Skinny Italian Chicken Pasta Salad
This post may contain affiliate links.
Skinny Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, feeds a crowd, and is on the SKINNY side!! Juicy chicken, fresh veggies, and the pasta are tossed in a light and tangy homemade Italian lemon vinaigrette!!
Pasta isn’t inherently the skinniest of foods. Just putting that out there so I don’t have to field a thousand emails telling me this.
Why Call It ‘Skinny’ Pasta Salad
But if you’re going to partake in pasta, it feels better when there’s an abundance of fresh vegetables along with lean protein.
And there’s the notable absence of cheese or a creamy sauce or dressing. And in the place of those ingredients, there’s a light but peppy, homemade, Italian-inspired vinaigrette that lightly coats and flavors everything.
And that’s exactly what this skinnier pasta salad has going for it. Veggies, lean protein, no cheese or heavy sauces.
What’s In The Pasta Salad
There’s tender chicken, fresh broccoli, orange bell peppers, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, green onions, mint, and al dente pasta.
I used rotini but bowtie, ziti, or your favorite small pasta shapes may be substituted.
What’s In The Vinaigrette
The vinaigrette is made with lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, Italian seasoning, and a bit of olive oil.
Add it to the pan you’re cooking the chicken in and let it simmer for just a minute so that the flavors can really marry together. Heat has a way of helping flavors develop in a way that just mixing them together in a bowl does not.
Feeds A Crowd – Potlucks, Picnics, Parties, Planned Leftovers
This salad makes a ton and can feed a crowd. I like to think of the four P’s: potlucks, picnics, parties, and planned leftovers.
The leftovers keep beautifully and if you’re looking for easy lunches or no-brainer dinners for the week, it’s a perfect recipe. If you don’t need as much, you can always halve the recipe.
You can serve it warm and fresh right away or chill it and serve it later.
Since there’s no mayo, it’s great for potlucks, picnics, and parties.
It’s also a very flexible recipe. Don’t have broccoli on hand but have sugar snap peas? Make the easy swap. Your kids aren’t a fan of bell peppers but will eat carrots? Go for it. Use what you have on hand and enjoy.
Other favorite pasta salads:
- BLT Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 15 minutes, feeds a crowd, and perfect for potlucks and parties! Creamy ranch dressing perfectly coats the pasta and bacon! Guaranteed family favorite!
- Taco Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with great Mexican-inspired ingredients including corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and more! Perfect for picnics, parties, and potlucks!
- 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!
- Club Sandwich Pasta Salad – All your favorite club sandwich ingredients in an easy pasta salad! Turkey, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese with ranch! Ready in 15 minutes and perfect for potlucks, picnics, and parties!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauce + 2 tablespoons for cooking chicken
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 heaping tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (does not make it spicy but adds lots of flavor)
- 12 ounces rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions in salted water (bowtie or ziti may be substituted)
- about 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced small
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, (your favorite tomatoes may be substituted)
- 1 cup cucumber, diced small
- 2 or 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
- optional fresh herbs such as basil, mint, etc., finely chopped and to taste
- 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, optional cayenne, and whisk to combine; set sauce aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, place in an extra-large bowl; set aside. While pasta is cooking, also cook the chicken.
- To a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, 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.
- Add the sauce and allow it to bubble at a medium-fast boil for about 1 minute. Stir sauce and flip chicken intermittently throughout.
- Add the chicken and the sauce to the pasta bowl.
- Add the broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, optional fresh herbs (I had mint on hand and added about 3 tablespoons), and toss very well to combine. Taste and check for seasoning balance, making any necessary adjustments (more Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, extra olive oil, extra cayenne, splash of lemon juice, etc.) before serving. Salad may be served immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled. Salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 691mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 22g
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthy! Bursting with fresh flavors from juicy tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parmesan, and tender chicken tossed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette!
Club Sandwich Pasta Salad – All your favorite club sandwich ingredients in an easy pasta salad! Turkey, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese with ranch! Ready in 15 minutes and perfect for potlucks, picnics, and parties!
Garden Fresh Tortellini Pasta Salad – Juicy tomatoes, cucumbers and corn with creamy avocado, basil and parmesan tossed in lemon vinaigrette with cheese tortellini! Healthy, easy, ready in 15 minutes!
Taco Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with great Mexican-inspired ingredients including corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and more! Perfect for picnics, parties, and potlucks!
BLT Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 15 minutes, feeds a crowd, and perfect for potlucks and parties! Creamy ranch dressing perfectly coats the pasta and bacon! Guaranteed family favorite!
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!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.