BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

A quick and easy pasta salad with barbecued chicken and bacon in a creamy barbecue sauce dressing!
With all the warm weather I’ve been enjoying cold pasta salads a lot lately, especially those eaten as a meal, like this barbecue chicken pasta salad! The idea behind pasta salads is that it is a salad with a pasta base that has been cooked and then cooled before adding the rest of the salad ingredients. This pasta salad is a grilled chicken, followed by bacon, paprika, corn, beans, and onions. The dressing for the pasta salads is usually creamy, with a base of mayonnaise, and in this case, it is a combination of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. This barbecue chicken pasta salad is great as a side dish or as a meal on its own and is just as great when served with the chicken still warm from the grill or after the salad has cooled in the fridge. I love to make a great batch to have leftovers for several days and I usually eat it while it’s still fresh from the fridge!

Sometimes I like to change this recipe a bit and some great ideas are: add tomato, add avocado, add ranch spices to the dressing, add cheese, cover with corn chips!

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Servings: 12

A quick and easy pasta salad with BBQ chicken and bacon in a creamy BBQ sauce dressing!

  • 1 pound pasta (gluten-free for gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the package, drain, mix with olive oil and let cool, mixing every 5 minutes. (The oil and mixing help prevent it from sticking together while it cools.)
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste, and grill (or pan fry), over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side, before setting aside to cool, basting with BBQ sauce, and slicing into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Assemble salad with pasta, bacon, chicken, bell pepper, corn, beans, onion.
  5. Mix the BBQ sauce and mayo to make the dressing.
  6. Toss the salad and dressing along with the cilantro and green onions and enjoy!

Option: Season the chicken with your favorite chicken seasoning in place of salt and pepper.
Tip: Cook the chicken and bacon the day before.
Option: Add diced avocado!
Option: Add diced tomatoes!
Option: Add 1 packet ranch seasoning to the dressing! (Or add: 1/2 teaspoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon chives, 1/2 teaspoon dill, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder)
Option: Add shredded cheddar cheese!
Option: Top with crunchy corn chips!

Nutrition Facts: Calories 313, Fat 11g (Saturated 2g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 36mg, Sodium 233mg, Carbs 46g (Fiber 4g, Sugars 6g), Protein 18g

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