Chipotle chicken pasta salad may be my new summer favorite. Technically it isn't here yet, but the unofficial start of summer is Memorial Day weekend which is this weekend.
We have also been home for over 60 days at this point and all time has lost its meaning. So with the chipotle chicken pasta salad, I'm officially declaring it summer.
This ain't your momma's pasta salad. This chipotle chicken pasta salad is EVERYTHING. It is packed with flavor.
The smoky, chipotle mayo adds a nice creaminess and subtle heat to everything, the grilled corn and fresh tomatoes and cilantro channel all the summer vibes, and the chicken makes this a dish worthy of being a main dish instead of side people take out of politeness.
Served cold, this would be great for BBQs, picnics, or days by the pool. It's also good just in quarantine like we still are in my county.
Speaking of life in quarantine...
We have been on quarantine since Mid-March. I feel like it has rained 75% of the time, which has definitely made it more challenging. Through constant zoom calls and meetings, us trying to navigate distance learning kindergarten, trying to teach high school digitally, and keep two kids occupied, most days looks a bit like this:
Fortunately, the weather is finally warming up. This past weekend, we spent two whole days by the pool (which we got from Target) and the girls were in heaven. The weather was so nice, we grilled most meals and even ate outside. For a brief moment, it felt like summer.
Then, I checked my work email, and I realized there are still plenty of things to grade and responsibilities to uphold. Summer is coming soon though; we have about 1 month left before we officially check out and panic at the lack of structure to fill our time.
Grill everything when you can
In the summer months, I grill as much as humanly possible. Corn is one of my absolute favorite things to grill. You don't need to do much to it. Throw the corn directly onto the grill for about 7-10 minutes and turn it occasionally. It is the absolute best. If you don't have a grill or fresh corn, Trader Joes sells a frozen roasted corn that I swear by.
During the summer months (or unofficial summer like it is now), I do a lot of my meal prep on the grill. I typically grill a big pack of chicken with my Mojo Marinade, Smoky Chipotle Marinade, or my Lemon Dijon Marinade. This way, I can eat well all week and I don't have to worry about doing a lot of dishes.
This week, I made a big batch of my Mojo Chicken for burrito bowls, and then I added the last pound to this chipotle chicken pasta salad.
Assembling the chipotle chicken pasta salad
I grilled my chicken and corn the other day, so today all I really had to do was cook the pasta, make the chipotle mayo (which you can also do ahead), and chop a few vegetables. By the time the pasta was done cooking, all of my other mix-ins were prepped and I was ready to go.
Trust me when I say, if this is your first time you're making my chipotle mayo, make a double batch and save the rest for sandwiches. It is so delicious.
You can totally mix up the ingredients to your own personal preference. This would be really tasty without the chicken if you want to keep it vegetarian.
You can add avocado, different beans, or other vegetables too. Unfortunately, my avocados are still rock hard so I didn't cut them up for this--by the time I finish typing this, I'm sure they'll be past their prime.
I really hope the weather is nice where ever you are while reading this recipe. I don't know about you, but the stay at home orders always feels a lot harder when it is also raining. I am thankful that the weather is finally turning and it is feeling a bit more like summer.
This chipotle chicken pasta salad had all the summer vibes, and I'm pretty excited how it turned out. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I hope soon enough you'll be impressing everyone at a BBQ in the future with this awesome dish.
If you make this chipotle chicken pasta salad, or any other recipe of mine, let me know! I love seeing all of your posts on Instagram. Make sure you tag me and use #dwardcooks so I can see!
- 16 oz. preferred pasta (I used Delallo whole wheat cavatappi)
- 1 lb. cooked chicken breast, diced
- 3/4 Chipotle Mayo (recipe below)
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 ears of corn, grilled and removed from cob
- 3 scallions, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
- 2 oz queso fresco, crumbled
- 1/4-1/2 cup pasta water, reserved from making pasta
- kosher salt
- Boil pasta per the instructions on the package in salted water. When pasta is done, reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
- In a large bowl (this makes 15 cups so the biggest bowl you have), add chipotle mayo, 1/4 cup of pasta water, and cooked pasta. Toss pasta in chipotle mayo to coat.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and toss to coat. You can add a little more pasta water to thin out the chipotle mayo to coat more. I saved the cheese to sprinkle on at the end for aesthetic purposes to make it look extra fancy.
This makes about 15 cups which weighed about 80 oz in total. Since I ate this as a main dish instead of a side, I portioned it out at 1.5 cups a serving which yields 10 servings.
- 1/2 c lite mayo
- 1/4 c fat free Greek yogurt
- 3 tsp adobo sauce (the sauce in the can of chipotles)
- 1 tsp chipotle peppers (minced)
- Combine all the ingredients.
- Reserve the chipotle peppers until last, and taste after adding half to have better control of your spice preference.