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Cilantro Corn Pasta Salad in bowl

Cilantro Corn Pasta Salad with Chicken

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes (if using leftover chicken)
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Chop, Boil
  • Cuisine: American


This Cilantro Corn Pasta Salad is a summer favorite in our house—both kids and adults alike love it! I like to make it with leftover chicken to make prep even easier, but add more time if you need to roast or grill chicken. Sub the cilantro with more basil if you don’t love cilantro. Enjoy!


Units Scale

Pasta Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-ounce) package farfalle (bowtie) pasta (or any short-cut pasta)
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast, chopped (this is great to use leftover roasted chicken, about 2 chicken breasts total)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ears fresh corn, sliced off the cobb, OR or 1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 45 green onions, finely sliced (use both white and green parts, about 1/2 cup total)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • sea salt or Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
  • 1 large clove of fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water to thin out after processing with the oil


(If not using leftover chicken, roast 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for serving.)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and cook the pasta according to the package instructions; you’ll drain and rinse it to stop the cooking process when it’s done. Set out a large serving bowl to make the pasta salad.
  2. While the pasta water comes up to a boil and cooks:
  3. Sauté the fresh corn: Remove the husk, then slice the corn off the cobb over a bowl. Heat 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Add the fresh corn with 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and a few spins of freshly ground black pepper and sauté for 5-6 minutes until it starts to brown but remains crunchy. Add the sautéed corn to the large serving bowl. (If using frozen corn, skip this step and simply defrost it by adding it to the pasta for the last minute the pasta cooks, then drain it with the pasta. Omit the chili powder.)
  4. Chop the chicken and mince the red bell pepper, and slice the green onions. Add all to the large serving bowl.
  5. Make the dressing: Add all dressing ingredients except the water to a food processor or blender. Pulse until a sauce is made, leaving chunks of herbs if desired. Quickly blend or pulse in the water if needed to thin it out a little so it pours evenly over the pasta salad. 
  6. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Add the drained and rinsed pasta to the serving bowl.
  7. Pour the dressing over the pasta, chicken, bell pepper, and corn and toss to coat. Add the diced avocado and feta cheese and gently toss again to combine. Serve right away warm or chill to serve cold.

Keywords: Corn Pasta Salad, Corn in Pasta Salad