This Chicken Pasta Salad Will Be a Guaranteed Hit at the Potluck
2024/02/22

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This chicken pasta salad combines two iconic deli lunches— and Ree Drummond's oh so creamy –to make the perfect chilled . Filled with shreds of delicious (and convenient!) rotisserie chicken, crisp vegetables, and pasta, this dish will be welcome at any cookout, barbecue, or in a lunch box! Serve it on butter lettuce leaves for an elegant presentation, or just scoop it onto your plate and dive right in!

What's in chicken pasta salad?

Similar to chicken salad, this pasta salad version has all the classic ingredients such as chicken, celery, grapes, and fresh herbs. The dressing, made from yogurt and mayonnaise, is the perfect creamy binder for the whole dish.

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The finishing garnish of toasted almonds gives this tender salad a nice crunch.

Should you rinse pasta after cooking for pasta salad?

Absolutely! Once the pasta is done boiling, drain it, then rinse it with cold water. This helps stop the cooking process so the pasta doesn't become mushy, but it also helps rinse away the starchy film so the pasta doesn't stick together in clumps.

What kind of chicken do you use in chicken pasta salad?

This recipe calls for three cups of rotisserie chicken which can easily be picked off of a standard deli-roasted bird. It is one of the most convenient and tasty ingredients at the market! If your family prefers all white meat, get two rotisserie chickens and use just the breasts.

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(Save the  thighs for another recipe!)

What's the best pasta for chicken pasta salad?

You can use just about any pasta in this recipe, but short pasta shapes like penne, fusilli, and cavatappi tend to work best in this salad for the perfect bite.

What is the easiest way to shred chicken? 

Start by breaking the bird into pieces and removing the skin. You could use two forks to shred the meat, but it's even easier to control the size of the shreds when you use nature’s tool: your hands! Reserve the bones for delicious homemade .

How do you avoid dry pasta salad?

Nothing is worse than digging into a pasta salad only to find that the pasta is dry or sticking together.

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Of course the salad could be underdressed, but if the instructions are followed, that shouldn’t be the issue. The culprit of dry pasta salad is often undercooked pasta. Finishing a perfectly cooked, al dente pasta in a warm, satiny sauce is a joyful experience, indeed. However, in the case of a cold salad, under-cooked pasta absorbs too much liquid as it sits. This produces a dry mess instead of creamy perfection. Simply cook the pasta for one minute longer than the package suggests and enjoy! 

1 lb.

penne pasta

1 c.

plain yogurt (not Greek)

3/4 c.

mayonnaise

2 tbsp.

grainy dijon mustard

1 tsp.

lemon zest

2 tbsp.

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lemon juice

1 tsp.

kosher salt

1/2 tsp.

ground black pepper

1/4 tsp.

cayenne pepper

3 c.

shredded rotisserie chicken

3

celery stalks, chopped

4

green onions, thinly sliced

2 c.

red grapes, halved

3/4 c.

chopped fresh parsley

1/4 c.

fresh dill

1/2 c.

sliced almonds, toasted

Butter lettuce, to serve

Step  1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for one minute longer than package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and let cool. Step  2 In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Fold in the pasta, chicken, celery, green onion, grapes, parsley, and dill. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Step  3 Sprinkle the salad with almonds before serving on butter lettuce, if you like.

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