Pack big flavor into every bite with a family favorite recipe for Bruschetta Pasta Salad with Chicken made with a quick-fix DIY dressing.
Bruschetta has taken on nearly every form around here, from a quick-fix breakfast spin to dessert, and nearly every other course in between. I love giving the tomato-garlic-basil trifecta a new home, whether it’s atop pizza, atop chicken, or in this case, tossed into a giant bowl of pasta salad.
What Are the Best Pasta Salad Ingredients?
Pasta salad is one of the most versatile recipes, and one of my favorite ways to make use of leftover odds and ends from your fridge and pantry. Consider this recipe a template and feel free to get creative with additional mix-ins, such as:
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Roasted peppers
- Salami or pepperoni
- Parmesan cheese
I love the addition of roasted chicken (rotisserie chicken is a great store-bought shortcut!) because it turns this simple side dish into the main event. It’s truly a meal-in-a-bowl, and best of all, that meal can be served warm, room temp or chilled.
How Do You Make Pasta Salad Dressing?
I’ve opted for a garlicky balsamic pasta salad dressing that’s sweetened with a squeeze of honey. It’s the perfect complement to the juicy tomatoes, fresh basil and mini mozzarella balls.
If you’re not a fan of balsamic, you could also whip up a classic Italian dressing, an herby basil vinaigrette, or my personal favorite, a tried-and-tested red wine vinaigrette.
How Do You Store Pasta Salad?
While this recipe for Bruschetta Pasta Salad is great served warm or at room temp, it’s equally as great (if not better!) when chilled so that the flavors have a chance to marinate and intensify.
The best way to store pasta salad is to let it cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container with a lid. Alternately, you can store it in a large bowl covered securely with plastic wrap.
If you’re looking to make this recipe in advance, leave out the fresh basil and stir it in right before serving for a bright green pop of color and fresh herb flavor in every bite.Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
For the pasta salad:
- 1 pound uncooked pasta
- 3 cups diced tomatoes (See Kelly's Notes)
- 1 cup mini mozzarella balls, halved
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken (See Kelly's Notes)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Make the pasta salad:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain the pasta, then add it to a large bowl and let it cool slightly.
- To the bowl, add the tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken and basil. Toss to combine.
Make the dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, garlic and honey. While whisking, stream in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Taste and season the dressing with salt and pepper.
- Add the dressing to the bowl with the pasta and toss to combine, then serve immediately or refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap.
- Any variety of tomato will work in this recipe, including halved cherry tomatoes, but I prefer the sweetness and size of cocktail tomatoes.
- Store-bought rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut option.
- This salad is great warm, room temp or cold and can be made up to a day in advance and stored, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge, where the flavors will have a chance to intensify.
Did you try this recipe?
Share it with the world! Mention @justataste or tag #justatasterecipes!
Loved this! The only thing I did differently was I omitted the chicken and blistered the cherry tomatoes because they weren’t quite ripe. Highly recommend this recipe!
I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
Made this salad tonight and both my husband and I both went for seconds! Very yummy. Also came together quickly. I know I was off on my salt/pepper proportions though. Kelly, how much salt/pepper do you add in the dressing? Thanks for another delicious salad!
So glad you enjoyed it, Eva! I’d start with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
We made this last night for dinner and it was fabulous!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Sue!