When it comes to summer grilling, there are a few dishes that always have a place at the table. Pasta salad is one of them. Despite the fact that most pasta salads aren't something we actually want to eat -- they're an unfortunate mixture of too much mayo and a bowl of overdone macaroni -- we still dig in every time. We still crave it, associate it with summer and never turn it down, no matter how unappetizing it may look.

So what's going on here? Why are we settling for a mediocre staple when pasta salad done right can be so good? We think it's high time people took a step back and put some thought and effort into their pasta salad. This familiar side is begging for a makeover and we think we owe it to everyone to listen. Fortunately, it doesn't require too much creativity to assemble a much better pasta salad than the mayonnaise-drenched ones you're used to. With so many kinds of pasta noodles and the bounty of vegetables summer has laid at our feet, the way forward for you is practically bursting with possibilities; the hardest part isn't choosing what ingredients to use for your makeover, but which ones not use.

Let's take back pasta salad, guys. Here are 29 recipes to help get you started.


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  • Chopped Cashew Chicken Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/08/cashew-chicken-chopped-salad-with-chili-dusted-mango/" target="_blank">Chopped Cashew Chicken Salad recipe</a> from How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Lychee, Vermicelli Rice Noodles And Edamame Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.deliciouseveryday.com/lychee-vermicelli-edamame-salad/" target="_blank">Lychee, Vermicelli Rice Noodles and Edamame Salad recipe</a> from Delicious Everyday</strong>

  • Honey Grilled Watermelon Caprese Salads

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/07/honey-grilled-watermelon-caprese-salads/" target="_blank">Honey Grilled Watermelon Caprese Salads recipe</a> from How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Heirloom Tomato And Chorizo Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.theclevercarrot.com/2013/08/heirloom-tomato-chorizo-salad/" target="_blank">Heirloom Tomato and Chorizo Salad recipe</a> from The Clever Carrot</strong>

  • Salmon Salad With Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.annies-eats.com/2014/03/24/salmon-salad-with-honey-mustard-vinaigrette/" target="_blank">Salmon Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette recipe</a> from Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Roasted Moroccan Carrot Salad With Chickpeas

    <strong>Get the<a href="http://www.deliciouseveryday.com/moroccan-carrot-salad/" target="_blank"> Roasted Moroccan Carrot Salad with Chickpeas recipe</a> from Delicious Everyday</strong>

  • BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2014/06/bbq-chicken-chopped-salad-with-grilled-garlic-croutons/" target="_blank">BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad recipe</a> from How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Summer Berry Spinach Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodiecrush.com/2013/08/summer-berry-spinach-salad/" target="_blank">Summer Berry Spinach Salad recipe</a> from Foodie Crush</strong>

  • Grilled Corn And Pasilla Pepper Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodiecrush.com/2012/08/grilled-corn-pasilla-pepper-salad-recipe/" target="_blank">Grilled Corn and Pasilla Pepper Salad recipe</a> from Foodie Crush</strong>

  • No-Cook Mediterranean Chicken Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.theclevercarrot.com/2013/06/no-cook-mediterranean-chicken-salad-2/" target="_blank">No-Cook Mediterranean Chicken Salad recipe</a> from The Clever Carrot</strong>

  • Chickpea Panzanella

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.theclevercarrot.com/2012/08/chickpea-panzanella/" target="_blank">Chickpea Panzanella recipe</a> from The Clever Carrot</strong>

  • Quinoa And Mango Salad With Lemony-Ginger Dressing

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/17492-quinoa-and-mango-salad-with-lemony-ginger-dressing" target="_blank">Quinoa and Mango Salad with Lemony-Ginger Dressing recipe</a> from jenniebgood via Food52</strong>

  • Grilled Salmon And Vegetable Orzo Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.thisgalcooks.com/2014/06/05/grilled-salmon-vegetable-orzo-salad/" target="_blank">Grilled Salmon and Vegetable Orzo Salad recipe</a> from This Gal Cooks</strong>

  • Pickled Strawberry And Roasted Beet Salad On Ricotta

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodiecrush.com/2012/08/pickled-strawberry-roasted-beet-salad/" target="_blank">Pickled Strawberry and Roasted Beet Salad on Ricotta recipe</a> from Foodie Crush</strong>