Pasta is an absolute classic side dish. When it comes to pasta, I can’t think of anything that goes better with the perfect BBQ.
I mean, who doesn’t love pasta and meat?
There are so many delicious and diverse pasta side dishes out there, I could have easily made a whole list! But instead, I’m going to give you 11 suggestions.
So what’re you waiting for? Let’s dig in!
Why Consider Serving Pasta Side Dishes for A BBQ?
A BBQ is one of the most fun meals you can make.
It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends and, at the same time, you get to grill some meat.
While grilling meats such as ribs, brisket, steak, or even chicken is the main event, many people also opt to serve sides.
And since everyone loves pasta, why not try making one of these dishes as a side dish?
Pasta dishes are great for summer barbecues and can be made in large batches to help serve a crowd.
Plus, they’re great for parties because they can be served as a first course or the main course.
In fact, pasta dishes are often considered the perfect side dish because they work well with most meals.
Therefore, when you serve a pasta dish as a side dish, the meal becomes much more interesting.
11 Pasta Side Dishes for BBQ
As the temperatures rise, we all want to kick back, eat some great food, and have fun with friends. And if you love the flavors of barbeque, you may have a few guests who want to indulge in the food as much as you do.
When the weather is warm, I’m all about grilled foods. I love to cook outdoors and throw on a big feast for my family and friends. This time of year, I like to make up batches of these side dishes, and store them in the freezer, so we can pull one out when we want to have a BBQ.
Here are 11 of my favorite pasta side dishes for BBQ gatherings:
1. Peanut and Raisin Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are ideal for those long summer days when you’re looking for something fresh and light to serve alongside a barbecue or other outdoor meals. My favourite option here is the classic peanut and raisin pasta salad.
You can enjoy this with a light dusting of paprika, as well as a drizzle of a sweet and spicy Asian chilli sauce. The key to a good pasta salad is to combine your ingredients at the last minute.
Once everything is added, you want to toss the salad together vigorously to combine the flavours and ensure that everything is evenly distributed throughout.
2. Pesto Pasta Salad
This is a lighter alternative to a pasta salad that you can throw together in no time at all! It’s perfect for those warmer summer evenings, when you don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen and you’re looking for something light to eat while you’re barbecuing.
Just combine a handful of cooked pasta, a few handfuls of baby spinach leaves, some cherry tomatoes, and a spoonful of homemade pesto. It’s also the perfect option if you’re making something more substantial, like meat or fish, and you don’t want a heavy side dish.
3. Tropical Chicken Pasta Salad
When you’re hosting a barbecue this summer, you’re going to need to be well stocked up on some food that’s light and refreshing. This pasta salad ticks all the boxes for me, and it’s so easy to make, it’s a real time saver!
First, you’re going to want to slice up some chicken, add some tomatoes, and toss it all together in a bowl. Next, get yourself a bag of spaghetti, and pour over the chicken mixture.
It’s then just a case of tossing in some chopped pineapple, lime juice, and crushed garlic to finish. You can use a couple of different salad dressings here to keep the flavours fresh, but I always reach for a low-fat vinaigrette when cooking as it’s super healthy!
4. Mexican Pasta Salad
A bowl of colourful, delicious pasta salad is a great choice for serving alongside a barbecue! This particular recipe is inspired by one of my favourite Mexican street food snacks – tortilla chips, tomato salsa, and shredded chicken on top.
I like to serve this in an individual portion size bowl, so guests can get all their ingredients in one go. This is a great dish to make ahead of time and have ready in the fridge for busy weeknights.
5. Prawn Pasta Salad
You can make a pretty impressive pasta salad by using prawns and pasta in place of meat. I’d recommend pairing the two together for a satisfying meal.
If you want to use some smoked prawns in the mix, you can of course, but it won’t be quite the same as fresh ones, which are a fantastic way of getting lots of healthy protein into your diet. You can use spaghetti or linguine noodles for this one, but I think that fettuccine is probably my favourite!
6. Spicy Bacon and Pasta Salad
You can use any type of bacon for this recipe, but I really enjoy it when I use thick cut bacon as it’s got a really delicious, smoky flavour. If you’re going to be cooking a large batch of bacon to go alongside your meal, make sure you chop it up into small pieces so you can use it all up.
For the dressing, I like to use a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, Tabasco, and sesame oil, but you can use whatever combination of flavours you prefer.
I’m also a big fan of using a good quality, ready made Italian salad dressing for this recipe, but do try and find one that contains no additives and is dairy-free if you can.
7. Ranch Pasta Salad
A pasta salad that’s packed with flavour, this ranch pasta salad is delicious served alongside grilled chicken or fish. You can make your own using penne pasta, but if you’re short on time, just pick up a ready-to-go pasta salad from the supermarket.
To make things extra easy, just add some shredded cheese on top and serve it straight away!
8. Seafood Pasta Salad
If you’re serving pasta salad for your barbecue, then seafood is a great way to add an extra flavourful kick!
Add in some chunks of smoked salmon, or some cooked prawns and crabmeat. You can also include a selection of fresh vegetables like asparagus, peas, and corn.
9. Tuna Pasta Salad
One of my favourite side dishes to serve at a BBQ is tuna pasta salad. It’s super quick and easy to make, and will make a really tasty change from the usual potatoes or chips.
I like to pack in as many veggies as possible, so I’ll chop up some celery, peppers, onion, and baby corn and put them in along with some cooked pasta and chunks of tuna.
Mix together in a bowl and you’ve got a healthy, delicious side dish that won’t keep you on your feet for ages.
10. Chicken and Egg Pasta Salad
It’s hard to beat a classic chicken and egg pasta salad for a side dish. It’s super quick and easy to make, and can be made with ingredients from your local supermarket.
It’s a real crowd pleaser, and I’m sure that your guests will love it!
11. Curry Pasta Salad
This one is a bit of a spicy affair, so I’d suggest choosing a mild curry flavour such as Thai green or mild red. A dressing of lemon juice and rice vinegar will work well here. Add a pinch of turmeric for extra zing.
5 Tips For Serving Pasta Side Dishes for A BBQ
Pasta sides have a wonderful place at the barbecue. They’re light, portable and perfect for enjoying with friends. So, if you’re planning a summer bash, here are three tips to keep in mind for serving pasta side dishes to your guests.
1. Choose the right pasta shape
If you want to serve pasta side dishes with your BBQ, then you need to choose the right pasta shape.
You want it to have a long string-like shape that will cook fast and keep the pasta from falling apart.
While spaghetti and fettuccine are classic shapes, you could also try using penne or rotini pasta (see also this list of recipes using rotini pasta) as they both cook well and are easy to eat.
2. Pick the right side dish
To ensure that you’re able to cook your pasta in the most efficient way, you should think about what type of food you’re going to pair it with.
Pasta dishes can be paired with almost any other food type because the pasta itself will hold up well.
However, when it comes to pasta side dishes for BBQ, there are some foods that you can’t pair with pasta.
For example, if you want to serve a veggie side dish with pasta for your BBQ, you need to keep it simple.
If you want to serve something like grilled vegetables, then you could choose a vegetable like broccoli or cauliflower to accompany them.
However, pasta side dishes tend to be meatier options, and you could always pair it with a hearty meat such as chicken or beef instead.
3. Pick complementary flavors
When serving pasta side dishes, you should consider what flavor you’re going to pair it with.
You want it to complement the dish that you’re eating it with, so you might want to consider what flavors you think go well together.
You could consider pairing it with flavors that are similar in flavor, such as spicy and sour flavors.
However, you could also try pairing it with different flavors, such as citrus and spice, for an interesting flavor combination.
4. Think Outside the Box
Instead of choosing a typical side dish, consider going for something new. For example, if you want to serve a pasta dish at a barbecue, then a side dish that is unique would be perfect.
Try a dish that you’ve never tried before, or one that’s just been inspired by the meal you’re serving. The goal here is to keep your side dish from being the same as the main dish. After all, the side dish needs to stand out in order to make a great impression.
5. Keep It Simple
A simple dish will work best for any side dish you choose for your BBQ. Don’t go overboard with the flavors – just keep it simple. This means sticking to a few key ingredients and keeping the side dish’s flavor profile in line with the main dish. Think about the dish you’re serving, and then select a side dish that will pair well with it. If you want to serve something different than what’s on the menu, then go for it!
11 Easy Pasta Side Dishes for BBQ
- Peanut and Raisin Pasta Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Tropical Chicken Pasta Salad
- Mexican Pasta Salad
- Prawn Pasta Salad
- Spicy Bacon and Pasta Salad
- Ranch Pasta Salad
- Seafood Pasta Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad
- Chicken and Egg Pasta Salad
- Curry Pasta Salad
- Pick any of these tasty pasta sides for your next BBQ gathering.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Enjoy your meal in no time!