Dive into a bowl of Chicken Pasta Salad for a refreshing and filling meal! This dish combines tender chunks of chicken, vibrant veggies, and pasta with Italian salad dressing. Perfect for summer picnics, potlucks, or as a quick lunch, this cold pasta salad is not only visually appealing but also full of healthy goodness.
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Why This Cold Pasta Salad With Chicken Recipe Is Perfect for Your Next Summer Dinner
Pasta is a cheap and quick meal, but no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen standing over a pot of boiling water after a day at the swimming pool. Here comes Chicken Pasta Salad to the rescue. It’s cool, light, and refreshing, yet fully flavored. And maybe best of all, you can prepare it hours or days in advance, making it a popular summertime choice for many busy families.
Packed with chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts in a tangy Italian dressing-based sauce, Chicken Pasta Salad is the perfect way to beat the heat.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
When the weather heats up, pasta salad with chicken is the kind of dish you should always keep in your fridge. Besides being tasty, it is utterly convenient! With no rewarming necessary, bow tie pasta salad with chicken is the ideal meal on the go, and kids can always grab a snack whenever they’re hungry without needing you to supervise.
Since there are hundreds of ways to tweak this recipe to make it your own, you can make it every week and never get bored. This no-fuss Chicken Pasta Salad recipe will become your new favorite this summer and beyond.
Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients
For cold pasta salad with chicken, you’ll need:
- Boneless skinless chicken breast
- Short pasta
- Red onion
- Cherry tomatoes
- Artichoke hearts, canned in water
- Italian salad dressing
You can use canned or your favorite fresh mushrooms in this recipe. If you go with canned mushrooms, drain and rinse them well before using them, and skip the sauteing step in the directions below.
Any short pasta you like will work here, but bow ties, penne, and rotini pasta are perhaps the best choices.
Use a bottle of your favorite store-bought or make homemade Italian dressing yourself.
How to Make Bow Tie Pasta Salad With Chicken
To prep the Chicken Pasta Salad recipe:
- Cook the chicken using your favorite method. Poaching is foolproof and healthy, but if you grill regularly, go ahead and cook a couple of extra chicken breasts and save them in the fridge for this recipe. You can also use rotisserie chicken. Cut the chicken breasts into large dice and chill in the refrigerator.
- Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. After cooking, drain the pasta and immediately rinse under cold water to remove excess starch and prevent carry-over cooking. Keep the pasta for later.
- Blanch the broccoli in boiling water until just tender, about a minute, and quickly cool the florets in an ice bath. Drain the broccoli and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Wash, dry, and slice the fresh mushrooms. Saute them in butter or olive oil until soft, and pat them dry. You can season them with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Chill before using.
- Cut the red onion into small dice and quarter the cherry tomatoes.
- Drain and rinse the canned artichoke hearts.
To assemble the pasta salad:
- Combine all the prepped ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss well.
- You can serve the pasta chicken salad immediately, but allowing the flavors to meld for at least an hour in the fridge will significantly improve the taste.
Some ideas to make this easy pasta salad recipe your own:
- Add cheese – chunks of cheddar, American, or feta cheese. Or a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top.
- Add herbs such as fresh basil, fresh parsley, or fresh dill.
- Add olives.
- Make it creamy by using mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or sour cream instead of Italian dressing.
- Substitute the red onion with chopped green onions.
- Swap out the chicken with turkey or ham.
- Leave out the chicken and serve it as a side dish with chicken or another entree.
What to Serve With Pasta Chicken Salad
With chicken and so many veggies, this recipe qualifies as a one-bowl meal, but you can add a few sides if you want. Try pairing this pasta salad with garlic bread, breadsticks, or a fresh fruit salad.
How to Store the Leftovers
Cold Pasta Salad with chicken will keep fresh for up to three days inside an airtight container. For better flavor, allow the pasta salad to sit out for a few minutes so it isn’t ice cold.
How Long Does Extra Chicken Pasta Salad Last?
To prevent it from going bad, try to finish all of the leftover chicken pasta salad within three days.
Favorite Salad Recipes
- Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Broccoli Pasta Salad
- Carrot Raisin Salad
- Imitation Crab Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Russian Potato Salad
- Sauerkraut Salad
- Shrimp Pasta Salad
- Spaghetti Salad
- Tomato Cucumber Salad
Popular Chicken Salad Recipes
Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1 pound bow tie pasta
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cooled
- 1 pound broccoli
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 pound mushrooms
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water drained
- 1 8-ounce bottle Italian salad dressing
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions and set aside to cool.
- Chop the chicken and all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
- Combine the pasta, chicken, and vegetables in a large bowl.
- Add the entire bottle of Italian dressing, toss, and serve.