Chicken Cobb Pasta Salad – an easy side dish for summer parties, picnics, potlucks and BBQ’s. Made with bacon, cucumbers, grilled chicken, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and a homemade ranch dressing.
AN EASY COLD CHICKEN PASTA SALAD RECIPE
Cobb Salads are one of my favorite salads and this Grilled Chicken Cobb Pasta Salad combines all of those classic components. It’s full of flavor and loaded with avocado, bacon, cheese, chicken, eggs, tomatoes and rotini pasta. It comes together quickly in under 30 minutes and is perfect for summer entertaining.
The great thing about salads is that they are so easy to customize. To save on time, you can also use leftover or rotisserie chicken or leave it out entirely if you like.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN COBB PASTA SALAD:
- Start off by seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil and lemon.
- For the hard boiled eggs, I usually like to make a large batch using this method to keep on hand during the week for breakfast or to add to my salads.
- Cook and crumble the bacon then grill the chicken.
- Prepare and assemble the remaining salad ingredients starting with the lettuce plus any other greens you like. Add cooked and drained pasta, hard boiled eggs, grape tomatoes, cucumber, crumbled bacon and feta.
- Add any other toppings you like then drizzle with some creamy ranch dressing right before serving.
EASY SWAPS FOR THIS SALAD:
- Use leftover cooked chicken or chopped rotisserie chicken to cut down on the prep time
- Feel free to leave out the pasta to keep this grain free or use penne or farfalle instead of rotini
- Swap in your favorite vegetables or cheese
- To make this extra quick, use your favorite brand of dressing
CAN CREAMY PASTA SALADS BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, you get the best flavors when you allow the flavors of the dressing and the pasta to meld anywhere from a few hours to a day or two ahead of time
WHAT INGREDIENTS TO PUT IN A PASTA SALAD?
The beauty of a great pasta salad is that you can truly make it your own invention. Here are some popular options:
- Pasta – medium cuts of pasta like rotini, farfalle, or penne
- Vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, olives etc.
- Fruit – strawberries, blueberries, apples, watermelon etc.
- Protein – cheese, shredded chicken, tuna, turkey, diced ham, etc.
- Dressing – Greek, Italian, poppyseed, balsamic
Have fun and mix and match to create a pasta salad you love!
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING CHICKEN COBB PASTA SALAD:
- Use fresh and quality ingredients if possible. Adding some garden herbs helps to liven the flavors up even more.
- Cook your pasta to al dente, according to the package directions. Each shape of pasta has a different cooking time, so check the package for the exact time. Once finished cooking, drain and toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Toss a little bit of the homemade ranch dressing with the cooled al dente pasta then again with the remainder of the ingredients before serving the pasta absorbs the flavors
Chicken Cobb Pasta Salad - an easy side dish for summer parties, picnics, potlucks and BBQ's. Made with bacon, cucumbers, grilled chicken, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and a homemade ranch dressing.
- 1 ½ cups dry rotini pasta leave out for a grain free version or you can also use penne or farfalle)
- 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness (can also use rotisserie chicken)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups chopped mixed green lettuce
- 3 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
- 6 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cucumber sliced in rounds or chopped
- ½ cup crumbled feta or blue cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chives
- Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon each)
- 1/4 - 1/3 buttermilk or almond milk plus more as needed to thin out sauce to desired consistency
- In a resealable zip-top bag, add chicken, salt, pepper and garlic and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cool water, and set aside in a large bowl.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Remove the chicken from the grill and tent with foil. Let it rest and cool a bit for about 10 minutes and then slice or chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing (add liquid as needed to thin out sauce to desired consistency). Drizzle 2 tablespoons over the cooked pasta.
- In a large bowl, add the lettuce, then top with cooked pasta, eggs, avocado, bacon, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese. Drizzle with dressing right before serving.