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Best Chicken Pasta Salad

A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

Carrie's Chicken Pasta Salad

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A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

Carrie’s Chicken Pasta Salad

My husband and I love a really good pasta salad, so I tweaked and experimented and created the Best Chicken Pasta Salad, which I named after me:) 

With it’s creamy perfectly balanced flavored dressing, crisp  tart apples, smoky Gouda cheese, velvety avocado, crunchy almonds; combined with the other scrumptious ingredients, we think you will agree too that this is the Best Chicken Pasta Salad!

This will generously serve 4-6 adults with a loaf of crusty bread.

It’s a great recipe for a picnic, just be sure to keep it cold because of the mayonnaise and the chicken.

Carrie’s Chicken Pasta Salad

Salad Ingredients:

2-3 green apples, cored and cut into small bite-sized pieces; my handsome hubby prefers I peel the skin off, so that’s a personal preference too (the tart balances the other flavors and compliments the smokey cheese)

3-4 cups of cooked chicken,  A rotisserie chicken is fabulous here and what I generally use.

3/4 – 1 cup celery, chopped into small pieces

8-12 oz. Gouda cheese, cut into small pieces (the package of sliced is the usually the most cost effective, just dice it up)

2-3 avocados, diced

2 cups seedless red grapes, cut in halves (they look pretty, but can use green grapes if they are sweeter and in season)

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted* and cooled

16 oz / 1 lb. package of Rotini style pasta (corkscrew type to hold all the good dressing in and sturdy enough for the other ingredients – use a GOOD brand or it falls apart when you add in the other ingredients.  I prefer Barilla pasta)


Dressing Ingredients:

16-18 oz. light mayonnaise (2 – 2 ¼ cups), only real mayo here, please don’t use Miracle Whip.  You can use regular if you’d prefer over light

1/2 cup light sour cream (you can use regular instead of light)

1 ½ Tbl. poppy seeds

2 Tbl. honey

5 Tbl. lemon juice (bottled or fresh)

3 Tbl. seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning

1/2 – 1 tsp. roasted garlic seasoning, optional, but balances the sweet nicely – I use McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb

1/2 tsp. Emerill’s original seasoning


First toast the nuts as shown below*

Cook pasta as directed on package.

When the pasta is al dente (not mushy or too soft), rinse and drain to remove the starch so it isn’t sticky and clumpy later after it sits.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Pour the dressing ingredients over the salad ingredients and combine gently.

Gently toss in the pasta and fold till all mixed through.

 It is best to serve this salad chilled for at least an hour. It sits well over night too.

Carrie's Chicken Pasta Salad *To toast nuts, pour them into a non-stick pan and cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly until the nuts are a slightly browned.

It only takes a few minutes but it brings out a delicious deep flavor.


My Carrie’s BEST Chicken Pasta Salad would be perfect to take to a neighbor, friend or family member in need.  If you’d like to know more, I have this post:  What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

And even more information at    How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?

A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

Carrie’s Chicken Pasta Salad

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2018

Copyright and recipe by Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.



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  1. This is a wonderful salad, Carrie! I love the fruits in it!

  2. This looks awesome!!! We would love it if you would link up at our linky party:
    Live every Wednesday to Sunday.
    Hosted by:
    http://www.lifewiththecrustcutoff.com/ Parrish @ Life with the Crust Cut Off
    http://thissillygirlslife.com/ Dana @ This Silly Girl’s Life
    We hope to see you there!

  3. Such a beautiful and delicious looking salad!
    I’d love to have you share this and/or any other recipe at Wednesday Extravaganza – A Foodie Link Party! Hope to see you there 🙂

  4. I love chicken salad, but I especially like that yours has Gouda! Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Katherine’s Corner where I’m co-host today.

  5. This looks so yummy! I’m pinning it to try sometime soon.

  6. You know, I have never put avocado in my chicken salad…but it looks GREAT!
    Visiting from Mouthwatering Monday.

  7. Anyonita says:

    I LOVE the addition of toasted nuts in this salad! What a clever idea! Thank you so much for linking up with me this week at Tasty Tuesdays! I’ve pinned this & shared it with my followers! Please be sure to stop back by the party and check out some of the other links!

  8. Krista Low says:

    This recipe looks fabulous! I love the combo of the chicken with the grapes and apples, what fun flavors! I just pinned this one. I’ll have to try it out this summer! Thanks so much for sharing this with me 🙂 Krista @ A Handful of Everything

  9. Liz says:

    I love this salad – thank you.

  10. Always looking to try new pasta salads and I am so going to try this one soon. Love that you included apples and gouda cheese 🙂

  11. Diane Roark says:


    I made chicken salad a lot, but have never thought of adding pasta. My family would love this. I enjoy pasta salads because they are ready when you need them. You can make them ahead of time. All you need to do, is just pull them out of the refrigerator and enjoy.

    Diane Roark

  12. This pasta salad looks amazing, Carrie. I love how you’ve included gouda and avocado. I can’t wait to try it.

  13. Jenny.U says:

    You have me at Gouda!!

  14. Fruit and chicken salad just seem to go together. We are going camping in a couple weeks with all the kids. I think this salad would make a perfect quick and simple lunch. Thanks for sharing!

  15. This salad looks so yummy! Love all the different flavor combinations! pinned to try. Have a great weekend!

  16. Lean Lena says:

    Mmmmm…that salad looks SO delicious! Pinning!
    P.S, Found you through the Let’s Get Real Party

  17. What a fabulous salad~and so pretty with the grapes and almonds! Thanks for sharing ont he Four Seasons Blog Hop!

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