With all of the hot weather recently I have really been enjoying cold pasta salads, especially ones that eat like a meal, like this BBQ chicken pasta salad! The idea behind pasta salads is that it’s a salad with a base of pasta that’s been cooked and then cooled before adding the rest of the salads ingredients. This pasta salad stars grilled BBQ chicken followed by bacon, bell pepper, corn, beans, and onions. The dressing for pasta salads is often creamy, with a base of mayonnaise, and in this case it’s a combination of mayonnaise and BBQ sauce. This BBQ chicken pasta salad is great either as a side dish or as meal by itself and it’s just as amazing when served with the chicken still warm from the grill or after the salad has been chilled in the fridge. I like to make a large batch to have leftovers for several days and I usually eat it while it’s still cool from the fridge!
I sometimes like to change this recipe up a bit and some amazing ideas are: adding tomato, adding avocado, adding ranch seasoning to the dressing, adding cheese, topping with corn chips!
BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad
A quick and easy pasta salad with BBQ chicken and bacon in a creamy BBQ sauce dressing!
- 1 pound pasta (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces (optional)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup black beans
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- Cook the pasta as directed on the package, drain, mix with olive oil and let cool, mixing every 5 minutes. (The oil and mixing helps prevent it from sticking together while it cools.)
- Meanwhile cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste, and grill (or pan fry), over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side, before setting aside to cool, basting with BBQ sauce and slicing into bite sized pieces.
- Assemble salad with the pasta, bacon, chicken, bell pepper, corn, beans, onion.
- Mix the BBQ sauce and mayo to make the dressing.
- Toss the salad and dressing along with the cilantro and green onions and enjoy!
Tip: Cook the chicken and bacon the day before.
Option: Add diced avocado!
Option: Add diced tomatoes!
Option: Add 1 packet ranch seasoning to the dressing! (Or add: 1/2 teaspoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon chives, 1/2 teaspoon dill, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder)
Option: Add shredded cheddar cheese!
Option: Top with crunchy corn chips!
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