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bowl of macaroni salad with chicken and herbs

Macaroni Salad with Chicken

  • Author: Jenny Meier | Kitchen Skip blog
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This is a light and lemony cold macaroni salad with chicken tossed in creamy Green Goddess dressing made from yogurt, olive oil and fresh herbs. No mayo!

This macaroni salad is also delicious without chicken. Read the blog post above for ingredient substitutions and additions. 


Units Scale

Green Goddess Yogurt Dressing

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I prefer full-fat, but you can also use low fat)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves (some stem is okay), roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Macaroni and Chicken Salad

  • 3 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast (from 2 to 3 chicken breasts)
  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (I snip the scallions with kitchen shears)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced or finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, or dill)
  • Zest from one small lemon (optional, but adds flavor!)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor: yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, green onion, garlic, mustard and salt. A blender will make the consistency of the dressing thinner; a food processor will keep the consistency thicker. 
  2. Blend until very smooth, with finely chopped herbs. 
  3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil (3 to 4 quarts).
  4. Cook the macaroni  until al dente, according to package directions (usually 7 minutes for macaroni).
  5. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water until the noodles are cool. Give the colander a few shakes to drain off excess water. Pour the cooled pasta into a large bowl. Add a little bit of salt to the pasta so it tastes seasoned, but not overly salty. 
  6. Add the scallions, celery, and fresh herbs to the pasta. Mix well.
  7. Pour half of the dressing over the chicken and toss the chicken well to coat. Taste the chicken and add salt if needed.
  8. Add the chicken to the bowl of pasta.
  9. Add the remaining dressing to the bowl of pasta. Mix well.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the lemon zest (if using), more salt and pepper, and more fresh herbs if desired. 



I use 12 ounces (not a full pound) of pasta for this recipe because if pasta salad has too much pasta and not enough dressing, it will taste a little bland. I also like the balanced amount of pasta and chicken in this recipe when I use 12 ounces of pasta instead of a full pound. 

Don't worry about measuring the herbs exactly. Just add approximately the right amount. Error on the side of adding more, rather than less, fresh herbs. 

This macaroni salad tastes best if eaten within 3 days of making it. You can freshen up leftover pasta salad by stirring in a little bit of Greek yogurt, which brings back the creamy texture.  

  • Category: pasta
  • Method: boil
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: macaroni salad chicken, macaroni salad, chicken salad, green goddess dressing, yogurt dressing,