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.
Pasta Salad with Chicken
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.
Helpful Tips for Making Chicken Pasta Salad
- 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.
- 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.
Other Pasta Salad Recipes to Try
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
- Asian Sesame Chicken Pasta that can be served warm or chilled
- Italian Penne Pasta Salad
- Homestyle Macaroni Salad
- 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 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp garlic salt divided
- ¼ tsp 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 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 6 oz chevre goat cheese broken into chunks
- 2 tsp 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 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook rotini pasta in salted water per the package instructions until al dente. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with ½ tsp 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 Tbsp parsley, red pepper flakes and reserved 1 tsp 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 Tbsp parsley and Parmesan cheese.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white or red wine vinegar
- 1-2 tsp granulated sugar or honey
- 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tsp dry Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes