Erdem dress in late 2015.
The dress that launched a thousand lace-sleeved copy cats. Catherine married Prince William in a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown fit for a princess.