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Beloved summer meals don’t often include pasta. This dish is usually reserved for cozy nights in after the weather has cooled when we’ve had our fill of barbecue and fresh seafood. And yet, pasta can be just as delicious in the warmer months as it is during any other time of year. All you need to do is lighten it up.

We found seven dishes that show how effortless summer pasta recipes can be. From a caprese basil number that’ll feel even more special when eaten alfresco to a Mexican street corn option that capitalizes on farmers market finds, these meals prove that pasta deserves to be among the best of your seasonal feasts. 

Salmon Pasta 

Have you ever thought about putting salmon in your pasta? If not, this dish from The Modern Proper might convince you. The recipe takes that brightly colored fish and mixes it in with green beans, lemon, orecchiette, and parmesan for a light meal that’s perfect for busy summer nights. 

Summer Squash Pasta

If you’re not sure what to do with farmers market summer squash, let this recipe from How Sweet Eats show you how to add it to pasta. Unsalted butter, pine nuts, fresh basil, and goat cheese round out the other ingredients in this dish, which can be made with a range of your favorite noodles. 

Caprese Basil Pasta

The light and fresh flavors of a caprese make a colorful and flavorful addition to this recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron, which pairs pappardelle with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, fresh basil, and parmesan cheese. It’s beautiful enough to serve to a crowd but tasty enough to want to make all for yourself.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

If the thought of eating a hot pasta meal is making you sweat, then consider this cool salad option from Le Creme de la Crumb. Shredded chicken, bowtie pasta, black beans, avocados, and corn are combined in a sauce made with mayo, cayenne, minced garlic, and lime. Don’t forget to top it all with crumbled cotija. 

Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

Sometimes, the simplest pasta dishes are the most desirable, thanks in large part to fresh ingredients. That’s the case for this recipe from Half Baked Harvest, which uses spices and herbs to flavor zucchini and noodles. The meal is topped with fresh basil and parmesan. 

Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad

The fresh flavor and bold color of strawberries add an unexpected sweetness to this salad recipe from Le Creme de la Crumb, which features baby spinach, shredded chicken, bowtie pasta, and avocado. The ingredients are tossed in a balsamic dressing to complement the star fruit. 

Pasta With a Tomato Cream Sauce

A pasta craving often calls for a classic recipe, and this one from The Modern Proper won’t disappoint. Al dente noodles are combined with a sauce featuring crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, heavy cream, and olive oil for a simple yet satisfying flavor. To complete the dish, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan are added before serving. 

Keep reading for more summer recipes: 13 Vegetarian Barbecue Recipes That Even Your Meat-Eating Friends Will Enjoy 6 Healthy Snack Ideas That Are Perfect in the Heat of Summer 7 Healthy One-Pan Recipes to Get You Out of the Kitchen Quick