The last recipe I posted was for Bacon Potato Salad. I learned that many of you make a similar dish, and others were ready to run right out for some bacon to add to theirs. One thing we agree on for sure – bacon makes everything better!
Today we’re making another salad, but this one is a hearty pasta salad that serves as a meal by itself. It hits all the major points – protein, veggies, pasta. On top of that, it’s just downright yummy!
This recipe was given to me many years ago by a co-worker, when I worked at our local community college. My husband loves it and is always happy to make a meal of it. That’s a big bonus for me.
Are you ready? Here we go!
First, gather up your ingredients as shown above. Cooked chicken breasts, hard-boiled eggs, celery, carrots, green pepper, onion, and pasta. Simple, fresh, and you’ll probably have most of these on hand.
You can cook your chicken any way you like. I prefer to grill or roast mine – I love the extra flavor it gives the chicken and consequently, the salad. If you’re short on time, pick up a roasted chicken from the supermarket. It’s tasty and quick.
After the chicken is cooked and the eggs are boiled, the rest is a snap. I will get the pasta cooking and then start chopping the veggies. By the time I’m finished chopping, the pasta is ready. Drain the pasta, let it cool for a few minutes, then toss everything together in a large bowl.
Now it’s time to make the dressing. Three simple ingredients – mayo, Italian dressing, lemon juice. Add some salt & pepper and the dressing is made.
Now, when you are pouring the dressing on the salad you might be tempted to not use it all because it does look like a lot. But trust me, add it all and stir it up really good. The pasta will soak it up as it cools and it won’t be too much at all.
Stir everything together, put in the fridge to get cold, and dinner is ready!
Here’s the official recipe:
Chicken Pasta Salad
3 or 4 cooked chicken breasts
6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, shredded or chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cups cooked pasta
2 cups mayonnaise
8 oz Italian dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
As I mentioned in the Bacon Potato Salad recipe, I rarely follow a recipe as written. You all do that too, right? So now I’ll tell you the way I really make this salad. 🙂
I buy shredded carrots instead of whole carrots that need chopped. Saves me time.
I never use 5 stalks of celery. I think that’s a lot, and it’s not my favorite food. I’m happy with just using 3 or 4. It depends on how much chopping I really want to do.
The recipe doesn’t call for onion but I usually always add some. Because, like bacon, onion makes everything better!
We also add cherry tomatoes to the salad, but wait until it’s served to add them. I like to slice those little gems in half so they’re easier to eat, and I don’t want them to make the salad runny/wet with tomato juices.
I never measure 3 cups cooked pasta. I use a pound box of shells and cook the entire box. My hubby is happy to eat this for a couple days, so I make sure there is plenty for him to enjoy.
Because of the extra pasta, I make extra dressing to stir in as needed. Speaking of dressing, you can use low-fat or fat-free options if you’d like. I will do that when making the salad for home. If taking it to a gathering I will use the full fat version because I figure we’re eating less of it. Just do what makes you happy!
I hope you enjoy this pasta salad as much as my family does. If you were making this recipe, are there any changes or additions you would make? I’d love to hear!