This Easy Pasta Salad is loaded with chicken, and veggies, and packed with flavor. This is a quick weeknight dinner recipe to serve your family, ideal to take to parties and picnics, and perfect for meal prepping. A family favorite recipe packed with flavor and so delicious.
A crowd-pleasing classic chicken pasta salad recipe that’s so easy to make and a well-balanced meal that will keep you full and satisfied. Made with refreshing and nutritious ingredients with the perfect amount of protein. Made with fresh herbs, pasta, tomatoes, olives, peppers, parmesan cheese, garlic, and chicken, then tossed in a simple homemade pasta salad dressing. This healthy and simple pasta salad recipe is not only a family favorite, but it is also great for those who like to meal prep.
HOW TO MAKE PASTA SALAD
- Mix dressing: In a small bowl, add all the dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Cook Pasta: Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to the package
directions. Drain, rinse, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Cut Chicken: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken. Slice the chicken breasts crosswise to create long (0.5-inch thick) strips.
- Marinate Chicken: In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the thyme, oregano, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the chicken pieces and stir to coat.
- Cook Chicken: Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the chicken in a single layer, and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on the sides.
- Assemble Pasta Bowl: Transfer the chicken along with any accumulated juices to the pasta bowl. Add the pepper and onion, cherry tomatoes, olives, parmesan, and arugula. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine.
- Season and Serve: Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve warm or chilled.
PASTA SALAD DRESSING
The dressing used for this homemade chicken pasta salad is quite simple. Add the following ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine before pouring over the salad.
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A vegetarian pasta salad lasts 4-5 days in the fridge when stored in a tightly sealed container. If your pasta salad has some kind of protein like chicken or fish, like this chicken pasta salad, it should last about 2-3 days to stay on the safe side. Store in an airtight container.
Store your pasta salad in a securely sealed container and freeze for 2-3 weeks. It is before to remove it from the freezer the night before and allow it to thaw in the fridge. Some veggies do not freeze well so expect some of the content of your pasta salad to be a bit soggy.
You may add a variety of sauteed or grilled veggies to your pasta salad. Try asparagus, green beans, corn, or Brussels sprouts. Pasta salads are also great with added protein like chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu, and so on. A few other add-ons to your pasta salad could be:
Cheese, like feta
veggies like peppers, celery, and carrots
Some pasta salads are meant to be served cold. In that case, you can cook the pasta a couple of hours ahead and allow it to cool down before adding in the other ingredients. For this easy chicken pasta recipe, you can serve it either warm or cold.
Tips to consider while making this chicken pasta salad
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta instead of whole-grain or white pasta.
- Keep it vegetarian by skipping on the chicken.
- You may add some chopped spinach instead of arugula
- Add more fresh herbs like oregano, parsley, sliced green onion, fresh basil, or thyme.
- Consider using Rotisserie Chicken or any chicken leftovers instead of cooking the chicken from scratch.
- Serve this chicken salad as a side dish or main meal.
Other Easy Pasta Salads to check out:
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Vegetarian Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
Remember to subscribe to my NEWSLETTER for free and receive recipes like this Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe delivered right to your inbox!
If you try a recipe and you like it, please use our hashtag #healthyfitnessmeals on INSTAGRAM for a chance to be featured! FOLLOW Healthy Fitness Meals on FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER for all of our latest blog posts and recipes.
Chicken Pasta Salad
- 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1½ Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 Garlic Clove minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 oz Dry Penne or Fusilli Pasta use whole grain pasta, or gluten-free
- 2-3 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Thyme
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Oregano or dried
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes halved
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper seeds removed, thinly sliced
- ½ Cup Green Olives sliced in half
- 1 medium Red Onion thickly sliced
- ⅓ Cup Ground Parmesan Cheese
- 3 Cups Packed Arugula roughly chopped
- 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Honey
- 1 Garlic Cloves pressed or minced
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, add all the dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water, according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken. Slice the chicken breasts crosswise to create long (0.5-inch thick) strips.
- In a mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with the thyme, oregano, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add in the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the chicken in a single layer, and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on the sides.
- Transfer the chicken along with any accumulated juices to the pasta bowl. Add the pepper and onion, cherry tomatoes, olives, parmesan, and arugula.
- Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve warm or chilled.
- Any shape or type of pasta. Use whole grain or whole wheat. You may also use lentil pasta.
- Spinach in place of arugula
- Any olives
- Maple syrup in place of honey
- Any tomatoes cut small.