I feel like pasta salads have been having a glow up ever since we realized we don’t need to load them with a pound of mayo. No shame for enjoying the nostalgic, mayo-filled pasta salad, but wait until you try this incredible chicken bacon ranch pasta salad.
Last summer I shared an amazing BLT pasta salad, so when this summer came around I knew I wanted a new twist with delicious grilled chicken and a rainbow of veggies.
This wonderful pasta salad is mayo-free and filled with grilled chicken, crispy bacon, your fav pasta, all of the best summer produce and the easiest, creamy ranch dressing. Everyone at your next BBQ is going to fall in LOVE so be sure to put this one on your Fourth of July menu!
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Everything you’ll need for the best chicken bacon pasta salad
This healthy chicken bacon pasta salad is filled with flavor, colors and textures that make it absolutely irresistible. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:
- Chicken: grilled chicken adds delicious flavor and protein to this pasta salad. See below for the best way to cook it!
- Bacon: salty, savory bacon is the star of the show in this pasta salad.
- Pasta: feel free to use any pasta you’d like! I love cavatappi or bowtie noodles.
- Veggies: we’re adding colorful cherry tomatoes (heirloom ones make it extra pretty), corn, red onion and avocado.
- For the ranch: I like to keep it simple by just mixing store bought ranch dressing with some greek yogurt for a boost of protein. You can also use my homemade greek yogurt ranch!
How to grill perfect chicken
Looking for even more ways to cook chicken? Try any of these four great methods for cooking chicken and add them right to the recipe.
Add your favorite type of corn
Feel free to add raw corn off the cobb to the salad for ease, otherwise, you can saute or grill it! I have the best method for grilling corn here.
Customize your chicken bacon pasta salad
Looking to mix up some of the ingredients? Here’s what I can recommend:
- Make it gluten free. Simply use your favorite gluten free pasta shape.
- Go vegetarian. Feel free to swap the chicken and bacon for a can of chickpeas!
- Add a boost of greens. Chopped romaine would be delicious for a BLT vibe, and arugula would add a wonderful zippiness.
- Cheese it up. This chicken bacon pasta salad would also be delicious with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese or even feta crumbles!
New dressings, same delicious pasta salad
If you don’t have any store bought ranch on hand, feel free to try one of these delicious, dairy free dressing recipes to make creamy chicken bacon pasta salad:
- As I mentioned, my homemade greek yogurt ranch would be perfect.
- Go dairy free with my spicy green cashew dressing or my jalapeño green tahini sauce.
- Add a kick of heat with my healthy chipotle ranch dressing.
Check out all of our healthy salad dressings here!
Make it ahead of time
This chicken bacon pasta salad will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3-4 days, so feel free to prep it the night before a picnic or bbq, or prep it for your weekday lunches. I would recommend adding the avocado on when you’re ready to serve so that it stays fresh.
More salad recipes you’ll love
- Summer Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado
- Street Corn Pasta Salad with Cilantro Pesto + Goat Cheese
- Spicy Ranch Chopped Chicken Cabbage Salad
- Italian Chopped Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Damn Good BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Jalapeño Cashew Dressing
Get all of our delicious salad recipes here!
I hope you love this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Delicious chicken bacon ranch pasta salad packed with juicy tomatoes, sweet corn, zippy red onion and creamy avocado. This wonderful, easy chicken bacon pasta salad is perfect for customizing and is guaranteed to be a hit all summer long! The best side or main dish for BBQ's, parties and potlucks.
- For the pasta salad:
- 2 grilled chicken breasts, cubed/diced (or sub 1 ½-2 cups shredded chicken)
- 8 ounces bacon
- 8 ounces cavatappi or bowtie pasta (or pasta of choice!)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I love using heirloom cherry tomatoes for color variety!)
- 1 ½ cups corn, grilled, raw or sauteed
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion (or sub diced green onion)
- 1 slightly ripe avocado, diced
- For the greek yogurt ranch:
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup store bought ranch dressing
Make sure you have your grilled or cooked chicken done ahead of time, or feel free to grill it first. This is a great recipe for using leftover chicken! Check out our post on how to make the best chicken breasts here. You can either dice it into ½ inch cubes or feel free to shred it. I prefer diced for this recipe, but it’s up to you and what you have on hand.
Next cook your bacon: add bacon to a large skillet or pan and place over medium heat, cook bacon on both sides until crispy and golden brown. If the pan starts to smoke at any point, simply lower the heat. I always cook my bacon on medium low heat. Once bacon is done, blot with a paper towel to absorb excess grease, then chop into bite sized pieces and set aside.
While your bacon cooks, you can cook your pasta until al dente, drain and then place in a large bowl.
Mix together your greek yogurt ranch by combining greek yogurt and ranch dressing until smooth and creamy. Pour over the pasta and stir until well combined. Next add the chicken, chopped bacon, corn, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion and avocado. Gently toss again, then taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, adding more salt and pepper or extra ranch dressing, if you’d like. Serves 6, or 4 as a larger meal. Garnish with extra corn, tomatoes, red onion, avocado and bacon.
Feel free to add 3 cups of baby arugula for a more zippy flavor + a boost of greens. Or feel free to use romaine for a BLT inspired salad.
Feel free to check out our post on how to make delicious chicken breasts here.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats