In this post, we’ll show you how to make Chicken Bowtie Pasta Salad. This creamy, crunchy, and hearty salad is perfect for a side dish or light meal. It’s colorful and contains grapes, pineapple, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, red onion, cubed chicken, and more!
Before starting this recipe, you’ll want to verify that you have the following ingredients:
Bowtie pasta – provides a cute shape, but you can use another shape if you’d prefer.
Chicken – We cooked our white meat chicken in the skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil, salt, and pepper.
Salt & pepper – To flavor the white meat chicken.
Oil – We used olive oil to cook the chicken.
Celery – provides a nice crunch.
Red onion – balances the sweet flavors.
Mandarin oranges – (canned); drained. Provides texture and sweetness
Pineapple – (canned); drained. Provides texture and sweetness
Red grapes – halved, provides texture and sweetness
Coleslaw dressing – sweet, and tangy to bind all the ingredients and create a creamy texture. We used the Marie’s brand.
Green onion – garnish
Dried cranberries – garnish
Pecans – crunchy garnish
Equipment and Supplies Needed
We used the following equipment and supplies to make this recipe. Items that are optional or can be substituted will be noted.
- chef knife – to chop veggies, and fruit.
- cutting board – for chopping veggies, and slicing fruit/chicken.
- 6-quart stockpot – for cooking pasta
- colander – for straining pasta, or cleaning fruit.
- large skillet – to cook chicken.
- tongs – for cooking chicken.
- mixing bowl – for mixing salad together
- wooden spoon – to use for mixing the salad.
- storage container – for any leftovers
This recipe is easy to make if you know the right tips and tricks! Here are my tips for ensuring your dish comes out perfectly.
I order to get the most flavor out of the chicken, pan fry it. Slice 1 large white meat chicken cutlet lengthwise into 3 pieces for quicker cooking. Season each side with salt & pepper before adding it to the skillet.
This method reduces cooking time drastically with each side taking only about 3 minutes. When done, the outer chicken will be seared and golden brown, and the inner chicken will be moist, and juicy.
The internal temperature of your chicken meat should read 165 degrees F. This is considered the safe temperature to consume chicken.
Rotisserie chicken is a lovely option as well. Simply remove any white or dark meat (minus the skin and bones) from your chicken. Once you have 2 cups of meat, you are good to go!
For this recipe, we used 12 ounces of bottle coleslaw dressing. However, you can also mix things up by using poppy seeds dressing. This will lighten the sugar content and make the salad a tad less creamy.
We decided on dried cranberries and pecans to garnish our salad because that is what we had on-hand. However, slivered almonds or chopped walnuts would be a great alternative. These Candied Walnuts would also be amazing and take only 5 minutes to prepare. Additionally, you can swap the dried cranberries for golden raisins.
If you want to store your Chicken Bowtie Pasta Salad in the refrigerator, just follow these easy steps.
- Scoop any leftovers into a large container with an airtight lid. This will last up to 5 days for best flavor in the refrigerator. It unfortunately does NOT freeze well.
- Be sure to mix the salad before serving to evenly coat the dressing. You may also want to add additional dried cranberries, or chopped pecans to the top to freshen it up.
Follow the recipe below to make Chicken Bowtie Pasta Salad! This recipe makes 16 servings, but you can adjust the recipe card for other serving sizes.
Chicken Bowtie Pasta Salad
- chef knife
- Cutting board
- 6-quart stockpot
- mixing spoon
- 12 ounces bowtie pasta
- 2 cups chicken (one large cutlet) cooked, cubed
- 1 tablespoon extra Virgin Olive Oil to cook chicken
- salt & pepper to season chicken
- 1 cup celery rough chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 2 cups red globe grapes halved
- 1 cup mandarin oranges canned; drained
- 1 cup golden pineapple canned; drained
- 12 ounces coleslaw dressing Marie's brand
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup pecans chopped
- 2 tablespoons green onion chopped
- Season chicken with black pepper, and salt.
- In a large skillet, add olive oil, and seasoned chicken. Cook chicken for 3-6 minutes per side over medium-low heat until internal temperatures reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside until cooled.
- Once cooled, cube chicken into bite-sized chunks.
- Bring a large pot of salted water (add 1 tablespoon of salt to 4 quarts of water) to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, and rinse with cold water; set aside.
- Rinse grapes with cool water to clean. Pat dry, and place grapes on a cutting board. Slice grapes in half.
- Dry cutting board and rough cut the celery into small pieces. Once done, dice the red onion, and set aside.
- Drain pineapples and mandarin oranges; set aside.
- Add all fruits, veggies, pasta, and chicken to a large mixing bowl. Add dressing and toss. Chill salad in the refrigerator for at least one hour to allow flavors to meld.
- Before serving, garnish with green onion, pecans, and dried cranberries.