7 Ways to Up Your Pasta Salad Game

As our calendars start to fill up with plans for picnics, potlucks and backyard barbecues, it’s safe to say that we’re going to be seeing a lot of pasta salads. The danger of such a staple side dish though is that “safe” can quickly become “boring.” Don’t let pasta salad after pasta salad blur together this season. Take a break from your standard mayonnaise-laced fare and give these 7 recipes a try.

Tuscan Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Grill, meet vegetables. Radicchio, fennel and bell peppers take a turn on the grill to add a crisp-tender texture and charred flavor to a dish simply seasoned with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.

Tomato Feta Pasta Salad

Punch up the flavor in your pasta salad with a double helping of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped up for the salad – along with olives, fresh tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese – and mixed into a savory dressing, with red wine vinegar and capers, for Ina Garten’s 5-star recipe.

Pasta Salad With Steak, Bell Pepper, Green Beans and Bacon

With bacon and steak in the mix, this creamy pasta salad edges towards main dish-worthy levels of satisfaction. Bright green beans and bell peppers help to add crunch, color and lightness.

BLT Pasta Salad

After seeing BLT work its magic in a pasta skillet, macaroni and cheese and a lobster roll, we’re not that surprised that these classic flavors work just as well in a pasta salad.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This Mediterranean-inspired dish features refreshing herbs and the bright, salty flavors of olives, feta cheese and pepperoncini peppers.

7-Layer Pasta Salad

Easy to assemble and impressively stacked, this 5-star recipe has a little bit of everything, including deli ham, cheddar cheese, avocado and broccoli.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Bobby Flay adds some Southwestern flair to his pasta salad with corn, cilantro, chipotle pepper, tomatillos and grilled peppers.

This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!