Pasta salad is a summer picnic staple. If you go to a summer barbeque and there’s no pasta salad it’s most likely because it’s already been eaten.
If you plan to grill out in the yard or if you’re having a family function, you might wonder what to serve with pasta salad?
There are plenty of options to choose from, ranging from meat to other vegetables. Here we’ll go over 17 picnic-themed side dishes to serve with pasta salad.
17 Side Dishes to Serve with Pasta Salad
If you want to give your pasta salad the perfect pairing partner, we got you covered.
1. Deviled Eggs
Picnic foods should be easy to make and easy to pack. Nothing says easy to make quite like deviled eggs. Try them with your pasta salad.
Deviled eggs are the perfect summer picnic food, and do not take too long to prepare. They’re conveniently bite-sized, so it’s easy to clean up too!
Although pasta salad has the word salad in it, it doesn’t usually contain any leafy greens. To keep your picnic well-rounded, try a side salad.
You can make the salad with summery vegetables, or keep it simple and plain. Try to avoid using the same vegetables as what’s in the pasta salad.
The ultimate picnic food, right next to hot dogs. Hamburgers are easy to handle, which makes them the perfect kind of food to have at a picnic.
Since you’re probably grilling these up in the summertime, try using a sweet Hawaiian roll or salty pretzel bun to serve with the hamburgers.
4. Cheese and Crackers
Cheese trays may be slightly time-consuming to make because you have to cut all the cheese, but it’s the perfect finger food to have at picnics.
It pairs well with almost any meal, and pasta salad is no exception. Try a fiery mango or classic cheddar cheese to pair with your crackers.
5. Corn on The Cob
Corn on the cob can be messy, but you can make it an easy-to-handle cob by cutting your corn in half. The smaller cob fits on plates better.
It pairs great with pasta salad, which is not normally made with corn and so will not be redundant. Plus, corn on the cob is a summer classic.
6. BBQ Chicken
Another classic picnic staple. BBQ chicken adds protein to your pasta salad meal. Barbeque also adds sweetness and warmth that pairs well with pasta salad.
Pasta salad is served cold, so pairing it with a hot side dish makes for a deliciously well-rounded meal. Barbeque chicken is also simple and easy to make on the grill.
7. Garlic Bread
Pasta salad has some crunch to it, but it’s mostly soft pasta and cooked veggies. Adding a side dish that has some crunch will do wonders for your picnic.
Garlic bread pairs great with hot pasta, so why not cold pasta too! Try making it with a hoagie-style bun and cutting it into small, easy-to-grab pieces.
8. Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a great choice for large picnics or get-togethers. You can make it yourself, or order it from your local grocery store.
It makes a good pairing partner to pasta salad as the crunchy breading of the chicken contrasts well with the cold and soft pasta of the salad.
Steak is a backyard grilling classic. There are so many different cuts to choose from and more than a dozen different ways to grill it.
Like most meats, the steak will add some protein to your pasta salad meal. Since there are already vegetables in pasta salad, it makes for a well-rounded meal.
10. Fried Okra
Okra is one of those fruits that everyone thinks is a vegetable, just like tomatoes. Either way, it certainly doesn’t belong in a fruit salad.
Okra can be served fried, and pairs well with pasta salad. They have similar textures, but very differing tastes, which makes them go well together.
Pasta salad is a very colorful, summery dish served cold. Why not increase the colorful summer theme by pairing it with a nice fruit salad?
The best way to pair fruit salad with pasta salad is to make sure the ingredients are very different. Try using cantaloupe, grapes, and watermelon.
Typical picnic bread usually includes some kind of roll or thick Italian bread. Why not change it up by making a large pan of cornbread?
The sweet flavor of the cornbread served hot, will go great with pasta salad. You can cut it into small individual squares or triangles to serve.
13. Hot Dogs
Picnics just aren’t complete without grilled hot dogs and buns. They’re simple to make on the grill and only take about ten minutes to cook.
Grilled hot dogs pair with almost any picnic-type food, including pasta salad. If you’ve already filled up on carbs for the day, try a bun-less dog.
14. Baked Beans
Baked beans are another one of those big-batch food items that can be made for picnics. They are simple to make and delicious to eat!
Pasta salad is usually made with vinegar or oil-based dressing. Because of this, the creamy and slightly sweet sauce of the beans goes great with it.
Zucchini isn’t typically found in pasta salad, so it is safe to serve as a side dish. Typically, at picnics, you see grilled zucchini, but you can also bake it beforehand.
If you’re grilling in the backyard, consider combining it with other veggies to make a shish kabob. Just be sure not to repeat veggies in the pasta salad.
16. Meatball Sub
Meatball subs are an easy meal put together in a big crockpot and served with a thick Italian hoagie bun. Don’t forget the mozzarella cheese!
Meatballs go well with pasta, and meatball subs and pasta salad are no different! The creamy red sauce of meatballs goes great with the vinegar dressing of pasta salad.
17. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Potatoes are a great side to pasta salad and are a classic staple at picnics. If you want a sweeter side with your pasta salad, try sweet potato fries.
Sweet potato fries can take some time to make at home, but you can always buy large frozen bags of them to make things simple.
Whether you are planning a large family get-together or a simple backyard grill session, you can’t skip out on the pasta salad and side dishes.
Try pairing your pasts salad with a protein such as a steak, hamburgers, or hot dogs. Or if you’re looking for a lighter side dish, try zucchini or beans.