Chicken Pasta Salad

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is one of those few recipes that I can truly call my own. It's colorful, it's easy, it's good. How good is it? Let's just say it's in the top 5 of every single one of my kids' favorite meal list. If that hasn't convinced you to try it yet, did I also mention it's chock full of fresh vegetables? And that it's easy to make?

Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:
1 lb. cooked, shredded chicken (I usually use a 12-ounce can of chicken)
1 lb. cooked rotini noodles (or bow tie)
2 heads broccoli, finely chopped (the smaller the better)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/3 onion, chopped
1 can sliced olives
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 cup ranch dressing (don't skip this--it's what holds it all together)

Italian Dressing:
2 envelopes dry Italian dressing mix
6 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
4-1/2 Tbs. water
3/4 cup oil (you can reduce this some)

Combine cooled chicken, chopped vegetables, and olives. Set aside. Whisk together Italian dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables and chicken. Mix together. Add ranch dressing and cheese and fold together. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving (I usually am not organized enough to do this and it still gets devoured). Serves 8 - 10.

*This is one of those meals that's actually even better as leftovers. My kids beg for me to put it in their lunches.


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Denise January 15, 2009 at 5:18 PM  

Hi Lara. This recipe is DELICOUS. Thanks so much for sharing.

I am enjoying being inspired by all your recipes.

And just as side note, not that you need to know, but 1 cup of this is 3 weight watchers points (I reduced the oil to 1/2 a cup). I am really hoping the kids will like this!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life June 26, 2010 at 2:47 AM  

Do you mix the ranch dressing with the Italian dressing mix? I wish I had found this recipe before I made dinner. It was one of Pioneer Woman's recipes, had a lot of the same ingredients and we hated it! I will try this for sure. As soon as I can figure out where to put that ranch dressing.

Lara June 26, 2010 at 7:30 AM  

Lynne, I always add the ranch dressing and cheese very last after all the other ingredients (the chicken, the vegetables, and the Italian dressing) have been combined. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we have.

By the way, I recommend chopping the broccoli and the pepper as finely as possible. I think it makes it more palatable to the kids.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life June 26, 2010 at 8:06 PM  

Laura, thanks so much. I am going to try it this week. The family will be so delighted after yesterday's fiasco. Oh my. Sometimes you just make bad food. I'm so glad I've found you to help bring delicious things to the table. Thanks for the great blog!

Jane February 7, 2011 at 9:40 PM  

I made this last week and it was THE best pasta salad I have had, thank you so much for sharing so many wonderful recipes! I have been following your blog for a very long time then, coincidentaly, my sister Katie moved into your ward and has told me what an amazing cook you are. I am going to blog this recipe tomorrow and I will surely link back to you. Thanks again!

oliemommy March 21, 2011 at 6:33 PM  

I just found your food blog and have enjoyed looking at your recipes.
This chicken pasta salad is my new favorite pasta salad. So wonderful and will make a great salad for warm weather. Thanks so much for sharing.


Rebekah April 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

I've saved this in my AllRecipes folder ( and can't wait to try it - I put it on the menu for this weekend! :)

Jess June 7, 2011 at 6:03 PM  

How did you know I was looking for a good pasta salad recipe??? This one looks awesome and we will definitely be putting it on the menu this week! Thank you!!
PS. Longtime reader, first time commenter. I am a friend of Kristina's--my husband went to law school with Tom.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life June 8, 2011 at 2:44 AM  

It's me again. I've made this twice now. I couldn't believe my daughter would devour a salad with bell peppers and broccoli but she loved it. So did my husband. I made a double batch today so I could take half to a Relief Society pot luck. Very little of it made it home. Elizabeth added some balsamic vinegar and garlic powder and Parmesan cheese to a bowl tonight and she thought it was great. Either way it is a wonderful recipe. Congratulations.

By the way,I've looked everywhere for two days for this recipe. I couldn't remember whose blog it was on and then this morning I remembered. The brain really does store everything.

Thanks again for you great blog and for you willingness to share. Take a bow! I'm the one applauding.

Bonnie June 24, 2011 at 2:24 PM  

This looks delicious! I featured you on my blog today! Thanks for sharing :)

Judy July 5, 2011 at 10:49 AM  

It kind of wigs me out that you mix Italian dressing and ranch dressing in the same recipe. Does it really taste good?

Polly @ Pieces by Polly September 22, 2011 at 12:10 AM  

I have a question for you add the ranch dressing AND the dressing that you include in the recipe? This looks delicious!

Lara January 1, 2012 at 5:45 PM  

Yes, this tastes good...even with the Italian and ranch dressings mixed together. It is a long-time family favorite of ours!

Anonymous,  May 10, 2012 at 4:44 PM  

This was SO good. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous,  May 21, 2012 at 5:03 PM  

At what point do you add the pasta? Is the pasta refrigerated with the other ingredients?

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About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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