DadsCooking: 20 Minute Broccoli Pasta Salad

In honor of National Salad Month, I thought I’d share a quick recipe for a hot summer day that is both delicious and nutritious (yes, I’m aware I sound like a commercial)!

In the Armstrong home, one of our favorite places to dine is called California Chicken Cafe. It’s great food at good prices and best of all, it’s pretty healthy for eating out. One of the dishes we all love is this broccoli pasta salad that they make there… we order it every time! So, one day we decided to try to duplicate it ourselves and add chicken to it. It worked out great and we’ve been making it during the summer primarily for the past few years. Recently Hidden Valley Ranch launched some new salad dressings and when I signed on to lend a hand to this parent panel I was given a box of those dressing to try out and a new family favorite was born! Among the new dressings is HVR’s Farmhouse Originals Pomegranate Vinaigrette which is absolutely delicious which lead me to experiment with our household favorite chicken, broccoli pasta salad. Now, since it’s just us here, I’m going to share this recipe with you. Keep in mind I’m no chef so if you’re looking for exact measurements… you’re in the wrong place. I do a lot of that “season to taste” thing but I will provide some approximations for those of you that need them.

Armstrong Broccoli Chicken Pasta Salad (approx. 10, 12oz. servings)

3 bags of Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips
1 bottle of mayo (or mayo substitute)
1 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1 14oz box of Rotini pasta (or another fun shape… wagon wheels maybe?)
1 bottle Hidden Valley Ranch Farmhouse Originals Pomegranate Vinaigrette
1 16oz. bag of broccoli

Here’s how it all goes down!
Like I said at the beginning… this meal is about a quick and easy prep so no need to cook the chicken, just remove it from the package and put into a large bowl. Boil the noodles according to the instructions on the package. The most arduous task here will be prepping the broccoli! You’re going to want to cut the broccoli into florets (pardon my French… small pieces) to make them easier to eat. Once cut into florets, add the broccoli to the bowl along with the cooked pasta and now add the mayo until it completely coats the broccoli, pasta and chicken. You can add more or less to taste depending on whether you like the dish wet, or a little drier. Now, the tricky part is that my children also love this dish with ranch dressing so sometimes we halve the amount of mayo and add ranch. Now, enter: Farmhouse Originals Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Think of this more as a “seasoning” and add to taste. You’ve already made the dish “wet” with the mayo so no need to douse it with the vinaigrette. Just keep adding that until the pasta dish is flavored to your liking and there you have it! Give it a try and post back… tell me what you think.

Protips: Make sure to start the pasta boiling before you begin prep on the broccoli. This way, once you’re not waiting idly on any one thing to finish. On the hottest of days, after draining the pasta, rinse it in cold water to cool it down before adding to the mix.

We had a little mishap with the broccoli pasta salad this go ’round, so I will update this post with pictures of the final dish in the coming days. The pic posted up is of the inspiration for our little dish, California Chicken Cafe’s broccoli pasta salad.


I have been compensated to participate in the Hidden Valley Ranch “Love Your Veggies” parent panel and will be posting content pertaining to getting your family (and especially those kids) to eat their veggies. It’s for a great cause and it’s all about healthy habits but in the interest of transparency and full-disclosure, these posts will always be clearly labeled.

About Tshaka Armstrong

Tshaka Armstrong is the husband to one awesome wife, dad to three awesome children. On any given day you may find him posting internet & tech family safety info here and on his personal blog, or chatting with his tweeps when he's not dadvocating here. Join in the conversation, drop a line, share a joke and join him in encouraging each other to be awesome!