Just thinking about this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad makes my mouth water! This EatingWell Magazine recipe is on constant rotation, especially this Summer when something so bold and flavorful can be made ahead and enjoyed chilled. This dish is the complete package with the perfect balance of protein, pasta, and veggies. This recipe also calls for a hot sauce, vinegar, yogurt dressing that makes the prettiest vibrant pink/orange color and is bursting with creamy, vinegary, spicy flavors. Topping this hot sauce chicken salad with blue cheese gives me all the chicken wing vibes, just in pasta salad form. Win, win!
Chef's Tip: After making this recipe a few times, I have a couple tips if you decide to make this recipe too. Something that surprised me was how much I loved Frank's Red Hot Sauce which the recipe recommend. I always end up adding more to my pasta salad! I bought Frank's Red Hot Sauce for this recipe and the flavor was so incredible that I wanted to put it on everything! I also found that the prettiest pasta for this buffalo chicken pasta salad is the campanelle pasta, which looks like a pretty flared Summer dress.
My last chef's tip is about the shredded chicken, here are a few ways you can tackle this ingredient:
- Buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it with your hands while it's still warm (it breaks apart easier than if it were chilled).
- Some grocery stores sell shredded chicken, it's usually located near the rotisserie chicken counter.
- Poach your own chicken! The last few times I made this recipe I poached and shredded my own chicken and it was divine! Just simmer a few chicken breasts in a frying pan filled with water for about an hour or until your thermometer reads 165° F or 75° C. The chicken breasts should be fully submerged in water, refilling the water if it gets too low. When it's ready, take the chicken out of the water and shred with two forks. Because this recipe has such a flavorful dressing and delicious toppings, I didn't need to add any salt or seasoning to the shredded chicken. If you are in a hurry about preparing the chicken, butterfly or cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise through the thickest point so they can cook faster.
Beer Pairing: When enjoying this buffalo chicken pasta salad for dinner or a weekend lunch, we always pair this meal with a light beer like an amber or blonde ale. The light beer not only cools us off from the Summer heat but is also able to wrangle any spice coming from that incredible hot sauce I doused all over my meal.
Dietitian's Note: I love that this recipe uses half mayonnaise and half greek yogurt! While I love mayonnaise, I usually only add one or two tablespoons to my burger bun or sandwich bread. Supplementing the dressing with half mayonnaise and half greek yogurt allows you to still have that creamy mayonnaise feel while getting all the benefits of the greek yogurt. The greek yogurt adds protein and beneficial gut bacteria, and lowers the fat content while providing tangy and creamy flavor.
For more of my favorite recipes on the internet, check out my Chef Off Duty series. I love to dish about my favorite bites, let me know if you have any favorite recipes I should try!