what to serve with pasta salad for lunch

Learning what to serve with pasta salad for lunch can make your meals a lot more delicious.

Whether you want to host a BBQ party or you are going on a picnic, you can always include pasta salad on the menu.

But, sometimes, you want to make it a bit more fulfilling, and that is when you can use food that goes with pasta saladSo, what are some of the best options to consider?

You can complement pasta salad with grilled hotdogs, roasted veggies, chili-lime peanuts, spicy cashews, Caprese skewers and much more. 

Pasta Salad Making an Appearance at Every Gathering

the pasta salad at every gathering

Pasta salad is a popular food choice in Italian cuisine. People love it because of its various interesting ingredients, including:

  • Pasta sauces
  • Regular pasta
  • Various spices

You can play around with additional ingredients and serve the dish cold to have a real taste of those fresh ingredients.

Everyone loves pasta salad and it works amazingly well in many situations. Because of its flexible ingredients, it works great all year round.

The best part is that you can use it as a side dish or choose it as your main course.

And the fact that you can make it from scratch in no more than 20 minutes makes it a lot more favorable for situations when you need something quickly.

What to Serve with Pasta Salad for Lunch?

When you pick pasta salad as your main course, you can always make it a lot more appealing by trying some simple sides.

Here are some of the best things to eat with pasta salad. 

Grilled Hotdogs

a grilled hotdogs

Who does not like a hot dog with pasta salad?

Really, it is something that goes well with almost anything you eat, but it is a match made in heaven when you have it with pasta salad.

A hot dog is basically a sandwich with sausage, topped with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and onions. And all those ingredients perfectly complement the taste of pasta salad.

Not only will you be enhancing the appeal of your meal, you will also be making it healthier with a real protein punch. 

Truly, a perfect treat to have with friends and family on cold winter days! 

Roasted Veggies

a roasted veggies

When looking for something delicious yet light, look no further than roasted veggies.

Preparing these veggies won’t be an issue either. All you have to do is take your favorite veggies and cut them up into bite-sized pieces.

Add some pepper, salt, and olive oil to the mix and pop them in the oven.

Your veggies are ready to be devoured in less than 20 minutes. The great thing about these veggies is that you do not need to limit yourself to any number of veggies. 

You can experiment a little and try different veggies to complement the flavor of pasta salad.

In case you are also serving something hot and steamy like chicken noodle soup, you can add roasted veggies as an accompaniment on top. 

Tip: You can try different roasted veggies, but roasted cauliflower florets work amazingly well with roasted potatoes. 

Buttered Breadsticks

a buttered breadsticks

Those crispy breadsticks will always go well with pasta salad, especially when you dip them in a dollop of butter.

It feels great to dip those soft sticks into creamy dressings, but those crispy crusts truly give it a unique flavor profile.

And together with pasta salad, they work amazingly well for lunch.

You will not have to look for another side dish because buttered breadsticks are incredibly satisfying and make for a hearty meal. 

Baked Beans with Bacon

A side of bacon can truly uplift the flavors of your pasta salad, and the combo works perfectly for every occasion.

Baked beans bring a sweet, tangy flavor to the dish, whereas the smokiness of bacon makes you forget about everything else.

Interestingly, you can use it as a side dish with pasta salad, or it can go equally well as an appetizer.

And if you want to make them a bit more fulfilling, you can consider topping them off with eggs.

Tip: Try Caprese skewers with pasta salad to surprise your guests with a lighter fare that goes great for every outdoor party. 

Easy-to-Make Sides to Serve with Pasta Salad

easy sides to prepare

Okay, so you have decided you will serve pasta salad at your next party, but what else can you try that is easy to make but is still quite irresistible?

Here are a couple of options to try: 

Chili-Lime Peanuts

When you know everyone at your party love nuts, why not help them go nuts over these chili-lime peanuts?

All you have to do is boil peanuts in oil and cover them with chili powder.

This different take on nuts is sure to impress everyone.

Here are the steps to make this side dish with ease:

  • Take peanuts and boil them first.
  • Take some olive oil in a bowl and toss peanuts in it.
  • Add some salt as well and mix well.
  • Take another bowl and mix cayenne pepper, flour, and garlic powder.
  • Mix thoroughly while adding water and stop when you make a thick sauce.
  • Take a skillet and heat some oil in it.
  • Now coat boiled peanuts with the spice mixture and transfer to the skillet.
  • Serve! 

Spicy Cashews

a spicy cashews

Just like peanuts, you can also combine pasta salad with spicy cashews.

What helps this dish truly shine is the addition of cayenne paper and chili pepper. 

Having the soft pasta salad with these crunchy nuts will be something your guests may have never tried before.

Here is how to make these spicy cashews at home:

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 400F.
  • Take a saucepan and add chili peppers chopped into small pieces to the pan.
  • Add a tablespoon each of garlic powder and cayenne pepper flakes to it.
  • Also, add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the pan and stir.
  • Remove the pan from heat when you notice any bubbles.
  • Simply set the pan aside and take another bowl to prepare the cashews.
  • Take a cup of raw cashews and put them in four cups of water.
  • Pour it onto a baking sheet and roast for about half an hour at 400F.
  • Once roasted, serve everything with pasta salad to make your meals special.
Tip: Going with grilled corn on the cop is great for someone looking for a side dish requiring minimal effort, time, and skill. 

Side You can Prepare in Advance to Serve with Pasta Salad

sides to prepare before serving pasta salad

Are you planning a picnic or you will be hosting a backyard party soon? Whatever the case, you can always add pasta salad to the list.

The good thing is that in situations like these, you can find many sides that you can prepare in advance.

For instance: 


Pasta salad is delicious, but ultimately, it is starch. So, it is great if you can serve it with some protein, which is sure to make it more versatile.

And that is when you can pair pasta salad with hamburgers!

Hamburgers are easy to prepare, super delicious, and a perfect companion for your pasta salad.

Everyone will love them because a picnic without burgers is always incomplete! 

BBQ Chicken

the chicken bbq

Most people go with beef and bacon when they want a side dish for pasta salad.

But, if that is not what you want on your picnic day, you can go with chicken.

For that extra flair, put your money on barbeque chicken and you won’t be disappointed.

And it is a must-have for a backyard party when you may already be heating the grill. 


Are you looking for something that takes no time to prepare but always tastes exceptional?

This is the time to pair pasta salad with finger sandwiches and you will love the combo.

the sandwiches

The combo of cheese, meat, and soft bread is everyone’s favorite. 

Also, you can try different variations and go with a tomato-cucumber panini, a corned beef sandwich, or a meatball sub.

Everything tastes downright amazing with pasta salad!

Tip: A great side dish for Italian food lovers would be Italian pinwheels that complement pasta salad and taste great. 

Read Next: Finding the Best Pasta Substitute for Diabetics


Figuring out what to serve with pasta salad for lunch can truly transform your backyard party into something exceptional.

Picking the right sides can help enhance the overall appeal of your meals, and thankfully, you have many options to consider.

From something taking less than 20 minutes to prepare to foods you can prepare well ahead of time, the choices are many.

Just consider the type of outing you want to plan and your personal taste to choose the best sides.