Sensational pasta salad recipes for spring and summer parties

Pasta salad is one of the first things to disappear at a party or potluck: It's filling and easy to eat, and it's hard to mess up. If you want to make your pasta salad stand out, check out these 8 irresistible recipes—one for (nearly) every kind of eater you're likely to meet.

Lemon and poppy seed pasta salad with chicken

Lemon and poppy seed salad with chicken

For carnivores: This pasta salad has it all. Grapes, strawberries, pecans and feta add sweet and salty intrigue, and juicy chopped chicken makes it a complete meal.

Warm pasta salad with tuna, olives and capers 

Warm pasta salad with tuna, olives and capers The Whinery /

For pescatarians: Tuna-lovers will devour this Mediterranean-style pasta salad, made with Italian tuna packed in olive oil (the tastiest kind) and punched up with briny olives and capers. 

Caprese pasta salad 

Caprese pasta salad

For vegetarians: Deconstruct a caprese salad and toss it with fusilli, and you've got this ingeniously simple winner. A few smart techniques will make it extra-delicious: Sauté the cherry tomatoes in olive oil first, and use only the freshest mozzarella balls and basil sprigs.

Soba noodle salad with rainbow vegetables and sesame dressing

Soba noodle salad with rainbow vegetables

For vegans: This robust (and dairy-free) soba and kale salad is all about the dressing, a tangy-sweet mix of toasted sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, tamari and honey.

Classic shrimp macaroni salad 

Classic shrimp macaroni salad

For omnivores: Loaded with shrimp, eggs and shell-shaped pasta, this ultra-satisfying salad is a keeper. The mayo-based dressing (lighter than it sounds) adds creamy texture, and pickles and celery bring in the crunch factor. 

Sweet grape and pasta salad

Sweet grape and pasta salad

For gluten-avoiding guests: Any kind of gluten-free pasta works in this recipe; just toss it with grapes, Greek yogurt, orange zest, orange juice and olive oil and watch it vanish. 

Summer macaroni salad with lemon-thyme dressing

Summer macaroni salad with lemon-thyme dressing

For kids: This pasta salad is a no-brainer for the little ones, loaded as it is with macaroni, green peas and ham (well, pancetta). But the adults will love it too, thanks to the lemon-thyme dressing; plus, it's easy to put together in no time for all those impromptu picnics this spring and summer. 

Spring soba bowl with miso-chive dressing 

Spring soba bowl with miso-chive sauce

For everyone—vegans, gluten-free eaters, kids and anyone else who loves pasta salad: The buckwheat soba noodles in this recipe combine beautifully with fava beans, peas, strawberries, mint and a miso-chive dressing to make a dynamic salad that meat-eaters won't be able to resist, either.