chicken + bacon pasta salad: the perfect picnic recipe

This past weekend the sun was shining and it was absolutely lovely out (a rarity for March in Portland), so we headed out to the park with some friends and our little ones to have a picnic!

I love a good picnic, but my husband is often a little less enthusiastic about it. It basically encompasses two things he doesn’t like:
1. Sitting on the ground (“That’s what God invented couches for”)
2. Lunch food  (My man likes his meals hot and isn’t a fan of sandwiches or other picnicky type appetizers – bring on the meat!)
So…in order to make it a little more enjoyable for him, I searched high and low for a food option that would be a little more substantial and filling for him in order to balance out the rest of the picnic fare. I couldn’t really do anything about him having to sit on the ground, but hopefully the food would make up for it.
And thus, this pasta salad recipe was born!
Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad
*1-2 cups whole wheat pasta (I used rotini, but you can use whatever you’d like – also base the amount of pasta you use by how many people you’ll be sharing the dish with – it’s not a perfect science!)
*8 slices of bacon 
*1 small red onion chopped super small
*2 plum tomatoes
*3 stalks of celery
*2 T fresh parsley
*1/2 tsp garlic salt
*salt + pepper (to taste)
*1/2 cup mayonaise 
*2 T olive oil
*1 lemon (juiced)
*Cook bacon (pre-diced into small pieces) until done, but not too crispy and set aside.
*Cook chicken (I grilled ours) and cut into small cubes and set aside.
*Cook pasta; drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
*Combine chicken and bacon in a large bowl along with the tomatoes, celery, parsley and red onion. Mix together. Then add in the mayo, lemon juice and the rest of the spices until you like the taste.
** I also forgot to mention that I added in some of our own special spice mixture at the end to give it some kick – it’s a combination of cayenne pepper, chipotle and chile powder.



  1. Yum! Looks so delicious! I love picnics…but like you said, the nice weather is rare here in Oregon. 🙂

  2. Your picnics always look so perfect!

Leave a Comment