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This quick and easy pasta salad with chicken is the perfect pasta recipe for an easy meal prep lunch to even a summer bbq.
My husband and kids are huge pasta lovers. They could eat it every day if I made it for them. Even after going gluten-free, their (and my) love for pasta didn't go away. Thankfully, the gluten-free pasta has gotten a ton better over the years, and now no one can even tell when I make something with gluten-free pasta.
Cold pasta salad is one thing our oldest asks for a lot. She will eat all kinds of leftover pasta dishes right from the fridge. So making her a cold pasta salad she could take to school in her lunchbox was a no-brainer for me. Needless to say, once I started making it for her, she kept requesting it.
What makes this pasta salad so good?
- Easy to make.
- Simple Ingredients
- This is not your mayonaise baseb maccaroni salas.
- It can be made ahead of time.
- Perfect for meal prep but delicious enough to serve at your summer bbqs.
- Leave out the chicken and make it vegetarian if you prefer.
- Gluten-free Pasta
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Bell Pepper
- Red Onion
- Black Olives
- Parmesan Cheese
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Let's make some pasta salad!
- Cook and drain your pasta.
- Cook your chicken and set it aside.
- Dice the cucumber, bell pepper, olives, tomatoes and red onion.
- Once the pasta is cooked and slightly cooled toss the chicken and veggies into the pasta.
- Add the parmesan cheese and dressing.
- Toss the pasta salad together and let it chill until you are ready to serve.
Tips and Tricks
For this pasta salad, I prefer to use a smaller gluten-free pasta. Avoid anything very thick or long. I prefer something like the Barilla gluten-free elbow pasta for this recipe.
I cook gluten-free pasta in more water than it calls for because it tends to soak up more water than regular pasta. Be sure to salt the pasta water. I add 1-2 minutes of cooking time to the pasta for this recipe because gluten-free pasta stiffens up more than regular pasta once it cools down. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process.
The only dairy in this recipe is the parmesan cheese. Parmesan is naturally lower in lactose, but if you want to leave it out, you can substitute it with your favorite dairy-free cheese.
Yes, it can; just leave out the chicken or sub in your favorite alternative.
This is completely up to you. I've used leftover rotisserie chicken in this before, and it's delicious. If I make chicken, I like to dice it small and then cook it in a skillet with a little bit of salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and parsley until it's cooked through.
The best way to store and serve this salad.
- Store the pasta salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.
- This pasta salad is best served cold. I like to leave it in the fridge for at least thirty minutes before serving. I actually prefer it served the next day.
- This recipe makes the perfect make-ahead meal, portion it out and store it in the fridge to eat all week.
- If I make it ahead of time, I like to reserve some of the dressing to toss on it right before serving since gluten-free pasta tends to soak up more liquids.
- This pasta does not hae any mayonaise in it but I would not leave out at room temperature longer than two hours.
What to serve with.
You can easily make this pasta salad a main dish. It also goes great as an easy party dish or side dish at all your summer BBQs.
More salads to love.
Gluten-free Cold Pasta Salad with Chicken
- 1 12 Ounce Box Gluten-free Pasta Small variety.
- 2 Cups Cooked Chicken Diced
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes Diced
- 2 Cups Bell Pepper of Choice Diced
- 2 Cups English Cucumber Diced
- 1 Cup Red Onion Diced
- 2 Cups Black Olives Diced
- 1 ½ Cups Parmesan Cheese Shredded
- 1-2 Cups Italian Dressing of Choice
- Cook and drain the pasta and set it aside.1 12 Ounce Box Gluten-free Pasta
- Cook and dice the chicken as needed and set it aside.2 Cups Cooked Chicken
- Dice the remaining veggies.2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, 2 Cups English Cucumber, 1 Cup Red Onion, 2 Cups Black Olives, 2 Cups Bell Pepper of Choice
- Once the pasta has cooled toss it with the chicken, diced veggies and cheese.1 ½ Cups Parmesan Cheese
- Drizzle in the salad dressing a little at a time until desired coating.1-2 Cups Italian Dressing of Choice
- Let the pasta salad chill for at least thirty minutes before serving.