In this version, pasta salad meets chicken fajitas, without the tortilla wrap. You have the spicy Mexican flavours combined with marinated chicken, tender-crisp peppers and tossed in a lime-cilantro vinaigrette. With each delicious mouthful, enjoy the flavour explosion. It tastes even better the next day!
Move over slow cooker, it’s time for Chicken Fajita Pasta Salad! My love affair with this versatile side dish continues again this year. In the winter, I tend to eat more comfort food recipes and use my slow cooker multiple times a week. When the warmer weather hits, it gets stored in the cupboard and I start making lighter meals.
One of my favourite summer recipes is pasta salad. What’s great about pasta salad is that there are so many variations. It’s a dish that never gets boring and is fun to experiment with.
Is This Chicken Fajita Pasta Salad Meant to be Served Warm or Cold
You can do either. I have not been able to resist the temptation to eat this salad fresh off the stove, and it was incredible. Or if you want to make it and serve for dinner, it tastes great cold. This is seriously a fantastic chicken pasta salad that is versatile.
What Dressing Do You Use for Fajita Pasta Salad
I made my own dressing. It is super simple and just a few ingredients are all you need. Lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, and seasoning. Whisk it up, and then pour over the pasta and fajita mix. I know it sounds simple but the flavors work incredibly well together and offer the right amount of flavor to the dish.
Searching for more Pasta Salad Recipes
Whip up a batch for your next barbecue, picnic or just because. I also have a few other pasta salad recipes to check out including Tortellini Salad, Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad, Shrimp Pasta Salad, Roasted Pepper Pasta Salad, Greek Pasta Salad, Chili Pasta Salad, and Easy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad. Also, check out my Pasta Salad board on Pinterest.
What Type of Chicken Do You Use for this Fajita Salad
You want to use a boneless chicken for this recipe. Since you are going to dice it up and spread out into the salad you don’t want to have bones in your chicken. If you use skin-on chicken you can choose to leave it on, or feel free to remove it. I tend to use tenderloins or boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Can I Use Pre-Cooked Chicken for this Pasta Salad
Yes. If you want you can skip the step of cooking your chicken, and toss it in with the peppers to help warm it up and blend the flavor a bit. I have used this recipe with leftover rotisserie chicken before and it tasted incredible. Just don’t reach for a chicken that has a lot of seasoning already on it, or it will adjust the flavor.
Can I Use Homemade Taco Seasoning for this Fajita Pasta Salad
Of course. If you have a homemade taco seasoning that you enjoy, use that instead of a packet style you get in the store. Just any regular taco seasoning works. You can do lower sodium, spicey version or even a mild version.
What Type of Pasta is Best for Fajita Salad
Truly you can use any pasta you want. I reached for a smaller pasta, so each bite you can pair with all the ingredients in the dish. But feel free to reach for elbow, shells, bowtie, or any other type of pasta.
Can I Make Chicken Fajita Salad in Advance
Yes. You can make this a day in advance if you would like. Just get it all ready and transfer into a bowl and tuck in the fridge. Then when you are ready to serve the salad cold and enjoy. If you feel some of the pasta is a little dry, toss before serving.
How to Make Chicken Fajita Salad
Start by warming up a skillet on the stove, and cooking your chicken sprinkled with a little taco seasoning until fully cooked. Then add in your peppers along with one more teaspoon of taco seasoning. Then stir and let cook for around five minutes. You want to cook the peppers until they are slightly softened.
Then grab another pot and cook your pasta according to the package. Then drain and place the pasta in a large bowl. Once the chicken and peppers are cooked, add it to the bowl of cooked pasta. Stir and set aside. In a small bowl, you will now make your dressing and pour over the mixture. Mix well and then serve.
How Long Will Fajita Salad Store in Fridge
You can keep this salad in the fridge for 3-4 days. After that, I recommend using your best judgment in terms of if the salad is bad. This is a fantastic pasta salad for meal prepping for the week for quick lunches or even dinner.
How often do you eat pasta salad?
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced
- 1 orange pepper, sliced
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 package (16oz/410g) rotini pasta, uncooked
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning over chicken and continue cooking an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in the peppers and 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning and stir to combine with the chicken. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked and peppers are slightly softened.
- Meanwhile on a separate burner, cook pasta according to its directions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
- Once your pepper and chicken mixture is cooked, add it to the bowl with the cooked pasta. Stir to combine.
- To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, remaining taco seasoning in the package and cilantro. Pour over the pasta, peppers and chicken and mix together.
- It tastes good warm if you can’t wait to dig in. Otherwise, cover and place in the fridge and let it chill until you are ready to serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 101mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g