High Protein Pasta Salad with Yogurt Dressing

A high protein pasta salad made with seared thin-sliced chicken breasts, fresh vegetables, bowtie pasta, and a low-calorie lemon yogurt dressing! This spicy creamy pasta recipe is exactly the healthy comfort food you need on those hot summer days.

High protein pasta salad in a glass bowl.

Why you’ll love this high protein chicken salad

Pasta salad with yogurt dressing that looks and tastes creamy (without actual cream in it) is the best and most delicious way to make kids (and grownups) eat their veggies!

If you’re looking for healthy pasta salad recipes for weight loss, this is definitely one. It is full of protein from chicken and yogurt, and you only need a small amount of pasta to make it a delicious complete meal.

It is perfect as a quick and easy lunch or dinner. This high protein chicken salad with pasta is also ideal for entertaining, picnic, potluck or even lunchbox.

Greek yogurt and mint are always a delicious combo with chicken, whether it is a chicken marinade as in Baked Hariyali Chicken Legs or a healthy pasta salad with yogurt.

In this recipe, we pan-sear the chicken (or use leftover roast chicken), add crunchy veggies and drizzle the spicy yogurt dressing on top.

You can just leave out the pasta for a delicious low-carb veggie chicken salad. (Find more options in the tips below👇)

This EASY, CREAMY, PASTA SALAD WITH YOGURT DRESSING is heavenly, especially during those hot months when you crave something chilled and yummy. Without spending much time in the kitchen.

Some salads like pumpkin quinoa salad serve as sides while some can be eaten as a wholesome meal. This high-protein pasta salad has every aspect of a balanced meal: protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

So it qualifies as a quick and easy dinner, packed lunch, picnic or potluck salad. (Like the quinoa pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette and creamy pasta with zucchini and mushrooms.)

The spicy yogurt dressing for this salad is very easy to make and bursting with flavors. (Similar to most of my sauces and chutneys like Thai basil pesto, roasted garlic pesto, green mint chutney and avocado chutney.)

It is also a healthy recipe you can make with leftover chicken- roasted, boiled or baked.

I make this salad often with baked thin-sliced chicken breasts or panko crumb chicken. Simply because they’re so easy to make (hands-free, no-mess). It is also the healthiest way to eat this high protein chicken salad.

Pasta salad ingredients

Pasta: Farfalle (bowtie) or fusilli (spiral) are best suited for a pasta salad, especially one with a creamy dressing as the dressing clings on to the grooves and curves of the pasta, making it very flavorful. Like the fusilli in balsamic pasta salad.

Chicken: Chicken breasts are thinly sliced lengthwise and marinated with spices, pan-seared/grilled and diced.

Vegetables: Salad vegetables like bell peppers, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onions and carrots can be used.

Lemon yogurt dressing

This spicy yogurt dressing gives a characteristic creamy flavor to the pasta salad. It is made of basic ingredients:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Mint leaves
  • Almonds
  • Chillies
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Himalayan pink salt
Chicken pasta salad with yogurt dressing in a glass bowl.

How to make high protein pasta salad: Step by step

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Cook the pasta al dente, drain and rinse in cold water. Toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.

While the pasta cooks, prep the vegetables and rest of the ingredients.

Cook the chicken: Slice the chicken breasts horizontally into thin halves. This helps the chicken absorb the marinade easier and quicker. Check out how to thinly slice chicken breasts by clicking here.

Season the chicken with chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, lemon juice and salt. After about 10 minutes, pan-fry the seasoned chicken breasts in oil. Chop them into bite-sized cubes.

Make lemon yogurt dressing: Blend all ingredients in a food processor.

Toss the chicken, vegetables and pasta together. Add half of the spicy yogurt dressing and toss well.

Add the other half and toss again. Garnish with green onions. Serve the veggie chicken salad immediately or chill and serve later.

(This is a no-oil salad dressing like the one I use for the paneer salad recipe.)

Tips to make pasta salad with yogurt dressing

  • Pasta can be replaced with a healthier carb like brown rice or wholewheat pasta.
  • For low-carb options, just skip the pasta (in that case, use half the quantity of the yogurt dressing). Or replace pasta with cooked quinoa for a high-protein quinoa salad.
  • Vegetarian chicken salad: Substitute the chicken with boiled eggs or cubes of pressed tofu cooked with the same seasoning.
  • The yogurt dressing tastes even better if you roast the garlic and almonds. Dry-roast chopped garlic and almonds in a pan on low flame for 5 minutes and cool before blending. Roasted garlic tastes amazing on salads like the beetroot salad with feta and walnuts.
  • If you love citrus flavors, add some lemon zest.
  • Half of mint can be replaced with cilantro for variation.
chicken pasta salad with spicy yogurt dressing in a glass bowl.

Common questions about high protein pasta salad

Do you rinse pasta for a cold pasta salad?

Yes, rinsing helps cool down the pasta so it stops cooking. It also keeps the pasta from sticking together, since rinsing removes the starch that’s clinging onto the pasta.

How do you keep pasta salad moist?

The mint yogurt dressing retains moisture naturally so it keeps the pasta salad juicy and creamy. You don’t even require oil for this dressing.

How do I make pasta taste better?

The spicy yogurt dressing makes all the difference in a pasta salad. Yogurt, mint and garlic are a great combination with pasta and chicken and they come together as a yummy salad.

If you’re looking for more creamy recipes with yogurt like this, honey mustard coleslaw recipe will blow your mind!

Looking For More Salads?

More Pasta Recipes You Might Like

Love spicy pasta? You might want to try the yummy red pesto pasta made with chili pesto sauce, easy spaghetti arrabbiata or spinach almond pesto pasta.

More Chicken Recipes

If you’re looking for simple pan-seared chicken, you might love balsamic chicken with rosemary sauce and lemon coriander chicken with yogurt mustard sauce.

half of the creamy dressing being poured on chicken pasta salad in a glass bowl.

High Protein Pasta Salad with Yogurt Dressing

A high protein pasta salad made with seared thin-sliced chicken breasts, fresh vegetables, bowtie pasta, and a low-calorie lemon yogurt dressing! This spicy creamy pasta recipe is exactly the healthy comfort food you need on those hot summer days.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine International
Servings 4
Calories 382 kcal

Ingredients
  

Lemon yogurt dressing

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves tightly packed
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 or 2 green chilies jalapeno or serrano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt Himalayan pink or regular (note 1)

Chicken

  • 3 chicken breasts about 150 grams/5 oz each
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for searing

Pasta

  • 1 cup uncooked pasta farfalle or fusilli, preferably
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Veggies

  • 1/2 cup bell peppers thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup cucumber thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 3 tablespoons green onions for garnish

Instructions
 

Cook pasta

  • Cook pasta al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with olive oil.
    1 cup uncooked pasta, 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Cook chicken

  • While the pasta is cooking, season and cook the chicken.
    Slice the chicken breasts horizontally into thin halves. Mix chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, lemon juice and salt. Rub the chicken with the spice mix. Keep it aside for 10 minutes.
    3 chicken breasts, 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and sear the chicken breasts on medium-high heat. Cook covered for 3 to 4 minutes on one side, flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes. (note 2)
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Remove from heat and let it cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

Spicy yogurt dressing

  • Blend all the listed ingredients for the dressing and blend until smooth.
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup mint leaves, 1/4 cup almonds, 1 or 2 green chilies, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt

High protein pasta salad

  • Mix the vegetables, chicken and pasta in a large salad bowl. Drizzle half of the yogurt dressing and toss everything together.
    1/2 cup bell peppers, 1/4 cup celery, 1/4 cup cucumber
  • Add the remaining dressing and toss again. Garnish with green onions. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled. (note 3)
    3 tablespoons green onions

Video

Notes

  1. Pasta can be replaced with a healthier carb like brown rice.
  2. For low-carb options, just skip the pasta (in that case, use half the quantity of the yogurt dressing). Or replace pasta with cooked quinoa.
  3. The yogurt dressing tastes even better if you roast the garlic and almonds. Dry-roast chopped garlic and almonds in a pan on low flame for 5 minutes and cool before blending.
  4. Cooking the chicken covered will let the chicken “sweat” and makes it tender and juicy. You can also cook chicken using the juicy baked thin-sliced chicken breasts.
  5. Make-ahead option: This pasta salad doesn’t keep well. You can leave it in the refrigerator overnight, not any longer. It is not suitable for freezing, either.
  6. Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume it the next day.
  7. Vegetarian chicken salad: Substitute the chicken with boiled eggs or cubes of pressed tofu cooked with the same seasoning.
  8. Himalayan pink salt gives better flavor to salads (see: chana dal salad with turmeric, Italian pasta salad). You can substitute with regular salt if unavailable.
  9. If you love citrus flavors, add some lemon zest.
  10. Half of mint can be replaced with cilantro for variation.
 
High Protein Pasta Salad with Yogurt Dressing

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Author profile photo

Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!

I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.

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12 thoughts on “High Protein Pasta Salad with Yogurt Dressing”

  1. Nice recipe. I used ready-made roast chicken, shredded. It neede d an element of sweetness though so i added dried cranberries. Next time I would add some cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and pineapple chunks.

  2. Anna-Marie Longueira

    Good day.
    Thank you for the amazing recepies. I am diabetic and a little picky. For example I cannot for the life of me get yoghurt into my mouth, I despise it 100000%. What can I use in place of the yoghurt?

    1. Hi Anna Marie, thanks for stopping by.
      You can replace yogurt with cashew cream. Soak cashews in hot water for 15 minutes and blend into a smooth paste. This is an equally delicious and healthy alternative to yogurt.

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