Summer parties, barbecues, and picnics are never complete without a bowl of refreshing pasta salad. The delightful combination of cold pasta, crisp veggies, savory meats, and zesty dressings makes it a timeless classic that never fails to please. But how can you elevate your pasta salad experience and create a truly unforgettable meal? By serving it with the perfect sides!
To ensure everyone has enough to eat, it’s important to pair your pasta salad with sides that are picnic-friendly, easy to prep, and easy to serve. Let’s explore some exciting options that will complement your pasta salad and tantalize your taste buds.
Fried Chicken: A Crispy Delight
Crispy fried chicken is a match made in heaven with creamy pasta salad. With the chicken as the main protein, you can afford to be more generous with the pasta portion.
Hot Dogs: A Summer Classic
Hot dogs on the grill are a summer favorite for all ages. While all-beef hot dogs are a popular choice, you can also opt for traditional or turkey dogs. For a twist, try BBQ-glazed smoked sausages.
Hamburgers: The Ultimate Crowd-Pleaser
Since we’re talking about the grill, hamburgers are another fantastic option. Provide a variety of burger toppings to allow everyone to customize their own masterpiece.
Pulled Pork: Smoky and Succulent
Indulge in the rich flavors of pulled pork! Whether you make it on the smoker or in a slow cooker, dress it with your favorite BBQ sauce for a picnic to remember.
Sandwiches: Bite-Sized Delights
Finger sandwiches are a convenient and delicious make-ahead option. Choose from meat and cheese, chicken salad, pimento cheese, caprese sandwiches with mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes, or cucumber with herbed cream cheese. The possibilities are endless!
Roll Ups: Perfectly Portable
Roll ups, also known as pinwheels, are another excellent make-ahead side dish. Roast beef and spicy mustard pinwheels are a personal favorite, but ham and cheese or turkey options are equally popular.
Deviled Eggs: Classic and Creamy
No picnic is complete without deviled eggs. These rich and creamy appetizers are guaranteed to be gobbled up in a flash!
Baked Beans or Calico Beans: Hearty and Flavorful
Baked beans are a beloved summer staple. The rich, smoky flavor perfectly complements the cool and smooth pasta salad. For an extra filling meal, upgrade to calico beans made with ground beef and bacon.
Corn on the Cob: A Crunchy Contrast
Whether boiled or grilled, corn on the cob pairs wonderfully with pasta salad, especially if your salad already includes a protein. The crisp crunch of corn provides a delightful contrast to the soft and creamy pasta.
Chicken Wings: Fiery and Flavorful
Grab your favorite BBQ sauce or seasoning rub and serve up some mouthwatering chicken wings. The cool pasta salad will help balance the heat if you choose to serve them with a spicy hot sauce.
Ribs: Smoky Sensation
Smoking ribs is a surefire way to impress a crowd. Unlike larger cuts of meat like Boston Butts or brisket, ribs take less time to smoke and always hit the spot.
Crudités: Fresh and Vibrant
Chop up vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or peppers and serve them with a tasty dip for a delightful finger food appetizer.
Egg Salad: Creamy and Comforting
Similar to hard-boiled eggs, egg salad is an ideal picnic dish. Enjoy it on its own with a fork or as a filling in soft rolls for delicious egg salad sandwiches.
Steak: A Grilled Delicacy
Just like hamburgers or hot dogs, a nicely grilled steak is an excellent option to pair with pasta salad.
Fruit: A Sweet Finale
Combine the savory pasta salad with a touch of sweetness by adding some delectable fruits. Sliced watermelon, fruit salad, pineapple spears, or simple sliced apples and grapes can provide a delightful contrast.
Now that you have a variety of mouthwatering sides to accompany your pasta salad, let’s take a look at some ingredients you can incorporate to customize your own perfect pasta salad recipe:
- Ham cubes
- Feta cheese
- Cubed cheddar or mozzarella cheese
- Chopped bell peppers
- Chopped red onion
- Olive oil & red wine vinegar
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Store-bought vinaigrette
- Shaved Parmesan cheese
- Italian salad dressing
With these amazing suggestions for sides and tantalizing mix-ins, your pasta salad will become the star of your next gathering. So set the table, invite your friends and family, and get ready to enjoy a truly memorable meal. Don’t forget to visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill to discover more culinary delights!