Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Salad is a healthy dish full of protein and fiber. Make it in advance for busy nights, meal prep it for work, or bring it to a potluck.
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Salad is a staple at our home. Not only is it a great make-ahead meal for busy days but it’s also one of our favorites to meal prep for lunches. For more meal prep recipes, try Greek Couscous Salad and Pesto Pasta Salad.
The BEST Pasta Salad
Getting more vegetables in your diet is easy with this delicious pasta salad! This is a lunch favorite for everyone in my family. My husband meal preps and takes it to work and my 3 year old and I can quickly grab lunch while at home. And yes, she eats it all, even the tomatoes!
Ingredients for Pasta Salad:
- Pasta– Any short pasta will work in this recipe. Rotini are a fun shape that has a lot of surface area for the dressing to cling to. Be sure to cook until al dente and halt the cooking process with an ice bath.
- Chicken– Cook it from scratch or take a shortcut and purchase precooked grilled and sliced chicken breasts.
- Olives– Black olives are delicious in this salad but feel free to skip or use kalamata.
- Tomatoes– Grape or cherry tomatoes work best in pasta salad since they hold their shape even when sliced.
- Cucumber– English cucumbers are best for pasta salad as they are less watery and less bitter. Regular cucumbers have large seeds which contribute to a bitter taste and are more watery.
- Peppers– Bell peppers hold up really well in pasta salad and add a crisp fresh texture.
- Parmesan– Parmigiano-Reggiano is the best and only kind of parmesan I use. It has the best flavor and lasts quite awhile in the fridge.
- Vinaigrette– My homemade recipe for Italian Vinaigrette is so tasty on this salad but feel free to cut corners and use your favorite store-bought dressing.
How to make Pasta Salad:
Time needed: 30 minutes.
- Cook Pasta
Boil water in a large pot. Add salt and pasta and cook until aldente. Drain in a colander and place in ice water. Drain again.
- Toss Together
Combine pasta, chicken, olives, vegetables, and parmesan cheese in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with ~3/4 of the vinaigrette and toss. Add more vinaigrette if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Some other raw vegetables that would work well in this dish are carrots, peas, broccoli, and cauliflower. Feel free to use what you like and/or have.
Yes! If you want to make this recipe even easier, use bottled dressing. I really enjoy Ken’s Steak House Northern Italian dressing on this pasta salad.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS PASTA SALAD:
- Cutting Board– I love having various sizes of cutting boards and these are awesome because they won’t slip and slide around on the counter.
- Knife Set– I got this when I got married almost 8 years ago. I use them multiple times a day and they’re still going strong!
- Collapsible Colander– This sturdy colander is great for draining pasta or vegetables. The collapsible ability saves space in the cupboard.
LOOKING FOR MORE ENTREE SALAD RECIPES? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Easy Dorito Taco Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Chimichurri Steak Salad
- Greek Couscous Salad
- Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Salad
- 1.5 pounds chicken breasts, grilled, cooled
- 12 ounces rotini
- 1 can small olives
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 English cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 recipe Italian Vinaigrette
- Boil water in a large pot. Add salt and pasta and cook until aldente. Drain in a colander and place in ice water. Drain again.
- Combine pasta, chicken, olives, vegetables, and parmesan cheese in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with ~3/4 of the vinaigrette and toss. Add more vinaigrette if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge.