This chicken pasta salad is about to be your new best friend. It’s FULL of all the tastiest mix-ins, creamy, and oh-so-DELISH!
Pasta salad recipes are common at picnics and potlucks, but chicken pasta recipes are a nice new twist on an old classic.
This chicken pasta salad is creamy, zingy and full of incredible indulgent veggies like asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. Pucker-up buttercup! You’ll want to print this one out and put it in the rotation with your other pasta recipes.
Be prepared though, it’ll quickly become one of your most requested recipes…
Well, first I love that it’s not a chicken recipe you come across often. This chicken pasta salad is cold and creamy but also made with Italian seasoning for a lively, refreshing flavor. Here are some other reasons to love it:
- Lots of fresh fragrant herbs
- Totally versatile
- Zesty homemade dressing
- Wholesome ingredients
Here’s everything you need to know about this chicken pasta salad recipe:
This chicken pasta salad calls for about 4 cups of cooked chicken which is equal to a whole young chicken or 4-5 breasts. Feel free to cook your own or use leftovers from last night’s grill.
Grilled chicken adds layers of succulent flavor to your pasta salad recipe. I actually love using rotisserie chicken for this recipe but if you’re short on time canned chicken works just fine. See… versatile!
It also calls for farfalle pasta, otherwise known as the fun and playful bowtie. Bowtie pasta works great for this chicken pasta salad because there is plenty of valuable real estate to soak up all that yummy dressing, but rigatoni, rotini, and penne works well too.
You’ll want to julienne your herbs and veggies (except for asparagus) both for aesthetics and flavor. It adds an incredible visual appeal to your already beautiful chicken pasta salad. Chopping all the veggies and herbs approximately the same size also helps ensure that you get a myriad of textures in every tangy bite!
It also helps to make the dressing first and use the largest bowl you have. This recipe feeds 12 people, so it makes quite a bit. Set it aside while cooking the pasta and the asparagus.
Cooking your pasta al dente is recommended and it should take about 7-9 minutes. You’ll have to follow the package instructions if you decide to use a different type of pasta.
Your asparagus will also need just a little time in about an inch of boiling water, but you still want it just a little crunchy. When it’s finished cooking you’ll want to let it come to room temperature before putting it in the chicken pasta salad.
Chicken Pasta Salad Dressing Storing Tips
This vibrant homemade dressing has a lot of pizzazz and it’s so easy to make its not even funny. Since this dressing has mayo in it, you should definitely store it in the fridge. I like to keep mine in a mason jar but any airtight container with a secure lid will work.
Can You Freeze This?
Nope, sorry. This pasta salad recipe has mayo in it, so it just doesn’t freeze well. Besides, all the beautiful veggies turn to mush when they thaw.
How Long Can You Keep This?
According to the USDA, your chicken pasta salad should keep in the fridge for 3-5 days but once people know it’s in there it disappears! Of course, it must be properly stored at or below 40 degrees F for safe handling.
One of the best parts about this pasta salad recipe is that you can do so many wonderful things with it! You can add whatever fresh veggies you happen to have on hand, add more protein or even go Greek.
My vegetarian friends simply substitute beans for the chicken, or you can even try throwing a few nuts in there. The possibilities really are endless…
Can I Use Pesto Instead?
It’s your recipe so make it exactly how you want it! If chicken pesto pasta is your thing, then go for it. All those fragrant herbs really add a ton of extra flavor, but I still like to squirt some lemon juice in there for that extra tang.
If you’re a big pesto fan, then omit the chicken and make a pesto pasta salad. Your taste buds will stand up and do the happy dance to show their approval. Pesto is an awesome and refreshing flavor in many cold pasta salads.
Can I Turn This Into A Casserole?
Sure, if you like! But this is really meant to be a cold pasta salad…
If you think it’d taste great as a warm creamy meal, you can follow the instructions for my chicken alfredo casserole while adding things like Italian seasoning and asparagus. All that warm, cheesy goodness just may work your taste buds into a frenzy!
Chicken tetrazzini casserole is another supremely yummy dish that resembles a savory baked chicken spaghetti with some incredible edible surprises.
Can I Substitute Bacon?
Absolutely! You can substitute bacon or add it in there with the chicken. Bacon is a wonderful addition to any cold pasta salad. Make a BLT pasta salad or take the deliciousness a step further with a bacon ranch pasta salad. There aren’t too many who can resist the creamy combination of refreshing ranch and bacon in a cold pasta salad.
Can I Try Tortellini In This Recipe?
If tortellini salad is your jam, then go for it. Those little puckered pasta pouches have plenty of nooks and crannies to soak up all that zestalicious dressing that makes this chicken pasta salad so bold and vibrant.
Serving tortellini pasta salad is like taking people on an incredible flavor journey with lots of delicious textures and plenty of protein. It’s a hearty salad that eats like a meal, even on the potluck circuit.
What Other Proteins Can I Try?
Adding protein to a cold pasta salad is a pretty common way to spice things up with some savory textures and flavors. Sometimes, chicken is just what the doctor ordered and other times, you just want to make a great tuna pasta salad. I think the weather and the occasion has a lot to do with it, too.
Making shrimp pasta salad is another way to add some inviting oceanic flavor with some slightly salty fair. Its cold and creamy and just oh so good, you can almost feel the ocean breeze in every bite!
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 4 hours. Toss salad. Add 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil, as needed, if dressing has absorbed into the pasta. Serve.
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Throwing together tangy chicken pasta recipes is a great way to satisfy a hungry crowd and add a ton of savory flavor to pasta salads. Since there are lots of different occasions and personal preferences, it helps to have a myriad of tasty chicken pasta recipes to choose from.
Here are some of my favorites that’re requested often:
- Chicken Macaroni Salad
- Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Chicken Piccata Pasta
Making chicken pasta salad is a zesty, flavorful way to use up leftover chicken or add some tangy protein to a cold pasta salad. It’s made with wholesome ingredients, fragrant herbs and a refreshing homemade dressing to blend all the delicate flavors into a single cohesive dish that’ll have people lining up for seconds!!
Whether you are partial to chicken recipes, or you just need a zingy playful pasta salad with plenty of indulgent veggies, this chicken pasta salad is the way to go!
Hope you enjoyyy!