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10 easy pasta salads for a perfect summer meal

Whether it's for a barbecue party or a quick weeknight meal, a pasta salad always hits the spot.
Pasta salads are versatile and perfect for any summer evening.
Pasta salads are versatile and perfect for any summer evening.Nathan Congleton/TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Delicious pasta salads have certainly stood the test of time as the ideal warm-weather side dish, but they're also perfect for a standalone dinner, or a leftover lunch.

Since pasta can effortlessly host a myriad of ingredients from cheeses to veggies and proteins, it's a perfect vessel for any palate. It can also be transformed with different dressings and is always easy to make-ahead and serve to family, friends and, well, whoever happens to stop by on a summery night.

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Grilled veggies add a naturally smoky touch to this classic pasta salad served in a tangy vinaigrette. Chef Matt Abdoo's mom originally created this recipe and he recalls her making a big batch to dish up for as many dinners or lunches as possible. Sounds like a great meal-prep plan!

Icebox Pasta Salad

This recipe uses everything in the icebox. If you have red onion, a little piece of squash or zucchini, berries, peaches, apples or one random tomato, just throw it in there. This is also amazing for lunch boxes the next day and is delicious eaten at room temperature.

Adding tuna to pasta in a zippy vinaigrette is a great way to make this salad shine as an entrée. The recipe uses fresh herbs and red onion, which balance out all of the flavors in the best way.

Spring Pasta Salad with Shrimp

Elizabeth Heiskell makes a seafood version of this classic salad that feels light and has all the flavors of spring. It also comes dressed in a homemade vinaigrette that can be doubled, saved and used for salads all week long.

TODAY's Dylan Dreyer shared her mom's go-to pasta salad that has only 5 ingredients! With some good olive oil and freshly chopped tomatoes, this summery salad is elevated when made with twirly cavatappi. And for Dylan, the dish is pure nostalgia.

In honor of Kathie Lee Gifford's love for crab, chef Ryan Scott created this simple summer dish of fusilli pasta with cherry tomatoes, haricots vert, summer squash, capers, tarragon, parsley and a charred lemon-Dijon mustard vinaigrette. To finish the dish, Scott gently mixes in sweet lump crabmeat.

Giada's Crispy Orzo Salad

This antipasti salad uses orzo as a topping, rather than a base, but a pasta roundup wouldn't be complete without a dish from celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis.

Al's Orzo Pasta Salad

With no mayo, this simple, healthy pasta salad from TODAY's Al Roker is perfect for eating at room temperature or to take with you to picnics or road trips. The addition of refreshing mint gives the dish a little something extra.

Pasta Salad with Peas and Summer Beans

This cilantro-packed salad from Martha Stewart pairs well with grilled chicken or tuna. It's equally delicious with mint, parsley or a combination of other fine herbs to complement the citrusy dressing.

Using store-bought cheese tortellini in pasta salad is a great way to add tons of flavor with ease. Here, chef Ryan Scott adds roasted peppers, nicoise olives, chopped salami, crumbled feta and provolone cheese. The finishing touch is his delicious chickpea vinaigrette. Tortellini in 20? Sign us up!