Easy Cashew Chicken Pasta Salad

# Easy Cashew Chicken Pasta Salad

**Beat the summer heat with this refreshing and satisfying Easy Cashew Chicken Pasta Salad! Perfect for family gatherings, potlucks, or a quick weeknight dinner, this dish is a crowd-pleaser that combines tender chicken, crunchy cashews, and a tangy dressing.**

## Ingredients:
– 3 cups cooked rotini pasta
– 2 cups cooked and diced chicken breast
– 1 cup cashews
– 1 cup grapes, halved
– 1 cup chopped celery
– 1/2 cup diced red onion
– 1/2 cup mayonnaise
– 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 1 tbsp honey
– Salt and pepper to taste

## Instructions:
1. **Cook the Pasta:** Follow the package instructions to cook the rotini pasta. Once done, drain the pasta and let it cool completely.
2. **Prepare the Salad Base:** In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, diced chicken breast, cashews, halved grapes, chopped celery, and diced red onion.
3. **Make the Dressing:** In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper until smooth and well combined.
4. **Combine Everything:** Pour the creamy dressing over the pasta mixture in the large bowl. Toss everything together until all the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
5. **Chill:** Cover the bowl and place the salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This chilling time allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.
6. **Serve:** Once chilled, give the salad a good stir, then serve it cold and enjoy this delightful dish!

## Notes:
– **Chicken Variations:** Feel free to use any cooked chicken you have on hand—grilled, poached, or even rotisserie chicken works well in this salad.
– **Nut-Free Option:** If you have nut allergies or prefer a nut-free salad, you can substitute the cashews with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
– **Sweetness Level:** Adjust the amount of honey according to your preference. If you like a sweeter dressing, you can add a bit more honey.
– **Pasta Choices:** While rotini pasta holds up well in this salad due to its shape, you can use other types of pasta such as bow-tie, penne, or elbow macaroni.

## Suggestions:
– **Add More Veggies:** For an extra burst of color and nutrition, consider adding chopped bell peppers, shredded carrots, or cherry tomatoes.
– **Protein Options:** Swap the chicken for cooked shrimp, tofu, or even cooked quinoa for a vegetarian variation.
– **Fresh Herb Garnish:** Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or cilantro make a wonderful garnish, adding a touch of green and fresh flavor to the salad.
– **Serving Ideas:** This pasta salad pairs perfectly with grilled meats or can be served as a standalone meal for a lighter option.

## Conclusion:
Whether you are hosting a summer cookout, looking for a dish to bring to a potluck, or simply want an easy and delicious meal at home, the Easy Cashew Chicken Pasta Salad is your go-to recipe. With its delightful combination of textures and flavors, this salad is sure to become a favorite in your household. Don’t wait—give it a try and enjoy a bite of summer in every forkful!

## FAQ:

**Q: Can I make this salad ahead of time?**
A: Absolutely! This salad is perfect for making ahead. Prepare the salad and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Just give it a good stir before serving.

**Q: Can I use a different type of nut?**
A: Yes, you can easily substitute cashews with other nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts depending on your preference.

**Q: Is there a substitute for Greek yogurt?**
A: You can use sour cream or regular yogurt as a substitute for Greek yogurt in the dressing.

**Q: How do I store leftovers?**
A: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors will continue to meld and taste even better after sitting.

**Q: Can I add more dressing to the salad?**
A: If you prefer a creamier salad, feel free to double the dressing recipe and add more according to your preference.