cherry chicken pasta salad

A Twin Cities chain of grocery stores has a cherry chicken pasta salad that is truly hard to resist. I don’t even know how or why I tried this – it really isn’t my style, but I may or may not get a small container of it on Friday afternoons. While it is undeniably delicious, I knew it could be equally delicious made-over.

The pasta could be whole-grain, the chicken, well, it would preferably be organic or free-range and the mayo and poppy seed dressing? Could definitely benefit from some lightening. So here it is – it may not be as creamy as the store version, but it is certainly a lot better for you and I promise you won’t miss all the mayo!

Cherry Chicken Pasta Salad  – makes a large bowl

  • 8 oz whole-grain penne
  • 8 oz chicken thighs, cooked and chopped (we grilled ours)
  • 3 oz dried cherries
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Briannas poppy seed dressing

Prepare pasta as directed. Let cool. Combine mayo and poppy seed dressing and stir until combined. Toss with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 2 hours minimum. Serve over greens or straight from the bowl!


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14 Comments

Filed under antioxidants, fruit, pasta, protein, Recipes, salad, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

14 responses to “cherry chicken pasta salad

  1. i cannot even tell you how much i miss lunds/byerlys. their deli is my fave. and i LOVE the simplicity of this dish – the perfect salad for a summer picnic!

    can you tell i am ready for some HOT weather?

    hope you are well dear – love ya!

  2. I miss shopping at Byerly’s.

    Now, you are only adding to my ‘to try’ list. BTW, I made your rhubarb strawberry crostini and avocado lime coleslaw over the weekend. Blog post coming soon – they were great!

  3. I can say first hand that this re-worked cherry chicken salad was delicious!

  4. You’re torturing me! Chicken salad might be the only meat food that I really miss . . . add cherries, and that’s practically irresistable!

  5. Kate

    we sell something similar in the deli case at my lovely little coffee shop 🙂 i havent tried and dont think i will as yours looks WAY better!

  6. thehealthyjunky

    This sounds like such a great alternative. I love dried cherries in all my foods!

  7. Mmmmm this looks great! I love the cranberries in there!

  8. I’m definitely going to try this with some chicken leftovers. I’m always adding cranberries to my chicken/tuna salads. The cherries are a nice change.

  9. I LOVE Lunds/Byerlys. And their restaurant!! And now that I’m eating meat again….! 😉

    I need someone to show me how to cook chicken though… I’ve obviously never had to before, and my first attempt the other day was a major FAIL.

  10. Delish- I love the addition of dried cherries!

  11. Yum! This looks amazing. I love Brianna’s dressings. And what a great idea to add dried cherries. This is the perfect take-to-work lunch.

  12. This looks like a perfect lunch or dinner. It looks so filling with a perfect amount of healthy pasta to fill you up!

  13. Deli salads are the best! I always try to make them myself, but for some reason they just never quite taste as great (without the fat). I love cherries!!

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