Recently we got a couple of pizzas from one of our go-to local spots, and since there was a decent-size family group on hand to eat, I asked my husband to grab a few sides, too. One of them he snagged was pasta salad.

I was eating one of my favorite pizzas ever and, still, I was hung up on this pasta salad. It was light and refreshing thanks to a zippy vinegar dressing, with some, but not a kitchen-sink amount, of vegetables in the mix. Simple but satisfying. It made for great leftovers, too.

Summer is peak pasta salad season, when cool, packable dishes are especially welcome. They’re ideal for using odds and ends, as well as all the cherry tomatoes, zucchini and other of-the-moment produce you have on hand. Here are some ideas from our archives to help get you started.

Petite Pasta Salad With Corn, Tomatoes and Feta, above. Fresh summer corn and tomatoes get to be the star of this lively dish, with briny feta and lots of herbs playing important supporting roles.


Bacon and Spinach Orzo Salad. Yes, orzo is pasta, so this is a fun way to depart from the more expected options. If you prefer, though, you can use another small pasta shape.


Tortellini Salad With Asparagus and Basil Dressing. Really up the ante on pasta salad when the pasta is stuffed. Here, fresh or frozen cheese tortellini is the foundation of the dish. If local asparagus has come and gone by you, it’s definitely okay to swap in another option. Broccoli would be nice.


Whole Wheat Pasta Salad With Crispy Broccoli. While this recipe was designed with frozen broccoli in mind, you can swap in another frozen or even fresh vegetable of your choice.


Minestrone Pasta Salad. This salad takes its inspiration from the Italian soup. You’ll find zucchini, carrots, green beans, canned beans and salami in the mix.


Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad. There’s lots of green in here, with thyme, pistachios and arugula starring alongside the marquee green beans.


Spanish-Inspired Ham and Pasta Salad With Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette. This recipe takes advantage of leftover or deli ham, canned chickpeas and jarred roasted red peppers for ease of assembly.


Lunch Box Pasta Salad. If you like a no-frills pasta salad, this version made with whole-wheat pasta and loads of vegetables will fit the bill while still reminding you of the deli case classic.

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