Salads for BBQ - Pasta Salad Side Dishes

Salads for BBQ cookouts are a wonderful accompaniment to the main meal ... or they can even be a light meal in themselves, topped with delicious grilled chicken, ham, or fish. Here is a good, basic pasta salad recipe.

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Choosing A Pasta

Use any type you like. Pastas with deeper textures like rotini or bow ties have those little ridges that hold spices and seasonings really well, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Cook pasta just until just barely tender, even a touch undercooked - the oils in the salad dressing will soften the pasta as it chills in the refrigerator. You'll need about 3 cups of cooked pasta for these recipes.

Creamy Dressing Recipe

Works great for macaroni salads! Whisk together -

  • 1.5 cups mayonnaise
  • 1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black or red pepper (whatever your preference)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 4 finely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup of sliced celery
  • 1 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1 cup of chopped red pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup of chopped green onions.

Zesty Dressing

Whisk together -

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar (you can use other types of vinegar if you prefer)
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1.5 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 4 finely chopped green onions
  • Any other chopped veggies you'd like.

Pour the dressing on top of the cooked pasta, and toss to coat. Refrigerator for at least 4 hours, covered, to allow the flavors to blend. Best served chilled. Just before serving, toss the salad again to mix the dressing and pasta together.

These dressings are very versatile so feel free to incorporate your own ideas too. For example, you can add additional veggies or cubes of cheese, or bits of ham to the salads for extra flavor and texture. Crisp veggies add a delicious crunch and lots of color to the salad.

Salads for BBQ meals add flavor, texture, and color to the feast. Have fun and try different pairings whenever you have another barbecue. Pasta salads can be used as either appetizers or side dishes. Check out some easy tips for preparing BBQ salad recipes or browse more side dishes for BBQ.



This website offers tips on how to BBQ as well as some of our favorite barbecue recipes. We barbecue with a charcoal grill in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg. We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!