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13 Kinds of Meat that Go Well with Pasta Salad

If you’re like us, you love pasta salad.

It’s a great way to get a ton of vegetables into your diet without even trying.

But pasta salad can be a little boring if all you do is put some noodles in a bowl and add some vegetables.

That’s why we’ve created a list of 13 kinds of meat that go well with pasta salad!

what meat goes good with pasta salad

We think you’ll find this list helpful as you try new recipes and experiment with different combinations of ingredients.

But first, what meat goes good with pasta salad?

Chicken is the best kind of meat to use in pasta salad. It’s easy to prepare, and it tastes great with the rich flavors of pasta. You can also add chicken to a pasta salad that already has meat in it and it will balance out the flavors nicely!

Looking for more options?

Then keep scrolling!

13 Kinds of Meat that Go Well with Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a staple of the summer cookout, but you may be wondering what kinds of meats are best when it comes to putting them in your pasta salad.

Well, let’s see…

1. Turkey


Turkey is an excellent addition to pasta salad because it has a mild flavor and isn’t overpowering like other meats can be in this context.

Turkey is usually used in the form of ground meat, which means it’ll need some extra prep before it can be added to your pasta salad.

The trick here is to cook it until it’s browned and crispy on the outside—but not dry and tough on the inside.

2. Ham


Ham is another great choice for pasta salad. Ham’s rich, smoky flavor pairs well with pasta and other ingredients in the salad.

It also adds a ton of protein to your meal, so you’ll feel satisfied after eating it!

When preparing these meats, make sure they’re chopped up into small pieces so they cook through evenly and quickly.

3. Chicken


Chicken is another great addition to your pasta salad because it’s high in protein and low in fat—and its mild flavor will help balance out any strong-flavored ingredients like olives or feta cheese.

To prepare chicken for your pasta salad, cook it on a stove top over medium heat until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (about 20 minutes per pound).

4. Buffalo Meat

Buffalo Meat

Another great option is buffalo meat.

Buffalo has a higher protein content than most other meats, so it will give your salad even more protein that’s easier on your digestive system.

Plus, buffalo tastes delicious and has a unique flavor that goes well with any kind of pasta salad recipe.

5. Ground Beef


Ground beef can be used in many different ways, but our favorite way is in pasta salads!

It’s easy to find ground beef at any grocery store, and it’s very affordable too.

You can use ground beef in any type of sauce or dressing for a pasta salad.

Just remember not to overdo it because too much will make your dish soggy and unpleasant to eat!

6. Italian Sausage

Italian Sausage

Italian sausage is a great protein-rich addition to your pasta salad, and it tastes delicious!

It’s made from pork, fennel seeds, garlic powder, salt, and other spices.

You can buy it in links or as bulk sausage meat at most grocery stores.

It’s also easy to make your own—just follow this recipe for Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage!

7. Salami


Salami is a great addition to pasta salad because it’s got a lot of flavor, but it’s also mild enough that its taste doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

Salami is typically made from ground pork or beef, and sometimes includes some spices like garlic and paprika.

It’s usually cured in salt and/or sugar, which helps preserve it and gives it that distinctive bright red color.

To make sure your salami tastes perfect in your pasta salad, we recommend slicing it thin and letting it sit out for at least 30 minutes before adding it to your salad (this will help get rid of any excess saltiness).

You can then add your salami to the rest of your ingredients just before serving—you don’t want it sitting out too long or else it’ll get mushy!

8. Corned Beef

Corned Beef

Corned beef is one of the best kinds of meat for pasta salad because it’s rich with flavor and tenderness.

It also cooks quickly, so you don’t have to worry about over-cooking or under-cooking it—which can happen easily when you’re working with other kinds of meat.

  1. The best way to cook corned beef is by boiling it in water (or broth). You want to boil it until it’s tender enough that you can easily cut through the meat with a fork.
  2. Once cooked, remove the corned beef from its cooking liquid and let it cool completely before adding it to your pasta salad.

9. Bacon


Bacon is a great addition to pasta salads because it adds a bit of smokiness, which works well with the other ingredients in your dish.

It also adds a bit of saltiness, which can help balance out the flavors in your salad.

  1. To prepare bacon for use in a pasta salad, simply cook it in a pan on the stovetop until it’s crispy!
  2. Then remove the bacon from its package and place it on a paper towel to drain excess fat.

You can also put some paper towels over a plate and put the cooked bacon on top of them so that they soak up any extra grease.

10. Pepperoni


If you’re looking for a meat that’s going to pack some serious flavor, look no further than pepperoni.

It’s got a nice spicy kick, and it really helps to add a punch to your pasta salad.

But how do you get the best flavor out of pepperoni?

It’s not as simple as just adding it to your salad—you need to cook it first!

  1. To prepare pepperoni for your pasta salad, simply lay out slices on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until they’ve browned slightly.
  2. Then serve them up with your salad ingredients!

11. Shrimp


Shrimp are a wonderful addition to pasta salads because they’re super easy to prepare, and they add a burst of flavor.

  1. To prepare shrimp for your pasta salad, simply toss them in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Then, heat them up in a pan on the stovetop until cooked through.

12. Roast Beef

Roast Beef

Roast beef is often served at parties or family gatherings because it’s easy to prepare, delicious, and inexpensive compared to other meats like steak or lamb chops!

Roast beef goes very well with pasta salad because it has a strong flavor that stands up well against the heavy dressing in this dish—plus it makes it look like you’ve spent hours preparing when really all you did was throw everything together at the last minute!

13. Salmon


Salmon has a strong flavor that can stand up to the bold flavor of the pasta salad, but it also has a lightness that will not make the dish too heavy.

Salmon is also easy to cook, making it a great choice for busy weeknights.

How to Choose What Kind of Meat to Put in Your Pasta Salad


You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to choosing a meat for your pasta salad.

Some people prefer their meat cooked, some people prefer it raw, and some people are just happy with what they get.

Here are some tips for getting the best results out of your pasta salad:

1. Choose Your Meat Based on The Season

If you’re looking for a pasta salad recipe that’s great for summer, try mixing in some grilled chicken or shrimp with your pasta.

If you’re making a pasta salad recipe for winter, consider adding some ham or even leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!

2. Choose Your Meat Based on How You Want It to Be Flavored

If you want a pasta salad recipe that has a lot of flavor, try mixing in some ground beef or even ground turkey (depending on the season).

If you prefer a milder taste in your pasta salad recipe, consider using chicken breast instead of ground beef or turkey.

3. Choose Your Meat Based on What Else Is Going Into the Dish

For example, if you’re making tomato sauce and garlic bread as sides for your pasta salad recipe, then it may be best to use chicken breast over ground beef or turkey because they will have fewer flavors competing with each other in this dish than they would if they were used together!

pasta salad

13 Kinds of Meat that Go Well with Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is great. But it can be even better.
Pasta salad is a perfect summer dish to serve at barbecues and picnics, because it's versatile, easy to make, and can be adapted to the tastes of many different people.
But it still has its downsides: it's not as filling as some other dishes, and it can be difficult to get a nice balance of flavors when you're cooking for picky eaters who don't like spicy foods or salty foods or sweet foods or… well, you get the point.
But there's an easy way around this—just add some meat! Meat makes pasta salad more filling, so you'll feel fuller longer after eating it instead of just feeling like you're going to pass out from hunger at any minute.
Meat also adds a little bit of protein that can help you stay energized throughout the day instead of getting tired before your company arrives at your house for their annual Labor Day barbecue. And finally, meat adds flavor to your pasta salad recipe so that everyone in your family will love it no matter what kind of food they prefer!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course, Meat, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 345 kcal


  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Chicken
  • Buffalo Meat
  • Ground Beef
  • Italian Sausage
  • Salami
  • Corned Beef
  • Bacon
  • Pepperoni
  • Shrimp
  • Roast Beef
  • Salmon


  • Pick your favorite kind of meat from this list to use in your pasta salad recipe.
  • Prepare the rest of your meal.
  • Be ready to munch in no time!
Keyword what meat goes good with pasta salad
CEO at Happy Muncher | | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.