This Chicken pasta salad is packed with all kinds of tasty ingredients to make it a favorite salad to serve at holiday gatherings, parties and summer barbecues.
I’ve been making this holiday salad at home for 15 years. It’s easy to make and it’s the kind of salad where everyone asks for the recipe. The recipe makes a large amount, so it’s perfect to share with a lot of people.
How to make a chicken pasta salad:
Cook bowtie-shaped pasta according to package directions. If you can’t find a bow tie, you can use another type of medium pasta like rotini or penne. Place the cooked pasta and several cups of grated roast chicken (the type you buy at the market) in a bowl. If you prefer to cook your own chicken, there are recipe instructions at the end of this article on how to make your own.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour the dressing over the pasta and chicken and toss to combine. Refrigerate the pasta and chicken with the dressing for several hours or overnight.
Toss pasta and chicken with remaining ingredients just before serving.
What makes this salad so special?
There are so many different flavors in this salad! Sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, bacon and pine nuts are the magic ingredients. You can always substitute regular chopped tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes (although sun-dried ones have so much flavor!) And chopped pecans can substitute for pine nuts.
How to toast pine nuts:
To quickly toast the pine nuts, simply place them in a small skillet over medium heat. Watch them carefully and use a wooden spoon to move them around until they are lightly toasted. Be careful, they will burn if you don’t take care of them! Pour them on a paper towel to cool them before adding them to your salad. I like to buy pine nuts from Costco. They’re cheaper there, and you can keep the big bag in the freezer and use them as needed.
Love that there are greens added to this chicken pasta salad. This turns the salad into a green salad too much!
How to cook bacon in the oven:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet. Don’t overlap the bacon or it will all stick together! Cook bacon, 15 to 20 minutes, until crispy. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your bacon. Move the bacon slices onto paper towels to drain them. Also consider making cherry tomatoes stuffed with bacon!
Leftovers from this salad don’t keep very well because of the green vegetables added to the salad. So be sure to serve it at a gathering where you know it’s likely to be gobbled up. Enjoy!
Chicken pasta salad
Perfect salad to serve at a party because everyone will be asking for the recipe. It is so good!
Servings: 14 portions
- 16 ounces bow tie pastes, cooked and drained
- 4 to 5 cups ground roast chicken (see recipe notes below)
- ¾ Chopped off extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ Chopped off freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 coffee spoons granulated white sugar
- 4 coffee spoons Dijon’s mustard
- 2 way cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, (or more, to taste)
- 16 ounces mixed salad greens
- ½ Chopped off chopped fresh italian parsley
- ½ Chopped off chopped green onion
- ½ Chopped off chopped sundried tomatoes
- ½ Chopped off freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ½ Chopped off crumbled cooked bacon
- 1 Chopped off toasted pine nuts
- * Sun-dried tomatoes are sold prepackaged and already cut into strips (rather than packed in oil). To soften them, put them in a small bowl of water and microwave for 2 minutes! Or use sun-dried tomatoes in oil.
- To make your own chicken: Sauté 4 chicken breasts with a cup of chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary and 1 clove of minced garlic in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat until the chicken is well cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan and cut it into small pieces. Discard the onion.
- To toast pine nuts: Put them in a small frying pan over medium heat. Watch them carefully and use a wooden spoon to move them around until they are lightly toasted. Be careful, they will burn if you don’t take care of them! Arrange them on a paper towel to cool them.
Portion: 1portion, Calories: 435kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 23g, Large: 24g, Saturated fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 272mg, Potassium: 478mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 663UI, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 79mg, The iron: 2mg