I was today years old when I learned that the “club” in club sandwich stands for “chicken and lettuce under bacon.” And I’m a person who has eaten many a club sandwich, but I guess I was too busy enjoying them to stop to think about the name. And they really are easy to enjoy, aren’t they? Hearty chicken paired with crispy salty bacon, nutty Swiss cheese, juicy tomatoes, and fresh lettuce all tucked in between a few layers of toasted bread. Yum. This recipe takes those same ingredients (save for the lettuce) and pairs them with chewy pasta instead of the toasted sourdough for a pasta salad that’s a more than welcome addition to any potluck or picnic. (It makes a mighty fine lunch, too.)
So what do we have here? While you can use any kind of short pasta, we’ve opted for shells because we love the way they catch the creamy dressing (more on that later). You can probably guess the rest of the ingredients, but just in case, there’s crispy smoked bacon, chopped chicken, diced tomatoes, and cubed Swiss cheese. Oh, and avocado. I guess that makes this more of a California club, and if that’s not your style you can certainly leave it out.
The dressing is reminiscent of ranch, but a little more mild to mimic the simple mayo spread you’d find on the sandwich. You just whisk together some buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, parsley, and a bit of garlic powder and you’re good to go. (It’s great on a green salad too so don’t hesitate to make extra!)
It’s hard to pick a favorite sandwich because, well, there are just so many amazing contenders! But a classic club somehow always seems to find a way to the top of my list. With this pasta salad, there’s no need to pick favorites, just enjoy that winning combination of chicken, bacon, Swiss, and tomato.
Chicken Club Pasta Salad
- 8 oz shell pasta
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, cubed
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, snipped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking and set aside.
- While pasta cooks, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, chives parsley, garlic powder, and salt and pepper for the dressing. Set aside.
- Add cooked pasta, bacon, chicken, avocado, tomato, and Swiss cheese to a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and gently stir to combine. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies.