This dual purpose Chicken Pasta Salad can be served as an entree or a side dish. In it, grilled chicken pairs beautifully with fresh chevre cheese and rotini pasta making it a dish you can enjoy for a family dinner or when entertaining friends.
Easy Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
Pasta is always a winning choice for keeping the family happy and your budget on track. This salad is filled with vibrant colors as well as texture and flavor. The addition of grilled chicken allows this pasta salad to be served two ways adding to its versatility.
How to Make the Best Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Chicken Pasta Salad: One pound rotini pasta, boneless skinless chicken breasts, olive oil, black olives, cherry tomatoes, red onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, green onions, Chevre cheese, basil pesto, bottled Italian dressing, garlic salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, dry Italian seasoning, basil pesto and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Kitchen gadgets you'll need: A pasta pot or deep pot to cook the rotini, mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, large spatula or spoon for mixing everything together, sharp knife and cutting board, cheese grater and a skillet or grill pan to cook the chicken.
- What is Chevre? Chevre is goat cheese in French and is often used when referring to fresh goat cheeses in particular. Fresh goat cheese, or chevre, features a bright, tart, tangy, and delicious flavor profile. It adds to the flavor of this salad lending a creaminess to the dressing.
- Please note, goat cheese comes in all shapes, sizes, seasoned or unseasoned. You can use any of your favorite varieties of goat cheese such as a simple crumbled feta for this salad, if you prefer.
- For ease of preparation, it's perfectly fine to use a quality bottled Italian dressing for this salad. For your convenience, I've added a homemade version in the Cook's notes. I've done it both ways and either way it's a winner.
- The chicken for this salad is prepared per the recipe. For a shortcut you could use rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken in its place.
- To lighten this salad, a lower fat bottled dressing can be used.
- You can also add chopped artichokes or pepperoncini peppers to this salad.
- While you could make this recipe using other varieties of pasta, rotini is preferred as it really grabs onto the dressing.
- Store Chicken Pasta Salad chilled in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
More Southern Style Pasta Salad Recipes to Make
Whether you're planning a casual meal, backyard soiree with friends or heading out for a summer picnic. pasta salad in some form should always be on the menu. A few other recipes you may like to try:
- BLT Layered Pasta Salad is a fusion of flavors you'll love.
- Asian Sesame Chicken Pasta that can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled
- Italian Penne Pasta Salad is packed with flavor.
- Homestyle Macaroni Salad is picnic ready.
- Fresh Fruity Chicken Pasta Salad from Family Fresh Meals.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1 lb box rotini pasta
- 2 8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt divided
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper adjust to taste.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 7 oz jar whole pitted black olives drained
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- 4 `medium green onion thinly sliced
- 2-3 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 oz chevre goat cheese broken into chunks
- 2 teaspoon prepared basil pesto
- 1 16 oz bottled Italian dressing (i.e. Ken's Marzetti's or Marie's) (See Cook's note for homemade dressing)
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook rotini pasta in salted water per the package instructions until al dente. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon garlic salt and pepper. In a grill pan over medium high heat, cook chicken in olive oil until juices run clear, about 6-8 minutes on each side. Adjust depending on thickness. Rest for 5 minutes, then cut into bite size chunks. (Likewise, to grill outside, oil grill grates then grill chicken over medium heat for 8 minutes per side)
- In a large bowl, place pasta, chicken, cherry tomatoes, olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, green onion, 2 tablespoon parsley, red pepper flakes and reserved 1 teaspoon garlic salt. Add dressing and basil pesto. Toss until well coated.
- Add chevre cheese in chunks. Gently mix through, the pasta.
- Place into an airtight container and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve garnished with additional 1 tablespoon parsley and Parmesan cheese.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white or red wine vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoon granulated sugar or honey
- 3 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes