This isn’t a plain-Jane pasta salad! Tangy, creamy, & full of chicken, veggies, & pasta, Chicken Pasta Salad feeds a crowd. They’ll be lined up for seconds!
Picnics and potlucks wouldn’t be complete without a big bowl of Chicken Pasta Salad! My twist on the classic chicken pasta salad with mayo and peas uses a tangy homemade dressing over pasta, chicken, and veggies. I’ve added fresh basil and chives for even more flavor. I’m telling you- it takes plain-Jane chicken pasta salad with peas to the next level! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a good Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad with its creamy, slightly sweet dressing. I’ll take a scoop of each!
Overall this is a healthy chicken pasta salad, but you can lighten it a bit by using a low-fat mayo. You can add more veggies and decrease the pasta for a lower carb option. To make cold chicken pasta salad healthy, you don’t have to skimp on the taste! It’s one of the things I love best about pasta salads- they’re super versatile! My Hawaiian Macaroni Salad and Southern Macaroni Salad both have tangy, creamy dressings and can literally include almost anything you’ve got in the fridge!
How to Make Chicken Pasta Salad
The first thing to do is to make the chicken pasta salad dressing. Variations of this salad call for premade dressing like the chicken pasta salad Italian dressing versions or chicken pasta salad with ranch dressing. This from-scratch dressing only takes a couple of minutes to whip up and is creamy, tangy, and totally delish! To make the dressing, combine the mayo, water, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings with a whisk. In a separate bowl, mix the veggies, herbs, and cooked pasta and chicken. Top with the dressing and stir until all of the pieces are well coated. Chill the Chicken Pasta Salad for 4 hours and toss before serving.
Can You Make Pasta Salad Ahead Of Time
You definitely need to plan ahead when making this Pasta Salad. The minimum chill time is 4 hours, but it can be made a day ahead. The main trouble with making it too far in advance is the pasta likes to absorb the dressing. If this happens, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil just before serving and stir well.
Is this Similar To Tuna Pasta Salad
Chicken Pasta Salad has a similar vibe to Tuna Pasta Salad. The tuna version has an out of this world dill dressing that just lights up your tastebuds! It’s also one of those easily adjustable recipes. I love making it during the summer and tossing in whatever happens to be coming in fresh from the garden! Add a crisp cucumber or bell pepper straight from the farmer’s market to increase the crunch factor and bring a bit of summer in every bite!
One Of My Favorite Variations Is Greek Pasta Salad
You all know that I love Mediterranean flavors, and Greek Pasta Salad is absolutely bursting with them. It’s one of my all-time favorite pasta salads. The tangy vinaigrette coats all the nooks and crannies of the pasta and layers in flavor with the olives, tomatoes, and herbs. I’ll be going back for seconds for sure!
More Yummy Pasta Salad Recipes:
Italian Pasta Salad
I love oil and vinegar dressing as a change from the creamy dressings so often used in pasta salads. Italian Pasta Salad is full of Italian flavors!
Pesto Pasta Salad
People tend to shy away from pesto because they worry about making it from scratch. There are so many high-quality prepared pesto options to choose from, that you can grab a bottle and whip up Pesto Pasta Salad in no time. This unique take on pasta salad will definitely get everyone’s attention!
Shrimp Pasta Salad
Shrimp adds just a bit of sweetness and a seafood twist in this creamy pasta salad. Shrimp Pasta Salad is an excellent addition to barbeques, picnics, or potlucks!
Caesar Pasta Salad
If you love the tangy Caesar salad, you’ve got to try Caesar Pasta Salad. All those great flavors pack a punch in this delicious pasta salad. Add chicken to make it a meal on its own!
Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
Crunchy, tangy dill pickles shine as the star of this one of a kind pasta salad. Dill Pickle Pasta Salad is a fun twist on the traditional creamy macaroni salad.
Recipe Notes for Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
Julienne– Don’t let this chopping technique intimidate you! Julienne means to cut into short strips like matchsticks. We use it here to add visual appeal and texture to the salad. There are several different approaches to the julienne technique. Pick the one that suits you best. It’s easier than you think!
Chicken– Any cooked chicken will work for this recipe, and it’s a great way to use leftovers. If you’re cooking the chicken especially for this recipe, I usually bake it with a little salt and pepper. A whole young chicken or about 4-5 breasts is about the equivalent of 4 cups cooked chicken. Fire up the grill to create grilled chicken pasta salad and skip the oven completely. The grilled taste on the chicken adds a different flavor to the salad. Just remember to use proper food handling precautions when dealing with raw chicken. Cook your own rotisserie chicken or, of course, you can bypass the cooking altogether and buy a store bought !
Pasta- We call for farfalle, or more commonly known as bowtie, pasta, but you can use whatever pasta suits you. I love farfalle because besides being fun to say, it has lots of real estate to coat in the dressing! Other good choices include rigatoni, rotini, or penne. These all have grooves and large surface areas that are perfect for salads! Whichever you choose, I encourage you to go for a large, thick noodle. Also, don’t over cook your pasta. Keep it slightly al-dente, so it doesn’t get soggy as it sits in the dressing. A final tip- make sure your pasta is well drained. Give it several good shakes in the colander and allow it to sit for a while before dumping it in the bowl.
SAVE THIS CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
TO YOUR PASTA OR SALAD BOARD FOR LATER
WE’D LOVE TO BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES!
Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1/3 Cup Water
- Juice of 2 Lemons
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 3 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/3 Cup, Plus More As Needed Olive Oil
- 1 Bunch Asparagus, Trimmed And Cut Into 2 Inch Pieces
- 1/4 Cup Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, Julienned
- 1/3 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes In Oil, Drained (Not Rinsed) and Julienned
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
- 1 Bunch Basil, Julienned
- 1 Bunch Chives, Finely Chopped
- 4 Cups Cooked Chicken, Cut Into 1/2 Inch Cubes
- 16 Ounces Farfalle Pasta, Cooked According To Package Instructions, And Drained
- In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together until dressing is well combined and smooth.
- In a large skillet bring I inch of water to a boil. Add asparagus pieces and cook about 3 minutes, or until still a little crunchy. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients and add dressing and toss well. Chill for 4hours. Toss salad. Add 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil, as needed, if dressing has absorbed into the pasta. Serve.