Spice up your standard summer sides with this BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad. Think of it as a marriage of two of your favorite cookout classics; pasta salad and BBQ chicken. This salad makes the perfect accompaniment to whatever you happen to be making for Hot Grill Summer; everything from burgers, to steaks, to kabobs and more.
The chicken is marinated with TABASCO Jalapeño Mesquite BBQ Sauce which adds sweet heat and pleasant smokiness. The pasta salad is dressed with a lime vinaigrette that gets a hefty dose of flavor thanks to TABASCO Chipotle Pepper Sauce which is made from vine-ripened red jalapeño peppers which then get slow-smoked over a pecan wood fire.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 ½ pounds)
- 1/ 2 cup TABASCO Jalapeño Mesquite BBQ Sauce
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound pasta, of choice
- Olive oil, as needed
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
- 3 cups corn kernels, fresh of frozen
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add chicken and ½ cup TABASCO Jalapeño Mesquite BBQ Sauce to a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
Once chicken has marinated, preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat. When the grill is hot, remove chicken from the marinade and grill for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time, or until chicken is cooked through and registers 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Remove chicken from grill, tent with foil and let rest. After a 5 minute rest, dice chicken and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente according to the package instructions. Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Toss lightly with olive oil and set aside.
Add bacon to a large skillet and place over medium heat and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Let bacon fat cool slightly, then carefully remove and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat. In the same skillet, heat residual bacon fat over medium-high heat and add corn, cooking for 4-5 minutes, or until caramelized.
Add chicken, bacon, corn, cherry tomatoes and avocado to the bowl with the pasta and toss to combine.
To make the dressing, add lime juice and shallots to a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup TABASCO Jalapeño Mesquite BBQ Sauce, TABASCO Chipotle Pepper Sauce, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified.
Add dressing to the pasta salad and toss to combine. Mix in sliced jalapeños, scallions and fresh basil. Chill for one hour before serving to allow flavors to marry.