Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad – filling and an oh-so-easy pasta salad packed with great flavors, textures and colors. A fantastic summer dish that can be served as a side or a complete meal on its own!
A good pasta salad makes a huge difference to a meal. It may be served as a fantastic side dish or can be a meal on its own. Though I love the usual leafy green wholesome salads this time of the year, I do find comfort in chicken pasta salad as they are filling, very versatile and a complete meal on its own with the presence of chicken for protein, veggies for nutrients and minerals and pasta for carbs.
Today my friends, I’m bringing to you an amazing addition to our collection of “yet very few” pasta salad. This will be one of your go-to summer salad for sure!
What Goes in Chicken Pasta Salad?
This Chicken Pasta Salad is packed with flavors and textures. As a matter of fact, I’ve been prepared this salad twice in the past two weeks. The reason why I love this so dearly is that it’s loaded with delicious chicken cubes, pasta and that well-balanced creamy dressing.
I opt to keep the list short. But actually, you may add whatever rocks your boat. For this pasta salad, I have:
Rotini Pasta. You could use whatever medium-size pasta you have that could essentially soak up the sauce. And since I have another bag of rotini left after I made this Easy Pasta Salad , I decided to use it. Don’t forget to rinse the pasta after draining to take off some starch and to avoid them from forming clumps.
Meat. This diced cooked chicken here is flavorful. I seasoned it with my homemade creole seasoning (or salt and pepper) before searing it. But if you have any leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie, those would work, too.
Veggies. Opt for a variety of vegetables to add some pop to this salad. I went with cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, red onions and black olives. This recipe is also a great clean-out-your-fridge recipe. You could throw in basically almost any veggies you have in your fridge.
Chicken Pasta Salad Dressing
Bright, creamy and flavorful salad dressing – a perfect summer eat – with my homemade ranch dressing and mayonnaise as the base. Here are the other ingredients I used for this creamy salad dressing:
Mayonnaise and Ranch Dressing. Delightfully tangy, rich with a subtle hint of heat – the very flavors you’ll get once you combine mayo and my homemade ranch dressing. The addition of ranch dressing pairs absolutely well with the creole-seasoned chicken. And it already has the fresh herbs that you want for your salad.
Red Vinegar. To bump up the flavors, I also decided to use red vinegar – a variety of rice vinegar which is popular in Asian cooking. It adds a nice mild touch of sweetness, tartness and saltiness. If you don’t have red vinegar handy, you may substitute it with 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar + 1/4 tsp of sugar. White wine vinegar also works fine, too.
Honey. I’ve had a few salad recipes here that uses regular granulated sugar as a touch up. But since we want to make it as wholesome as possible (😉), I went with honey for that added natural hint of sweetness.
Dijon Mustard. I just simply love adding a bit of Dijon mustard to my dressings. See, that medium-spicy pungent addition has a nice kick in the palate. No Dijon mustard? You may leave it out or substitute it with yellow mustard or a bit of wasabi.
What Else Can I Add Into My Pasta Salad?
You can get a little bit more creative when it comes to this summer chicken salad. Feel free to bulk up this salad with more additions like any of the following below:
- cherry or grape tomatoes
- broccoli florets
- feta or cheddar cheese
- bacon or ham
- shredded carrots
What to Serve with Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad?
Well, you may serve this pasta salad as a main dish or a side at a potluck along with any of the following below:
- Pulled Pork Recipe
- Slow Cooker Beef Brisket
- Country Style Pork Ribs
- Beer Can Chicken
- Twice-baked Potatoes
- Hasselback Potatoes
How To Store Chicken Pasta Salad?
Although I doubt that there’d be any leftover, this salad can be stored though in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days. Unfortunately, freezing this ahead of time or for any leftovers won’t work as too many ingredients won’t hold up well (like mayonnaise for example).
Can I Make It Ahead?
Yes, you can. Making this chicken pasta salad several hours ahead will allow its flavor to meld well while in the fridge. Or what you can do as well is to make the salad dressing a couple days in advance and store it in the fridge. Only mix it in on the day of serving.
More Chicken Salad Recipes For You
- Chicken Salad Sandwich
- Curry Chicken Salad
- Light Chinese Chicken Salad
- Southwest Chicken Salad
- Caribbean Grilled Chicken Salad
- Cajun Chicken Avocado Salad
How To Make Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain using a colander, let it cool then place in a large bowl, and set aside. Season chicken with salt, pepper and your favorite seasoning ( I used creole seasoning) In a large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium to high heat, add chicken and sear for about 5 minutes on each side, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly.
Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of the pieces. Chicken should be about 90% cooked through.
Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then cut into bit slices.
To the large bowl of pasta add cucumbers, bell pepper, green onions, olives, red onions and chicken. Set aside. To a medium bowl or large measuring cup, add the remaining olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, salt and pepper and blend until they are fully incorporated.
Add the dressing to the chicken and pasta and stir until coated. cover bowl with a transparent plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour before serving. Serve cold or reheat gently prior to serving, if desired.
Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces rotini pasta , cooked according to package directions,
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup cucumber , quartered
- 1 cup red bell pepper , diced
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 1 cup olives , cut in half
- ½ large red onions , diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 1 tablespoon red vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ½ teaspoon salt , or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain using a colander, let it cool then place in a large bowl, and set aside.
- Season chicken with salt, pepper and your favorite seasoning ( I used creole seasoning)
- In a large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium to high heat, add chicken and sear for about 5 minutes on each side, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of the pieces. Chicken should be about 90% cooked through. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then cut into bit slices.
- To the large bowl of pasta add cucumbers, bell pepper, green onions, olives, red onions and chicken. set aside.
- To a medium bowl or large measuring cup, add the remaining olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, mayonnaise, ranch dressing salt and pepper and blend until they are fully incorporated.
- Add the dressing to the chicken and pasta and stir until coated. cover bowl with a transparent plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour before serving.
- Serve cold or reheat gently prior to serving, if desired.
Tips & Notes:
- Salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Make the salad several hours ahead of time — no longer than a day— in advance for best flavor. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
- It is also convenient to use a rotisserie chicken or a package of refrigerated fully-cooked roasted chicken strips.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
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