Italian Chicken Pasta Salad
This pasta salad is easy, ready in 20 minutes, and showcases some of my favorite (summer) ingredients.
However, I eat tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil year-round. Love them.
That’s my go-to trifecta for salads, but everything just tastes so much better in the summer. There’s flavor and texture galore in every bite of this dish.
Tender chicken, al dente pasta, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, the peppery bite of basil, salty parmesan cheese, all perfumed with lemon juice, lemon zest, and Italian seasoning.
It’s healthy, perfect for busy nights, and makes a big enough batch that you can have some planned leftovers for work or school lunches.
You can serve it warm or chilled and since there’s no mayo, it’s great for potlucks, picnics, and parties.
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad
This pasta salad is easy, ready in 20 minutes, and showcases some of my favorite ingredients. There's flavor and texture galore in every bite of this dish. Tender chicken, al dente pasta, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, the peppery bite of basil, salty parmesan cheese, all perfumed with lemon juice, lemon zest, and Italian seasoning. It’s healthy, perfect for busy nights, and makes a big enough batch that you can have planned leftovers for work or school lunches. You can serve it warm or chilled and since there's no mayo, it's great for potlucks, picnics, and parties.
Yield: serves 4 to 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 12 ounces rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions (I used tri-color rotini)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauce + 1 tablespoon for cooking chicken
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- about 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced (cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half, or your favorite tomatoes may be substituted)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves (laid loosely in measuring cup), sliced thinly
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, or more if desired
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
- To a medium bowl or large measuring cup, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice (zest the lemon before juicing it), apple cider vinegar, honey, Italian seasoning, lemon lest, salt, pepper, and whisk to combine; set sauce aside.
- To a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, add chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Chicken should be about 90% cooked through.
- Add the sauce and allow it to bubble at a medium-fast boil for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until sauce has reduced some and chicken is cooked through. Stir sauce and flip chicken intermittently throughout. Add chicken and any cooking liquid to the pasta bowl.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, cucumber, cheese, and toss gently to combine. Taste and check for seasoning balance, making any necessary adjustments (more Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne, splash of lemon juice, etc.) before serving. Will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve cold or reheat gently prior to serving if desired.
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Smoky Chicken, Peppers, and Spinach Pasta Salad – Juicy chicken, crisp bell peppers and pasta with smoked paprika! Fast, easy, healthy and a hit with everyone! Great for picnics, potlucks, or easy weeknight dinners!
Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad – Big juicy chicken chunks and texture galore from the rainbow of crispy veggies! Fast, easy, fresh and healthy! Great for picnics, potlucks, and easy dinners!
Chicken Teriyaki and Vegetable Bowtie Pasta – Juicy chicken coated in teriyaki sauce with crisp, crunchy veggies! Healthy, easy, 20 minute meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights!
Sweet and Tangy Jerk Chicken with Caramelized Pineapple and Mango – Easy and ready in 15 minutes! Dinner that tastes like a tropical vacation is a guaranteed hit!
Honey Lemon Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll love the tangy-sweet flavor! A healthy weeknight dinner for those busy nights!
Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Kabobs – Juicy chicken and crisp vegetables coated in a sweet-and-tangy sauce!! Great for parties or easy weeknight dinners! Everything tastes better grilled!
Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing – Fast, easy, fresh and healthy!! All your favorite taco flavors in one big kickin’ salad that everyone will love!
Cilantro Lime Chicken with Mixed Rice and Black Beans – Easy, one skillet, 15-minute meal! Tons of textures and bold flavors in every bite! The lime makes this dish just POP!
Lighter Chicken Salad – Hello to easy, flavorful, healthier chicken salad! Goodbye mayo, hidden fat, and empty calories! You’ll never miss them in this fresh twist on the classic!
One-Skillet Orange Chicken with Vegetables – Easy, ready in 15 minutes, healthy (no breading, no frying), and the orange flavor just POPS! Perfect for busy weeknights, a family favorite, and you’ll make this over and over!