Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad.

This simple pasta salad has the works! Bacon, crisp peppers, broccoli, feta cheese, grilled chicken, and tomatoes covered in a creamy buttermilk greek yogurt dressing. Easy, quick, and makes great leftovers.

Creamy Bacon Chicken Pasta Salad - we make this every week. It is SO good, especially when you get all that bacon and feta in one bite!

Hello hello! Welcome to my favorite “I don’t feel like actually cooking anything, so I’ll just put all leftovers into a bowl with pasta and broccoli” dinner.

Truth is, Kevin and I make this pasta salad on the regular in the summertime. Pasta + chicken + bacon + cheese + easy. There’s no way NOT to love it. And it all comes together with a tangy dressing that is impossible to pass up.

I don’t even really like pasta (I know, so weird), but I love this pasta salad. Maybe because there is more “stuff” in the salad than pasta. It is soooo good.

Creamy Bacon Chicken Pasta Salad that will have everyone begging for the recipe! All tossed together in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing. sallysbakingaddiction.com

Since it’s a little heavier and we are both watching what we eat before the wedding (besides dessert CLEARLY), I always serve this pasta salad with extra veggies on the side and then I mix it all together on the plate to make it look like it’s a bigger serving of pasta salad but it’s really just more vegetables. Did you even understand that run-on sentence?

Moving along.

I got this recipe idea from my mom. She makes a killer pasta salad in the summer with chicken, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, cheddar cheese (sometimes pepperjack… yum) and pasta. But living with Kevin, I obviously have to add bacon. And I switch up the cheese because I’m a fool for salty feta. And I add broccoli. And and and… I use a little greek yogurt in the dressing instead of all mayo. Can’t even tell the difference, trust me.

Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad

Creamy Bacon Chicken Pasta Salad that will have everyone begging for the recipe! All tossed together in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing. sallysbakingaddiction.com

We almost always have leftover chicken in the fridge – shredded, grilled, diced, whatever. Just use whatever you have on hand. I like to cook a bunch of chicken on Sundays and use it to make Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salads and this pasta salad during the week.

If it’s a vegetable and you have it on hand, you should throw it into this pasta salad. I’ve tried just about anything, and it always works. Like artichokes, olives, shredded carrots, leftover cooked spinach, diced cucumbers, chickpeas, you get the idea. Use whatever shape pasta you and the family like the most. I love fusilloni the best because it holds onto so much of the creamy dressing, little bacon bits, and feta cheese crumbles inside all the spirals.

The dressing! What a cinch. Even though there is already so much to love in this pasta salad (the chicken, the bacon, the fresh veggies), the dressing truly makes the whole dish come together. It’s naturally low fat as well. The base is low fat Greek yogurt and low fat buttermilk. Add a little mayo, fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon, a drop of white vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Tangy, lush, perfection.

If you don’t have Greek yogurt, sour cream is your best bet. And unfortunately, I have no recommendations for any substitutions for the buttermilk. I’ve tried it with regular milk and the dressing is lacking. For the best results, just follow the dressing recipe as written.

Creamy Bacon Chicken Pasta Salad that will have everyone begging for the recipe! All tossed together in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing. sallysbakingaddiction.com

Creamy Bacon Chicken Pasta Salad that will have everyone begging for the recipe! All tossed together in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing. sallysbakingaddiction.com

This creamy chicken pasta salad makes an easy dinner and if you have leftovers, an even easier lunch. Bring it along to a potluck and get ready to have everyone beg you for the recipe. That’s a lot to say about a pasta salad, I know!

But trust me. Once you taste the creamy buttermilk dressing with the crispy bacon crumbles and salty feta, then you know what I’m talking about.

 

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Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad

This simple pasta salad has the works! Bacon, crisp peppers, broccoli, feta cheese, grilled chicken, and tomatoes covered in a creamy buttermilk dressing. It's for those of you who like the "stuff" in pasta salads, more than the pasta itself! Simple, quick, and makes great leftovers.

Yield: serves 7-8

Total Time: 2 hour (includes chilling)

Ingredients:

Creamy Greek Yogurt Buttermilk Dressing

  • 3/4 cup (180g) plain low fat Greek yogurt*
  • 1 cup (240ml) low fat buttermilk (no substitutions)*
  • 2 Tablespoons low fat or regular mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 roasted garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound dry pasta (we use fusilloni)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled/cooked and chopped
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (350g) small broccoli florets
  • 1 orange, green, yellow, or red bell pepper, chopped
  •  1/2 cup (76g) crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 strips crispy bacon, crumbled

Directions:

Make the dressing first. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. Taste, and add more salt/pepper/garlic/whatever you feel it needs. I usually add more roasted garlic and parsley. Stick the dressing in the refrigerator as you prepare the rest.

Make the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, then rinse with cold water to cool. Pour into a large bowl. Add the chicken, tomatoes, broccoli, and pepper. Pour 3/4 cup of the dressing over the pasta salad and gently toss to combine. Add a little more dressing if you'd like. Leftover dressing is great on salads - store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Add the feta cheese and bacon and stir up the pasta salad again. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day before serving to allow the flavors to settle. This makes great leftovers! Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

*Get creative! Add your favorite veggies like chopped cucumber, squash, zucchini, artichokes, olives, shredded carrots, leftover cooked spinach, diced cucumbers, chickpeas, you get the idea. 

*For the dressing: if you don't have Greek yogurt, sour cream is your best bet. And unfortunately, I have no recommendations for any substitutions for the buttermilk. I've tried it with regular milk and the dressing is lacking. For the best results, just follow the dressing recipe as written.

Adapted from my mom's famous pasta salad. Thanks mom!

 

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

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See more savory recipes.

 

 

   

73 Responses to “Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad.”

  1. #
    1
    Joy @Baking-Joyposted July 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I’m a sucker for a pasta salad Sally and this looks fab! Love the dressing as well :-)

    Reply

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    Hayleyposted July 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    OMG this pasta salad looks so good! I’m with you there on pasta noodles, I don’t really like them either?? If I’m going to be eating Italian, I’d rather just have pizza ;)

    Anyways, I too have a lot of leftover chicken in my fridge so maybe I’ll make this pasta salad for dinner tomorrow night!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Hahahaha I’ll take pizza over pasta any day.

      Reply

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    Tiffanyposted July 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    This reminds me of one of my FAVORITE pasta salads that I love to eat in the summer! I love the addition of bacon and this dressing sounds great! Looking forward to making this. :)

    Reply

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    Lynnposted July 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Sally, this recipe didn’t come through to my email, and I’m also having some trouble loading your page. Is it me? Just wanted you to be aware in case it’s something on your end. In other news… This sounds delightful I make a salad like this quite often (with lettuce, not pasta) and it’s one of my favorites. Bacon and feta are SUCH an amazing combination. I’ve also been loving feta on my steak lately. Yummmm-o!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Let me check into things Lynn! You may get the email tomorrow since I published it a few hours late. Whoops!

      Reply

      • Lynnreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 9:17 am

        Thereeeeee we go! I got it this time! PHEW! I was afraid something was wrong. This looks just as delicious the second time around :-)

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    Christina @ Bake with Christinaposted July 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Wow – that looks awesome! Very creamy and flavorful!

    Reply

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    Averie @ Averie Cooksposted July 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    This just looks so healthy, colorful, and vibrant, Sally! Love it and the creamy buttermilk greek yogurt dressing sounds like my speed! Pinned!

    Reply

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    Sara @ Bitz & Gigglesposted July 30, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    This salad looks so fresh and wonderful, Sally! It’s so colorful! Love it! Sharing right now!

    Reply

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    Sarahposted July 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Gorgeous photos! The lighting in your new home seems to be treating you well : )

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      I really really really appreciate that Sarah! Because I am having the hardest time adjusting!

      Reply

  9. #
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    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventuresposted July 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I always enjoy a fresh and healthy pasta salad! Yum!

    Reply

  10. #
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    Danielle @ Chits and Chats and Chocolateposted July 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Ooh, I have a weakness for pasta salad… I’ll have to make this with GF noodles!!!

    Reply

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    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Bakingposted July 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I’m right there with you on pasta!! When it comes to regular pasta, I’m all about the tomato sauce. I basically take a 4-year-old’s size serving of noodles and drown it in a 500-pound-hungry-bodybuilder’s size serving of tomato sauce. All those tomatoes count as extra veggies, right? ;) So I totally love how you add extra veggies to your plate and mix them into your pasta salad. I’d do the same thing too! And you know how much I love Greek yogurt, so I really want to try your dressing. Yum!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      We are exactly alike when it comes to pasta (well, a lot of other things too) but I need a gallon of sauce too!

      Reply

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    Claraposted July 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    What do you think I could substitute the mayonnaise for? My mom does.’t like mayo, because when she was young she had some and got sick. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      How about 2 extra Tablespoons of Greek yogurt and a 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar.

      Reply

      • Clarareplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

        Thanks–I might make this for lunch or dinner.

  13. #
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    Jasmine @ A cupcake for my thoughtsposted July 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    This looks so delicious. I’d have to take out the bacon since the only meat I eat is chicken but I can’t wait to try this! I’m always looking for new chicken recipes so I don’t get bored! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      When I make it without Kevin, I usually leave out the bacon too. Just as tasty. Enjoy!

      Reply

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    Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Lifeposted July 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Oh Sally you’ve done it again! Another fantastic savoury recipe from our favourite baker :) I love the look of this salad and I am definitely all about bulking it out with extra veggies so you can enjoy a favourite without the waistline worry :)
    My man will love the bacon and chicken, but I’ll switch mine out for chickpeas and capers. Happy wedding countdown Sally!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      Chickpeas are so good in this pasta salad Amy! Definitely switch things up and add them in.

      Reply

  15. #
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    Rebecca @ Hello Creative Blogposted July 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    This sounds so good! I love that you add lots of veggies…perfect to balance it all out. :)

    Reply

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    Laurposted July 30, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Pasta salad cravings hit me whenever I go swimming in the summer. My swim team meets would always have an Italian dressing based pasta salad which I LOVED so much. I have no idea why it tasted so good! Probably because it was made with love ;o)…. And blocks of cheese.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Haha I love italian pasta salad with those HUGE chunks of cheese.

      Reply

  17. #
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    Jeniposted July 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I know what I’m bringing to the next BBQ I attend this summer!

    Reply

  18. #
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    Jennaposted July 30, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve been buying a lot of rotisserie chickens lately. What a good idea to use up leftovers in the fridge.

    Reply

  19. #
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    Ashtonposted July 30, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Holy smokes!! Yes, yes, and more YES!!! Pinned and I can’t wait to make!

    Reply

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    Claudia @Breakfast Drama Queenposted July 30, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Hehe, I’m a vegetarian and this still looks good to me!
    Your photos are amazing as always!

    Reply

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    Michele @ Alwayzbakinposted July 31, 2014 at 5:49 am

    THAT is a gorgeous-looking pasta! Beautiful pics.

    Reply

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    lisatberryposted July 31, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Ok you almost lost me when you said you don’t really like pasta…WHAT??? I can’t imagine life without lol….but then you presented this beautiful pasta salad and I’m back on board!!! I love the dressing and all the veggies..perfect for summer.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:54 am

      I know, I’m crazy! But I could eat this pasta salad all day long for sure.

      Reply

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    Sineadposted July 31, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Great recipe, I love pasta salad! So perfect for this time of the year and good way to use up leftovers too :-)

    Reply

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    Maryea {happy healthy mama}posted July 31, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I just love all the colors here. My husband is not into pasta salads at all, but I’m thinking with the bacon in this one he might just get on board. ;-)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Haha the bacon is pretty much the only reason Kevin loves this so much!

      Reply

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    Olivia - with Primavera Kitchenposted July 31, 2014 at 9:10 am

    This salad is GORGEOUS. So healthy, colourful and tasty! This is one of my favourite salads, specially with greek yogurt buttermilk dressing! Love this dressing!

    Reply

  26. #
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    Mary Francesposted July 31, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I saw bacon. End of story :)
    This is my kind of pasta salad! That dressing covering all those veggies and chicken and bacon (bacon!) – this might be one of the best pasta salads I’ve ever seen and you know how common these are! Pinned!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks for the sweet comment. I had a feeling you’d like this recipe Mary Frances! It is sooooo good.

      Reply

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    Mateaposted July 31, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I’ve been going through a pasta-salad-craze (with all of these season veggies, how can you resist!) and this looks delicious!

    Reply

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    Zainab @ Blahnik Bakerposted July 31, 2014 at 10:10 am

    We LOVE pasta salads over the summer too!! This creamy chicken salad looks so good Sally! The fresh tomatoes look too juicy :)

    Reply

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    Kristy @ Sweet Treats & Moreposted July 31, 2014 at 10:26 am

    This salad looks amazing Sally, so bright and colorful too:) And that bacon….

    YUM!

    Reply

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    Alice // Hip Foodie Momposted July 31, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Pasta salad is a must in my book too for the summer!! love this.. looks delicious!

    Reply

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    Maddieposted July 31, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Yum! This looks amazing. Would you be able to use milk mixed with a tbsp of lemon juice as a substitute for buttermilk? I’m not sure if that is better utilized in baking. Btw, love how you’re incorporating more savory posts into this blog!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Hey Maddie, that’s really a better DIY buttermilk for baking. You’ll need buttermilk here.

      Reply

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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweetposted July 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Love summer for the pasta salads we can enjoy! And bacon is a must! :) Gorgeous salad, Sally!

    Reply

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    Natalie Munroeposted July 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Sally-

    My 3 year old just saw this post as I pulled it up to read and she said, “Mmm. Can we have that for dinner?” It’s a win!

    Have you tried Kryssos Peppercorn Feta? (I get mine at Giant. It’s 4.99 for an 8oz wedge in the specialty cheese area near the deli. You know, just in case you’re looking for it. hahaha) It’s so yum and such a snappy peppery addition to the salty feta. I’ve been making these Greek-inspired wraps for lunch the past four days and I’ve been putting some on those each day. It was just the addition to kick it up a notch. If you haven’t tried it, do yourself a flavor and do so. (haha– flavor…I’m such a card. Or, um, nerd. Whichever!)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Hey Natalie! Nooooo I haven’t tried peppercorn feta yet! I shop at Giant too, so I will keep my eyes peeled for it.

      Reply

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    Sydney @ Tastefully Frugalposted July 31, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    This looks sooo good!! I’m definitely going to have to try it! Question… Bell peppers give my husband and I heartburn something fierce… any substitute suggestions or just leave them out?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Hey Sydney, I would just leave them out. I give a lot of veggie suggestions in the notes of the recipe.

      Reply

      • Sydney @ Tastefully Frugalreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 8:03 pm

        I totally missed the recipe notes. I LOVE spinach so I think i will add that in there too :) Thanks Sally!

  35. #
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    baking solutionsposted July 31, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Perfect summer dinner !

    Reply

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    Kelly - LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLEposted July 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    This is a great recipe to use up those veggies in the fridge. I actually don’t really care for pasta too. I will eat it occasionally, but don’t really crave it! So more “stuff” sounds bomb! Greek yogurt is a fabulous substitute for so many things. No need to ever buy sour cream when Greek yogurt tastes the exact same! Will have to try soon! Also Sally, I’m on my 3rd week of running 100 miles in 30 days…so far I have been SO good at sticking with it! I have recruited some others as well ;) I’m at 75 miles already and today’s my day off!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      NICE!! So proud of you Kelly. What an awesome feeling. I will be 2 miles short. I don’t have anything left in me to do two more miles tonight. I’ll do an extra 2 miles next month!

      Reply

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    Joanneposted July 31, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    i just made this for supper tonight and i snuck a taste. YUM! i’m glad it made a lot so i can bring it to work for lunch.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 31st, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      So glad you already tried it and love it Joanne! Thank you.

      Reply

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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crustposted July 31, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I have not yet had pasta salad this summer because no one else will eat it with me. But you know what? I’m gonna make this for JUST ME. I won’t have to share. #morebaconforme

    Reply

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    Jennie @themessybakerblogposted August 1, 2014 at 8:08 am

    So much goodness piled into one bowl–swoon!

    Reply

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    Anna (Hidden Ponies)posted August 1, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I love pasta but am so often disappointed by pasta salads – but this one looks gorgeous and with that dressing it must be amazing! Next time I’m called on for a pasta salad I’ll be trying this :)

    Reply

  41. #
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    Janposted August 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I made this last night, a few hours after I read the recipe.
    My goodness, it is delightful. The creamy dressing is spectacular.
    As is all the ‘stuff’ in it.
    There are only three of us here, and this morning, when I was going to have a spoonful of it, it was gone.
    I will probably make another one in a few days. It’s 3-digits hot here.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on August 1st, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      I’m so glad it was a hit Jan!

      Reply

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    Michelleposted August 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Looks festive and delish! Can’t wait to give it a try. I feel like the bacon is going to just put it over the top!

    Reply

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    PassTheKnifeposted August 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    What a great summer dinner recipe!

    Reply

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    Jocelyn @BruCrew Lifeposted August 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I absolutely adore pasta salad in the summer! This is one awesome looking dish, Sally!!!

    Reply

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    Lori @ RecipeGirlposted August 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    This is my kind of dinner- so awesome!

    Reply

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    Jess @ On Sugar Mountainposted August 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Oh Sally all those toppings make this pasta salad look absolutely amazing! It’s like when you throw toppings on a baked potato, only this is way better for me. :D

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on August 4th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I haven’t had a “loaded” baked potato in soooo long. Now you have me craving one! With all the fixings.

      Reply

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    Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugarposted August 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I need to make this asap!! Every bit of this pasta salad is calling my name. Pasta salads are my weakness during the summer! And that dressing… omg! Sounds amazing. Pinned!

    Reply

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    Danielle | Krafted Kochposted August 10, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I love the unexpected addition of feta in this fresh and delicious looking salad! This is a must try for summer. PINNED!

    Reply

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    Hayleyposted August 12, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Do you think I could use regular milk if I added lemon juice to it (Kind of like how buttermilk is made for baking)?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on August 12th, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Not for this dressing, no. It’s a great option for baking, but you need buttermilk here.

      Reply

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    Brandyposted November 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    This looks so delicious. I’m always looking for new chicken recipes so I don’t get bored! This looks so delicious. I really love pasta, but sometimes find myself disappointed by pasta salads. However, this one looks beautiful and with that yummy dressing it must be amazing! Next time I want to make pasta salad for lunch or dinner I will definitely being trying this. Thanks for posting this! ☺

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on November 11th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks Brandy– and in regards to your other question- I use whatever natural, organic chicken brand is at the store where I am shopping at the time. But any boneless, skinless breasts of any brand will do.

      Reply

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