Are you planning a cookout this Labor Day weekend? A big outdoor meal is my favorite way to say goodbye to summer, but it can be challenging to create a portable, park-ready menu. One of my stand-by dishes is pasta salad because it’s easy to make, easy to pack and can be whipped up the day before your picnic!

Here are a few of my favorite pasta salad recipes:

Caprese Pasta Salad


This salad with an Italian flair packs a big flavor punch! The noodles trap in all that tangy, balsamic goodness and a sprinkle of pine nuts give it just the right amount of crunch!

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad


Sweet meets savory in this delicious, veggie-packed dish. The addition of sliced almonds and chicken make it hearty enough to be a main dish.

Asian Spaghetti Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing


Spaghetti noodles stray from their usual red sauce companion to star in this Thai-inspired dish. Sliced almonds, fresh cabbage, carrots and edamame team up to give this salad an irresistible crunch!