Bonnie's Epicurean Chicken Salad

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.)

Bonnie's Epicurean Chicken Salad

One Year Ago: Luscious Lemon Cream Pie
Two Years Ago: Zucchini & Yellow Squash Spaghetti
Three Years Ago: Oven-Baked Ribs

Epicurean Chicken Salad with Creamy Honey Lime Dressing

Yield: Serves 6-8

Epicurean Chicken Salad with Creamy Honey Lime Dressing

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.


  • 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


  1. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
  2. In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together.
  3. In another small or medium bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir gently to mix so that all the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
  5. 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).
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)

17 Responses to Epicurean Chicken Salad with Creamy Honey Lime Dressing

  1. Jessica says:

    So, I have made this salad 4 times now and would feel guilty if I didn’t tell you how amazing this is! I crave it. I even brought it in to a sweet gal who is on bed rest, and she raved about it! Thank you so much for all the amazing reciepes!

  2. Camille says:

    I made this last night for dinner, and it is AMAZING!!! I am not a big pasta salad eater, but when I saw these ingredients, I HAD to try it. The best pasta salad I have ever eaten!!! And I am eating our leftovers for my lunch right now as we speak! …..okay, not speak, but as I type 🙂 THANKS for sharing this!

  3. Juliann Bramley says:

    this is AMAZING! I just made it for lunch after pinning it and drooling. The dressing is so good I could lick the bowl clean. Thanks for sharing, this is a keeper!

  4. Jennifer G. says:

    I made this last night. The dressing is surprisingly different. I love it. Didn’t realize it only stayed moist for an hour or so until I was making the recipe. I held back part of the dressing to add a little more before lunch today. Hopefully it will be just as good. I will make this again, with about 8 oz of noodles next time.

  5. JaNae says:

    Made this today with a few substitutions with what I had on hand (mandarin oranges for the pineapple, pecans for the almonds), and it was SO yummy! Everyone loved it. Thanks!

  6. Jill Braithwaite says:

    I made this last night for dinner and loved it! My husband and 4 year old ate theirs all up too. Thanks Mel!

  7. Helen Martin says:

    We have a nut allergy at our house. Do you think sunflower seeds would work to keep in the crunch element? Can’t wait to try this one. We love your site!

  8. Laurel says:

    This was dinner it’s so delicious!! Didn’t have poppyseeds but I added the zest from the lime I juiced. Oh baby! Didn’t even need the sandwiches I served with it. Could have just downed the entire bowl. Good job Mel! Gold star!

  9. Shalynn says:

    I do not think I have ever wanted a main dish over a dessert, but this puts that to the test. Plus, ingredients already on hand such a bonus!

  10. Anna says:

    Hi Mel! I’m a new reader and am absolutely loving your site. I’ve made a couple recipes already and they’ve turned out great. I don’t eat meat (and am rarely nice enough to cook it for my family), so I’m wondering if you have a list or tag for meatless recipes somewhere. I looked around but didn’t find anything. No biggie if you don’t, just thought I’d ask. Thanks for the site!

  11. Beverly says:

    Yum. Looks like Summer on a plate.

  12. Jennifer G. says:

    Wow, that looks so unusual (in a good way)! I am going to try this next time I make pasta salad. Love that it’s not the same old pasta salad.

  13. Kim in MD says:

    I am a huge pasta salad lover, and in my world no BBQ or pot luck gathering is complete without one! I can just imagine how delicious this one is with the savory and sweet combination. I am going to make this very soon. Thanks to your sweet friend Bonnie for sharing the recipe with you so you could share it with us!

  14. sara says:

    ooh, I bet the cheddar and apple combo really put this over the top. sounds wonderful. is it lunch time yet???

  15. the sounds of creamy honey lime. Looks delish Mel!
    Happy Monday!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *