Perfect Cold Pasta Recipes To Try Now

In these dog days of summer, the last thing we want to do is come home from a sweaty commute and sit down to a hot meal. No, August nights call for cold glasses of rosé and light, low-effort dinners. Still, there's only so much salad a person can eat, so we turned to the oft-neglected cold pasta for a more substantial option. Each of these recipes have three things in common: They're nutrient-rich, low-effort, and ideal for making leftovers. Prepare a big batch and you'll find the flavors develop even further when you pull them out of the fridge the next day. And the next.

Whether you're serving a dinner party or just your hungry self, you won't regret a few minutes at the stove. Hit the farmer's market for some late-summer produce and whip up one of these babies tonight — do not forget the rosé.

slide1_pennePhotographed by Ingalls Photo; Styling by Rhoda Boone
Cilantro-Lime Penne
This may be a bold claim, but this pasta has everything you could ever want out of life. It is the Ryan Gosling of dinners. It combines sweet mango, creamy avocado, a bite of garlic, and a kick of cayenne, all infused with fresh lime. There's no question that you must make it tonight. Just do it and then get back to us. We'll wait.

1 box whole wheat penne
1 fresh mango (or 1 1/2 cup pre-cut)
1 avocado
Juice of 2 fresh limes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 medium tomatoes
1 yellow pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Optional: 1 grilled chicken breast

While penne cooks, prepare the avocado, pepper, tomatoes, and mango. Chop everything into large, bite-sized pieces (including chicken breast, if using), and put in a large serving bowl.

Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, garlic, spices, and cilantro. Pour into the serving bowl and gently toss the ingredients.

Once pasta is cooked al dente, rinse with cold water and add to the serving bowl. Toss all ingredients together, adding additional salt and seasoning as you see fit. Feel free to serve immediately, or just pop it in the fridge for whenever you're ready. If storing for more than a couple hours, squeeze a little extra lime over the top and press plastic wrap directly onto the pasta — that way the avocado won't brown.

slide2_orzo-2Photographed by Ingalls Photo; Styling by Rhoda Boone
Grilled Salmon Orzo
Our own Piera created this kitchen-sink recipe the day after a barbecue, when her fridge was filled with odds and ends. It's flexible, so feel free to mix it up with your own leftovers, but we think it's delicious enough to warrant a trip to the grocery store. Piera's pro tip is letting the cooked salmon marinate in additional vinegar, oil, and herbs overnight — but either way you shall not be disappointed.

1 box orzo
1 salmon filet, grilled or baked
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cucumber
1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh dill
1/2 cup feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook orzo, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

Heat oil and vinegar in a pan. Sauté tomatoes in oil/vinegar mixture, using a spoon to smash them a bit (to help release the juices). Pour tomato mixture over orzo and mix.

Separate salmon into bite-sized pieces and fold into orzo.

Peel cucumber and chop into cubes. Wash dill and tear pieces off the stem. Add these to the orzo and toss.

Crumble feta over the orzo, add salt and pepper to taste, and finish by squeezing the lemon over the whole thing. Serve and enjoy!

slide3_coldtunaPhotographed by Ingalls Photo; Styling by Rhoda Boone
Tuna Vermicelli
When you think of tuna pasta, you probably imagine some baked, cafeteria nightmare covered in bread crumbs and ambiguous goo. This is not that pasta. A light, Mediterranean-style meal filled with protein and fresh flavors, this cold tuna pasta will absolutely knock your socks off. Plus, since vermicelli takes a mere moment to cook through, you'll be eating this dinner in under 10 minutes. That's a lot faster than Seamless, no?

1 box vermicelli pasta
1 can (or jar) tuna, packed in oil
3 tbsp capers
1 tbsp caper brine
1 medium red onion
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Quickly cook vermicelli as instructed, and rinse under cold water. Drain and toss with olive oil in a serving bowl.

Halve the onion, then cut into thin slices. Chop tomatoes in half and set aside. Use a fork or your fingers to pull apart tuna into bite-sized pieces.

Whisk together brine and lemon juice, and pour over pasta, tossing gently.

Toss onion, tomatoes, tuna, and pine nuts into the pasta. Top with parsley and enjoy!