How is Memorial Day weekend next weekend?!
Time is a strange thing right now. It’s a mix of the days dragging on and blending into one another and “how the heck is it mid May?!?”
I usually savor this time of year; May is one of the best months of the entire year. Flowers are blooming. The days are longer. And the sun is finally WARM. I don’t usually wish this time of year away, but in the midst of all the craziness going on, I am willing summer to just get here already.
The reason? Homeschool will be over. The pool will be open and ready to use (aka, outside entertainment so desperately needed for my children right now). Grilling dinner outside almost every night. And pasta salads like this one on repeat!
I’ve talked at length before about how much I adore the flavors of buffalo chicken. Seriously. Look at my recipe archive. There’s a lot of buffalo happening, and I won’t apologize for it. I am always looking for ways to buffalo things up. All you other buffalo lovers, this pasta salad is for you.
I love this recipe because it’s easy and made with ingredients that I usually have on hand at all times. You can swap the veggies that go into this based on what you have/prefer. Don’t like celery? Leave it out. Want to swap in peas for corn? Want to keep it vegetarian? Leave out the chicken. You do you. There’s no rules when it comes to pasta salad, in my opinion. It’s one of the simplest dishes to put together, no matter what flavors or ingredients you decide to use. You can’t really mess it up.
The dressing for this salad is spicy, tangy, and creamy – all the things I love about buffalo-based recipes. It’s a mix of yogurt and mayo (I love the combo of both), ranch dressing (yes, really), and buffalo hot sauce. I highly encourage you to use hot sauce designated as “buffalo” for recipes like this. It DOES make a difference in the end flavor. I also add a little lime juice for extra tang and brightness. It’s one of those ingredients that you don’t really know is there, but you’ll miss it if you don’t add it.
Cooked pasta, cooked chicken, chunks of sharp cheddar, and all the veggies go into the dressing. I like a mix of bell peppers, corn, celery (it IS buffalo after all), scallion, and red onion. The sweeter veggies work swimmingly with the spicy dressing, and the scallion and onion add just enough bite to go along with the sharp cheese.
You can leave the pasta salad just as is, or you can add in some chopped cilantro (just skip it if it’s not your thing) and crumbled blue cheese (same). If you are really averse to blue cheese (Dan is), I find that swapping in crumbled feta in almost every buffalo dish actually works really well. Again, you do you.
Even though I’m half in denial about Memorial Day being right around the corner and half rejoicing for the same reason, I am excited to share more summery recipes with you in the coming weeks. Maybe it will brighten all our spirits? Give us something to truly look forward to as we wait for life to return to normal?
When in doubt, eat carbs. That’s my motto, folks.Print
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
This Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad is a combination of classic creamy pasta salad and the flavors of spicy buffalo chicken! It’s creamy, spicy, and tangy, filled with crunchy veggies, with a flavor that is out of this world!
- 1 lb short pasta (any short pasta shape will work)
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup mayo
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 tablespoons ranch or blue cheese dressing
- ⅓ cup buffalo hot sauce (or more to taste)
- Juice of 1 lime (roughly 1 tablespoon)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
- 1 cup sharp cheddar, cubed or shredded
- 1 cup diced bell peppers (any color will work)
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup fresh or defrosted frozen corn
- ½ cup diced scallions
- ½ cup finely diced red onion
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Crumbled blue cheese (optional – you can omit or sub with feta too!)
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until el dente, according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water.
- While the pasta is cooking, mix together the dressing in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the yogurt, mayo, milk, dressing, buffalo sauce, and lime juice. Taste and add more buffalo sauce if you like things really spicy. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper as well.
- Add the pasta to the dressing and toss well to evenly coat all the noodles.
- Stir in the chicken, cheese, peppers, celery, corn, scallions, and red onion and taste again for seasonings.
- Stir in some chopped cilantro and crumbled blue (or feta!) cheese, if using.
- Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. The pasta salad can be made up to to two days ahead of time. I like to bring it back to room temperature before serving. If it dries out at all in the fridge, I add a splash or two of milk to loosen it back up again.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: side dishes
Keywords: creamy pasta salad recipe, buffalo chicken pasta salad recipe, buffalo chicken recipes, summer picnic recipes, spicy pasta salad, chicken pasta salad
As a college student, I love this recipe for meal prep. Plenty of veggies, it’s colorful, and I find it keeps great in the fridge! I make it on a Sunday night and eat all week, packing for lunch or dishing up a bowl for dinner.
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