7 Hot Pasta Salads Warming Up Your Weeknights

Often considered to be a cold, portable side dish that’s served at summer potlucks, pasta salad also has a warmer side to it that makes it perfect for heating up weeknight dinners. Italian dressing and chilled ingredients are replaced with roasted vegetables, melted cheese, and warm pasta to create hot salads that will warm you from the inside out. Serve your family a hot and cheesy macaroni salad, warm up with farfalle and shrimp, or beat the biting cold by preparing a warm caprese pasta dish. Thanks to these 7 recipes, you can now enjoy pasta salad year-round!

Source: iStock

1. Warm Macaroni and Mozzarella Salad With Herbs

Fresh parsley and basil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice add a sophisticated element to standard macaroni and cheese. It only takes 25 minutes to prepare Food Network’s recipe, making it a great go-to for evenings when you don’t have much time. It yields 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) macaroni
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain the  macaroni and transfer to a medium serving bowl. Add the basil and parsley and half of the dressing. Stir to combine. Let it sit for 1 minute to cool slightly, then add the mozzarella and the remaining dressing. Serve warm.

Source: iStock

2. Warm Pasta Salad With Roasted Corn and Poblanos

Pan-roasting corn, onions, and pumpkin seeds add rich and complex flavors to this Warm Pasta Salad With Roasted Corn and Poblanos. Gourmet’s recipe via Epicurious yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano chiles
  • 1 fresh jalapeño chile
  • 8 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • ⅓ cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
  • 1 large white onion, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces short pasta, such as gemelli or rotini
  • 1½ cups crumbled queso fresco or ricotta salata cheese
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves

Directions: Lay chiles on their sides on a metal rack set over grates of gas burners set on moderately high. Roast chiles, turning them with tongs, until skins are blackened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer chiles to a bowl, then cover and let steam 10 minutes. Peel poblanos and discard seeds and ribs, then coarsely chop. Peel jalapeño and chop with seeds. Transfer chiles to a large serving bowl and stir in tomatoes and herbs. Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry well-seasoned 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until puffed and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl.

Add half of corn to skillet and dry roast over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to tomato mixture and cook remaining corn in same manner, adding it to tomato mixture. Add onion to skillet and dry roast, turning frequently, until browned but still slightly crisp. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Stir into corn mixture. Cook garlic and cumin in oil in skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir into corn mixture and season vegetables with salt and pepper. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain. Add pasta to corn mixture and toss. Season with salt and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and cheese. Serve and enjoy!

Source: iStock

3. Lemon, Garlic, and Asparagus Warm Caprese Pasta Salad

Allrecipes.com makes sure caprese salad is more than just a summertime starter. When combined with penne pasta, asparagus, warm butter, and shallot, it becomes a hearty dinner salad that will help you combat cold winter weather. The recipe yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mezze penne pasta
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more to taste
  • ½ large shallot, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large grilled chicken breast, sliced thinly and halved (optional)
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, torn

Directions: Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Stir in penne and return to a boil. Cook pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes; drain. Place asparagus in a saucepan, add a little water, and place over medium heat; cover pan and let asparagus steam until bright green and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain.

Heat olive oil with butter and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts; cook and stir shallot in hot oil and butter mixture until it just begins to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir garlic into shallot mixture and cook until shallot and garlic are opaque, 3 more minutes. Stir asparagus and chicken into mixture; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Toss pasta with chicken and vegetables to combine; mix tomato and basil into salad and serve warm.

Source: iStock

4. Warm Pasta Salad With Shrimp

Warm pasta, a tangy dressing, vegetables, and shrimp create Cooking Light’s hot and healthy dinner dish. Warm Pasta Salad With Shrimp tastes just as good chilled, so feel free to refrigerate your leftovers and enjoy them for lunch the following day. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked farfalle
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1½ cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped capers

Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Combine juice, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until done. Stir in spinach, cannellini beans, red onion, and 2 tablespoons capers; toss to combine. Add the pasta and juice mixture to shrimp mixture; toss.

Source: iStock

5. Warm Tomato Pasta Salad

Meaty tomatoes add a burst of fresh flavor to Martha Stewart’s pasta salad. This easy-to-make recipe only requires 15 minutes of prep time and yields 6 servings. If you’d like to to add another homemade element to this dish, you can prepare your own sea shell pasta following Livestrong’s instructions.

Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound pasta shells
  • 5 cups diced beefsteak tomatoes
  • 2 cups diced fresh mozzarella
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Directions: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain. In a large bowl, toss warm pasta with tomatoes, mozzarella, onion, olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Source: iStock

6. Warm Pasta Salad With Roasted Vegetables and Pesto Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette pairs perfectly with fresh basil, roasted vegetables, and pasta. If you’d like to free up your oven, FatFree Vegan Kitchen explains that you can use a toaster oven to roast your vegetables; roast the eggplant and zucchini for about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, and then remove them and roast the peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms for 10 to 15 minutes. The recipe yields 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant (or ½ large), cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 ounces grape tomatoes
  • 16 ounces spiral pasta
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, optional
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
  • ¾ cup fat-free vinaigrette
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange eggplant and zucchini on a nonstick baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle the chopped onion over them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the head of garlic in a corner of the baking sheet and place in the oven. Stir after 15 minutes and add the bell pepper, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Cook until mushrooms have softened and tomatoes are beginning to collapse, about 10 more minutes. Remove from oven, reserve the head of garlic, and place the other vegetables in a very large serving bowl.

While the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and add pasta to vegetables, along with olives and chickpeas, if desired. To make the dressing, place the basil in a food processor. Squeeze out 4 to 6 cloves of roasted garlic and add it to the food processor, along with walnuts and nutritional yeast, if you’re using them. Pulse 6 to 8 times to chop the walnuts. Add the vinaigrette and process until smooth. Add dressing to pasta and vegetables, stir well, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Source: iStock

7. Warm Salmon and Arugula Pasta Salad

Deliver a warm dish to your dinner table using Better Homes and Gardens’ recipe via Food Republic. Lemon zest, arugula, and goat cheese are the perfect complement to the star of this salad, salmon, while pasta, tomatoes, and shallot ensure this dish is hearty enough to serve for supper. It yields 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

Salmon

  • 1 (1½ pound) salmon fillet
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta salad

  • 1 pound linguini fini or other thin pasta
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 (4-ounce) package mild goat cheese, crumbled
  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions: Preheat broiler. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Rinse salmon; pat dry with paper towels. Place salmon skin-side down on baking sheet. In a small bowl combine half of lemon zest, the coriander, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Brush top of salmon with 2 teaspoons oil; rub with lemon mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Broil salmon 4 to 5 inches from heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. Cool salmon slightly. Remove and discard skin. Flake salmon into a large bowl. Add the remaining lemon zest, remaining kosher salt, the pasta, tomatoes, shallot, cheese, arugula, and 3 tablespoons oil to bowl; toss gently to combine. If desired, garnish with additional cheese and season with pepper. Serve immediately.

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