This easy BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad made with feta, vegetables butter lettuce and a simple lemon garlic shallot vinaigrette, is the perfect way to use up leftover chicken for a quick and healthy 20 minute lunch recipe.
Barbeque Pasta Salad
When we think of pasta salads, we often think of a mix of pasta and vegetables in a creamy sauce like this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad. Pasta salads can also be a mix of pasta and greens though! We love to add pasta to a mixed green salad though for a healthy and filling bite like in this BBQ Pasta Salad.
This BBQ Salad has it all! From saucy barbeque chicken breasts and chunks of feta cheese, to tomatoes and penne pasta over a bed of butter lettuce. It is lunch perfection.
Leftover Chicken Recipe
We provide the instructions for baking the chicken breasts in BBQ sauce to add to the salad, but if you’ve got some leftover BBQ chicken from a recipe like these BBQ & Sweet Potato Bowls, this salad is the perfect way to dress it up for a healthy meal.
If you don’t have any leftover chicken, but want to speed things up, you can grab a rotisserie chicken. Cube up the meat and toss it with your favorite BBQ sauce and you are good to go.
How to Make BBQ Pasta Salad
To whip up this light and healthy lunch, here is what you will need,
- Chicken breast
- BBQ Sauce
- Cayenne pepper
- Penne pasta
- Block feta cheese
- Cherry tomatoes
- Olive Oil
- Salt & pepper
Baking BBQ Chicken Breast
Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cut the chicken breast into 1/2 inch chunks. Toss the chicken with the BBQ sauce and cayenne pepper in the baking dish. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.
Cooking Pasta for Salad
While the chicken bakes, cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente in salted water. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
Lemon Garlic Shallot Vinaigrette
To a large bowl, add the juice of one lemon, olive oil, diced shallot, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk lightly just until mixed.
Add the pasta to the bowl along with the cubed feta, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Toss until everything is well combined.
Top the pasta salad with the baked BBQ chicken and gently fold in. Serve immediately!
Can I use different pasta?
We like penne in this pasta as it holds up well to the chunks of BBQ chicken and lettuce. Any larger pasta will work well though. Avoid really small pastas like orzo or elbow macaroni as it will sink to the bottom of the salad and you don’t get a nice bite of pasta with the salad.
Leftover BBQ Salad
This BBQ Chicken Salad makes a large helping for 4 servings. If you are wanting to make a dinner salad just for yourself and your partner, just make a 1/2 batch.
The other option is to make a full batch, but don’t mix in the lettuce. Store the leftover pasta salad in the refrigerator and when you are ready to enjoy the leftovers, mix it in with the lettuce.
More great pasta salad recipes
- Southwest Penne & Romain Salad – Another great salad with greens and penne pasta!
- Poppy Seed Grape Chicken Pasta Salad – This sweet version is a favorite with most holiday dinners.
- Salmon Orzo Pasta Salad – This fresh and healthy salad is bursting with great flavors.
Baked BBQ Chicken
- 1 pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless
- ½ cup bbq sauce
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 box (8 oz) penne pasta
- 8 oz. block feta cheese, cubed
- 2 cups lettuce of your choice
- 1 cup cherry tomato
Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Baked BBQ Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch chunks. Combine the chicken with BBQ sauce and cayenne pepper in the baking dish.
- Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
- Cook the pasta to package directions in salted water. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
- In a large bowl mix the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the pasta, feta, lettuce and tomatoes and toss until well combined.
- Top the salad with the baked BBQ chicken and gently fold in. Top with parsley and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 717mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 37g
Provided nutrition data is only an estimate. If you are tracking these nutrients for medical purposes, please consult an outside, trusted source.