I heart pasta salads in a big way. I mean, I basically eat them all summer long since I’ve always thought of summer as being synonymous with pasta salad (among other things like ice cream and dark chocolate but then again, dark chocolate is synonymous with just about everything in my life to justify the sheer amount of it I eat on a daily basis). Sometimes, though, I need a change from my recipe box of pasta salads.
Enter little miss epicurean chicken salad. She’s definitely the new cool kid in town when it comes to pasta salad. I know the ingredient list may look a little unorthodox but it all works. Really, really, really well. And that creamy honey lime dressing? Like icing on the cake. Or dressing on the pasta salad, if you will.
I’ve been making this salad ever since my sweet friend Bonnie brought it over for dinner to my family several months ago. It was a hit then and is still a hit with all of us pasta salad lovers. We usually enjoy it as a simple main dish but wow, you should see how quickly this salad is inhaled at a potluck or group gathering. I’m talking: elbows may be thrown.
A mix of fresh, sweet flavors enhance the savory side of things to make this salad simply amazing. (Oh and PS, it’s a cinch to throw together.)
Epicurean Chicken Salad with Creamy Honey Lime Dressing
- 10 ounces rotini pasta
- 2-3 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces or shredded
- 1 large sweet-tart apple, cored, diced (I prefer Honey Crisp for this salad)
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, diced small (about 1 cup)
- 1 15 ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained very well
- 1/2 cup red grapes, halved
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds
Honey Lime Dressing:
- 1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup light or regular sour cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
- In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
- In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together.
- In another small or medium bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and stir gently to mix so that all the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to an hour (the salad may dry out a bit if refrigerated for much longer – you can make extra dressing or reserve part of the dressing to stir in right before serving).
You really can use anywhere from 8 to 12 ounces of pasta (obviously the lesser amount will yield a creamier salad); I’ve found that 10 ounces hits it right on the money for us.
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Recipe Source: adapted from my friend Bonnie (used plain yogurt/mayo combination instead of all mayo, omitted celery, added a pinch of salt to the dressing, adapted a few other ingredient amounts)