Cranberry-Chicken Pasta Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

>> Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cranberry-Chicken Pasta Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

We love a good pasta salad. In fact, we love pasta in general. This recipe is a quick one, which is helpful on a weeknight or when you're running late to a picnic and you promised to bring a salad. Not that it would ever happen to you, but I'm a little surprised at how often we're rushing to fix something for a party.

On the other hand, if you have plenty of time to make this, I'd recommend starting with steaming or boiling a large boneless skinless chicken breast rather than using canned chicken meat. I'd also suggest toasting the pecan nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes before stirring them into the pasta salad. These extra steps really punch up the flavor.

Creamy poppyseed dressing is really easy to make, too, and brings out the sweet tangy flavor of the cranberries. Altogether delicious.

Creamy poppyseed dressing


For the Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white onion
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp black poppy seeds

For the Salad

1 16 oz box farfalle, elbow, penne, or campanelle pasta (any sort of small shape) 
2 cooked chicken breasts, or 2 5-oz cans cooked chicken 
1 cup chopped celery 
2/3 cup chopped carrot 
2/3 cup chopped white onion 
2/3 cup chopped cucumber 
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper 
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
Romaine lettuce, for serving


Blend together all ingredients except the poppy seeds. Stir in the poppy seeds and chill the dressing until the salad is ready.

Cook pasta according to directions, then drain and rinse with cold water. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with the dressing. Mix until well combined. Serve over lettuce leaves.

Makes about 6 main-dish servings, or 8-10 side dish servings.


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