Fancy Chicken & Pecan Pasta Salad


This Fancy Chicken and Pecan Pasta Salad is the perfect lunch or side dish! It only takes about 30 minutes to pull together and will last all week in the fridge because this recipe makes a huge batch! Try it out today 🙂

Hey guys, guess what!?

We got a string of good weather in Portland which means sun which means my kitchen is slowly coming out of its dark hole tendencies which means step-by-step photos which means YAY!

It’s kind of sad how excited I am about this….

I can’t promise anything for the next few posts, but for now lets just sit back and enjoy the fact that I have more than 2 photos in this recipe.

I LOVE step by step photos for anything. Cooking, crafts, putting together ikea furniture…it just makes perfect sense to have them available. Do you like step by step photos because I’m a rather large fan which is why I started adding them into my recipes in the first place waaaay back in 2010. Lemme know your opinion in the comments below.

Until then, lets talk about this salad. It’s of the pasta variety with chicken, grapes, pecans, celery and all things delicious. It’s a lot of the same ingredients I used for my fancy chicken salad recipe, but I’ve changed up the dressing a bit and added in a pound of pasta.

My Mom makes a version of this and that tah-die-for. The last memory I have eating this is 4 years ago {I think} when I visited my parents one summer when we all went camping. My Mom always made her camp meals ahead of time before we left home and this happened to be one of them. {When it comes to camp food, that woman is the definition of organization. Lets take a minute to just appreciate that. Like, whoa.} When we finally got to this pasta salad on the last day of our stay, it didn’t make it to the plates! It was me, my brother and my sister huddled around the huge tupperware container full of this stuff shoveling it into our pie holes. Such manners we had! We couldn’t help it. So so good!

If you like chicken salad sandwiches, then you should love love love this recipe! It makes a great side dish or lunch and it keeps for a good week. I made a batch of this and ate it 3 days in a row for lunch….love it!

Here’s how to make it:


Start by first cooking your pasta and then chopping up the crunchy elements of this salad: red onion, celery, grapes and pecans. Throw all those items into a bowl.IMG_0025_edited-1

Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, throw that over your ingredients and add in your cubed chicken and some chopped parsley. The little added greenery makes this look extra pretty 🙂


Now for the dressing: mix together equal parts of mayonnaise and coleslaw dressing mix with salt, pepper, tarragon, chives and a splash of white vinegar. It is the tastiest dressing for this salad. Sounds a little odd, but its the bomb.


Try to mix it until smooth. If there are a few lumps, just accept it and move on.


Pour it over and toss. You might want to refrigerate it to eat it cold. My dressing kind of dissolved a bit because I tossed it with really warm pasta because I forgot to rinse it in cold water. My bad. Still tasted the same, but looked FUNKY.

Weird is my middle name so it only makes sense why this would happen to me.


Serve it up however you like and at whatever time of day. It’s my new favorite pasta salad…can’t wait to enjoy it more fully come summer!

And if this kind of pasta salad isn’t your thing, then this one would be a good second choice. It’s blowing up on pinterest right now!

Have a great day, friends! Printable recipe below:


Fancy Chicken & Pecan Pasta Salad

This Fancy Chicken and Pecan Pasta Salad is the perfect lunch or side dish! It only takes about 30 minutes to pull together and will last all week in the fridge because this recipe makes a huge batch! Try it out today 🙂

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:


  • 1 lb. rotini {I used quinoa and brown rice pasta, but regular is fine}
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • for the dressing-
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise {use real mayo!!}
  • 1/2 cup coleslaw dressing {like, from the me!}
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives


  1. Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente and drain. Place pasta, onion, celery, grapes, pecans, chicken and parley into a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk ingredients for dressing together until relatively smooth. Pour over pasta and toss. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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  1. Yea for the sun…we had sun here in Oneonta NY Saturday too..who cared if it was BITTER cold….the sun made it more tolerable. #AlwaysCloudyInOneonta

    This looks amazing and I already printed it out to take with me for an extended journey away from home…cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Thank you.

  2. This looks amazing… quick help though, I live on a tiny island in the Middle East and am pretty sure none of the shops have coleslaw dressing (grrr!) what would you recommend to substitute? Such a pain sometimes… you can’t even get rice wine vinegar here 🙁

  3. I love a good chicken salad — add pasta and I’m sold! This would be perfect to make ahead and keep in the fridge for lunches through the week. I wouldn’t share, obvi.

  4. I do indeed love chicken salad sandwiches…adding pasta to the mix can only be good!

  5. This recipe is pretty similar to my mother-in-law’s recipe. I think she adds pineapple and mandarin oranges (both canned) to her version. Normally, I am not a fan of canned fruit, but they both really work in the salad..
    I want to try your dressing though! I think my MIL’s is only mayo and coleslaw mixed. Next time I make this salad, I’m going to give your recipe a shot. It really sounds so yummy!

  6. Step-by-step photos ROCK. I think it makes food bloggers more real too in a sense. Instead of just seeing a few GORG after shots, we get to engage with you on the whole cooking journey! Love it!

  7. This looks so good! I have a bunch of leftover chicken. I think I will whip up a batch to have on hand for lunch this week!

  8. step-by-step photos are great because sometimes you wonder, “is this right?” But when you have the photo to refer back to, it’s awesome!

  9. What a delicious pasta salad!! Can’t wait till it gets a little warmer to make it. I love the step-by-step photos 🙂

  10. You’re having a sunny winter, and we’re having a rainy summer here in Brisbane, Australia!
    This pasta salad sounds delicious! I love the idea of adding grapes, and the dressing sounds super interesting. I’m a vego so I’ll swap the chicken for chickpeas and then eat this up for lunches at work!
    I like step by step photos for some recipes 😉 Does that make me the trouble child?

  11. Another home run! I will be making this again and again. Delicious!

  12. Love the flavors in this chicken pasta salad recipe! Soon as the weather gets warmer I totally see this going on a picnic trip!

  13. This was amazing…I have made it twice, it does make a ton, but it’s so…good..thanks for this recipe…

  14. This looks amazing!! Do you think it would be good using left over Thanksging turkey in place of the chicken?

  15. I have bow tie pasta, will that work I wonder?

  16. Made it, loved it! (Used bow tie pasta 🙂
    Can’t wait to make it for our potluck coming up in a few weeks .. Thanks so much for sharing, Lauren 🙂