This Chicken Bow Tie Pasta Salad recipe is a hearty and super easy lunch for work! It has all your favorites like grilled chicken, crunchy veggies, and creamy poppy seed dressing.
Pasta salad can be made with any type of pasta, such as macaroni or penne. It’s almost always mixed with vegetables and sometimes meat in an oil and vinegar salad dressing.
What makes cold pasta salad so delicious is the dressing has a chance to soak into the pasta. And because the pasta is cold, it stays firm and doesn’t get soggy!
This colorful chicken bowtie pasta salad is the perfect summer meal when it’s just too hot to cook. Use grilled chicken, or a store-bought rotisserie chicken if you really don’t feel like turning on the stove.
I’ll teach you how to make the tastiest chicken bow tie pasta salad with this easy recipe!
All About The Chicken Bow Tie Pasta Salad Ingredients
Bow Tie Pasta
Bow tie pasta is known as “farfalle” in Italian. This means butterflies and refers to the pasta’s winged shape.
Bow tie pasta is created by cutting fresh pasta into rectangles and pinching the middle. Bow tie pasta is popular enough that you can find it at any grocery store.
This pasta shape is popular for red and white sauce pasta, as well as a cold chicken pasta salad. You can even use bow tie pasta to make a unique pasta soup!
Dressings help enhance the flavor of a salad, whether it’s a green salad or a chicken pasta salad. Every cuisine has its own variation of salad dressing, making it a universal ingredient.
It’s easy to make your own salad dressing with just a bit of oil, vinegar, and herbs. But you can also buy pre-packaged salad dressing at the grocery store.
This recipe uses poppy seed dressing, which is sweet, tangy, and creamy. It goes perfectly with the chicken and I like it because it’s not too oily.
Vegetables add freshness and crunch to your bow tie pasta salad. The options are limitless, but there are some vegetables I consider must-haves.
Celery provides juiciness and crunch to your salad. The flavor isn’t too imposing, so it goes with any combination of ingredients and dressing.
On top of this, celery is also full of fiber and does a great job of absorbing the salad dressing. This is one vegetable you can’t swap out for another!
Lettuce is the star of green salads, but can also be used to add color and texture to pasta salad. It has a mild grassy flavor and a crisp juiciness that helps freshen up any dish.
Romaine is the best type of lettuce for this recipe. It has a nice crunch to it, and it won’t wilt as easily as leafy greens like spinach.
Although more uncommon, crisp fruits make an excellent addition to pasta salads. The balance of juiciness, sweetness, and crunchiness from the fruits and savory dressing is perfect.
If you like a hint of sweetness in your pasta salad, sliced grapes are a great choice. They’re juicy, a little tart, and just sweet enough to add interest.
You can also add dried grapes (raisins) if you prefer their chewy texture.
Pineapple is known for its tart flavor and intense sweetness. It’s a standout ingredient in Asian cuisine and is used in both desserts and savory dishes.
The sweetness from pineapple contrasts nicely with the chicken in this pasta salad. You can use fresh pineapple, or canned diced pineapple if you want to save time.
Chicken breast is a healthy, lean meat and is versatile enough to use in a wide range of recipes. If you buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts there’s no prep required either, just cook your chicken as is!
Chicken breast can be prepared in a multitude of ways, from seasoned and barbecued to baked or sautéed. The chicken in this recipe is pan-fried, which is one of the quickest ways to prepare chicken.
Easy Tips for the Best Chicken Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- Make this dish a day ahead for the best flavors! The pasta, vegetables, and chicken will absorb more of the dressing, leading to a more flavorful salad.
- Cook your bow tie pasta until it is “al dente” or firm. Since the pasta will be soaked in dressing, this will keep it from getting soggy.
- Rinse your pasta with cold water after it’s done boiling. This will stop the cooking process and ensure your pasta stays al dente!
Chicken Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe
- Prep Time15 min
- Cook Time12 min
- Total Time1h27 min
Chilling: 1 h
- Cook the Bow Tie Pasta
Follow the cooking directions on the package of bow tie noodles. Cook until al dente, then drain using a colander.
Rinse the pasta in cold water and set aside.
- Fry the Chicken Breast
Rub lemon juice over the chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil.
Cook chicken breasts for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove chicken from the skillet and slice into ½-inch pieces.
- Slice Grapes
Wash the grapes and cherry tomatoes under running water. Halve the grapes and set them aside with the tomatoes.
- Chop Lettuce and Celery
Wash the lettuce and celery and pat dry. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Drain the Pineapple
Drain the diced pineapple using a mesh strainer. Set aside.
- Mix Vegetables, Fruit, Chicken, and Pasta
Add the drained pasta noodles, sliced chicken, vegetables, and fruit to a large bowl.
- Add Salad Dressing
Pour the poppy seed salad dressing over top of the ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Chill then Serve
Cover the bowl with cling wrap. Place chicken salad in the refrigerator for 1 hour for the flavors to marinate, then serve.
Easy Variations for Chicken Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- I used poppy seed dressing for this recipe because I find the sweet and tangy flavors go well with chicken. But feel free to use whichever dressing you like—they’ll all taste good! Some of my favorite alternative dressings are Italian, ranch, coleslaw dressing, and balsamic vinaigrette. If you like fruity flavors, you can even use raspberry vinaigrette!
- For a hint of salt, you can also add your favorite cheese. A touch of parmesan or cubed cheddar cheese are both excellent options.
- If you like a little crunch, try adding toasted chopped walnuts or slivered almonds. For a bit more savoriness you can also garnish with some chopped green onions.
How to Store and Freeze Chicken Bow Tie Pasta Salad
You can safely store bowtie chicken pasta salad in the refrigerator for up to five days. Do not freeze this dish, as the creamy salad dressing will separate when thawed.
You can store cooked pasta and vegetables separately in the refrigerator. Then, simply thaw and add your meat and dressing.
Cooked pasta will keep in the freezer for 2 months. Cooked vegetables will keep for approximately 12 months.
- 39.4g Fat
- 44.8g Carbs