The recipe prices will vary based on fluctuating grocery costs. Please use what is posted as a guide.
Poppy Seed Pasta Salad is an easy, make-ahead dinner perfect for hot summer nights when you don’t feel like heating the kitchen. It’s also great for packing up for picnics, barbecues, potlucks, and beach days!
This recipe costs approximately $11.21 to make. The recipe serves ten for around $1.12 per serving.
For another delicious summer recipe with poppy seeds, try my Avocado Strawberry Spinach Wraps and Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans for Sandwiches.
Chicken Pasta Salad With Grapes
The pasta salad is a beautiful mix of ingredients that perfectly complement each other. Cooked bowtie pasta serves as the base with the addition of savory chicken, sweet grapes and craisins, crunchy slivered almonds, and fresh green onions.
I love making pasta salads during the summer. They’re cool and refreshing, two absolute musts when you’re in the thick of summer. This recipe is excellent for luncheons or showers because it’s easy to make, serves a crowd, and comes together quickly.
My favorite part of this pasta salad is the Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing. The dressing is different from other recipes because it has my secret ingredient, grated onion!
I only use a tablespoon of grated onion, which packs a fantastic flavor punch. Trust me. One tablespoon is all you need for the best Poppy Seed Dressing!
Why is grated onion different from chopped onion?
Compared to chopped onion, grated onion damages more onions cells, thus intensifying the flavor. It’s the same concept with garlic– the more damaged cells, the more intense the flavor.
Ingredients and Estimated Cost
Per Serving Cost: $1.12
Recipe Cost: $11.21
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise – $1.38
- ½ cup half-and-half – $0.38
- ¼ cup granulated sugar – $0.04
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar – $0.08
- 1 Tablespoon grated white onion – $0.04
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds – $0.36
- 1 lb bow tie pasta – $1.84
- 2 cups cooked chicken – $2.98
- 1 cup sliced green grapes – $1.17
- 6 oz package Craisins – $1.99
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds – $0.53
- 6 green onions – $0.42
NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in May 2023.
How To Make Poppy Seed Pasta Salad
***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.
- First, add all of the dressing ingredients to the blender and blend on high for about one minute.
- Chill the dressing in the fridge for one hour.
- Next, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Then drain the water, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, and add the chicken, grapes, craisins, almonds, green onions, and dressing.
- Stir the ingredients together.
- Finally, cover and chill for at least three hours before serving.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Use plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise for a lower-fat version of the creamy poppy seed dressing. If you do so, you will need to increase the sugar to cut through the yogurt tang. I suggest starting with one additional tablespoon of sugar and adjusting for taste.
- Leftover rotisserie chicken would be perfect in this recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any, so I seasoned chicken tenderloins in the oven and cut each into bite-sized pieces.
- You can use red grapes instead of green grapes.
- Also, feel free to use chopped pecans or walnuts instead of almonds.
- While you can use store-bought poppy seed dressing instead of homemade, I don’t recommend it because this homemade dressing is far superior!
Storage and Serving Tips
SERVE: As with most recipes with dairy products in them, you shouldn’t leave this pasta salad out for longer than two hours.
STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Give it a gentle toss before serving again.
FREEZE: While not ideal, you can freeze the pasta salad without the dressing for up to 2 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and add the dressing before serving. Note that the texture of the pasta and the add-ins will change upon thawing.
Poppy seed dressing is a delectable blend of mayonnaise, half-and-half, granulated sugar, apple cider vinegar, grated white onion, and poppy seeds. This creamy and slightly sweet dressing offers a delightful balance of flavors, with the subtle crunch of poppy seeds adding an extra layer of texture.
Overcooking the pasta: Be careful not to overcook it, as it can become mushy and lose its texture when mixed with other ingredients. Instead, cook it al dente and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Not choosing the correct type of pasta: Short pasta has lots of nooks and crannies to trap in the flavors and dressing, unlike long and straight pasta.
Not balancing the flavors: Avoid an unbalanced pasta salad by ensuring harmony of flavors. For example, my pasta salad combines sweet, savory, and tangy elements within the ingredients.
Overloading with dressing: Too much dressing is not a good thing! It can overpower the other ingredients and make the salad heavy.
Not chilling the pasta salad: Allow the pasta salad to chill in the fridge for at least three hours to allow the ingredients to marry together.
More Side Dishes
- Deli Style Macaroni Salad
- Instant Pot Velveeta Mac and Cheese
- Grape Salad
- Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
- Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
- Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Cold Italian Pasta Salad
- Southwest Pasta Salad
- Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
Poppy Seed Pasta Salad
CREAMY POPPY SEED DRESSING:
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon grated white onion
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 pound bow tie pasta
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 cup sliced green grapes
- 6 ounce package Craisins
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds toasted
- 6 green onions green and white parts sliced thin
MAKE CREAMY POPPY SEED DRESSING:
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender.
- Blend on high until combined and slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
- Chill the dressing for 1 hour.
MAKE PASTA SALAD:
- Cook pasta as per package instructions.
- Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl.
- Add chicken, grapes, Craisins, almonds, green onions, and all of creamy poppy seed dressing.
- Stir until pasta is coated in dressing, and all other ingredients are evenly distributed.
FINIAH AND SERVE:
- Cover and chill at least 3 hours.
- Serve and enjoy.