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This Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad is the perfect quick fix salad. It’s almost no-cook and comes together in minutes. Grilled pesto chicken tossed together with a creamy, lemony parmesan dressing, fresh romaine lettuce, grilled corn, crispy bacon, and creamy avocado. This pasta is simple to toss together, super flavorful, filling, and pretty healthy too. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch. Or serve this up at your next backyard dinner with friends.

overhead photo of Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad

I told you I was really going to lean into Memorial Day recipes this week and I wasn’t kidding! It might be dark and dreary here, but I’m not letting that stop me from sharing new summery recipes.

Like many of you, for me, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer. It’s finally that time of year for low-key, lazy days, and backyard dinners with friends and family.

With last summer being so uneventful, I feel like everyone is on the same page this summer…live it up and really embrace backyard entertaining and picnics at the park. It’s exciting, right? I really missed summer entertaining and couldn’t be more excited to share some new recipes with you guys that are easy and delicious!

So with that, I’ll stop rambling and move on to this pasta!

Pesto Chicken before cooking

The inspiration

Summertime as a kid meant simple dinners at our house. My dad would do a lot of grilled chicken and burgers, but his specialty, and my personal favorite, was his pasta salad.

He would do it up so simply with broccoli, peppers, basil, big chunks of cheddar cheese, lots of olive oil, and hot pasta. He’d toss everything together and the cheese would melt over the pasta. It was SO GOOD. I still, to this day use his trick of tossing hot pasta with cubes of cheddar. Hot pasta equals melty cheese, which equals extra delicious pasta. Trust me on this. I know this may not be the usual way to make a pasta salad, but it’s good!

I took Dad’s pesto grilled chicken and pasta salad and combined them together to make this delicious hybrid. It’s not a simple as my dad’s pasta, but both are equally delicious.

Pesto Chicken after cooking

The details on this pesto chicken pasta

I like to start with the croutons. Every salad is made better with crunchy croutons, even a pasta salad. I love making mine with torn ciabatta or sourdough bread and flaky sea salt. They’re so easy to make, I simply crisp them up in the oven. If you can find the time, homemade vs store-bought breadcrumbs are definitely worth a little extra effort.

Now on to the chicken. I kept it easy, yet still flavorful, by simply tossing the chicken with basil pesto. Using pesto is my go-to way to add delicious flavor, yet still keep the recipe as easy as can be. And with all the fresh basil we’ve been currently growing, I’m loving making basil pesto.

I decided to throw the chicken on the grill. Grilled chicken adds that summer flare, and I love the flavor and char the chicken gets from the grill. That said, if you don’t love grilling, you can easily cook the chicken up in a skillet.

Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad |

On to that creamy parmesan dressing…

This is truly one of my favorite dressings. It’s a combination of creamy tahini (sesame seed paste) or mayo. For this pasta, I used avocado oil mayo, but tahini is great too. Then I whisk in Dijon mustard and add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and plenty of lemon. The mayo or tahini adds creaminess, while the parmesan adds plenty of flavor. I even make this dressing right in the bottom of my salad bowl to save on dishes.

As soon as you drain the pasta, toss it with the dressing while the pasta is still steaming. Then toss in the croutons, lettuce, grilled corn, bacon, and avocado.

Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad |

You can eat this warm or at room temperature, but me being the hot food lover that I am, I like this best while it’s still a little warm.

Also, though I do love this warm, the longer the pasta sits, the more flavor it develops, so this is also perfect for making ahead. My only recommendation is to wait to add the avocado so that it doesn’t get brown.

It’s as quick and easy as that. What I love most about this pasta recipe is that it really does use some of summer’s best ingredients. It might be early for corn, but we have three months ahead to make and enjoy this pasta!

Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad |

Looking for other summer salad recipes? Here are a few ideas:

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad

Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad

Melon Basil Burrata Salad

Lastly, if you make this Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 559 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. In a bowl, combine the chicken, 1/2 cup pesto, red pepper flakes, and a large pinch of salt. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, turning halfway through cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini or mayo, dijon, Worcestershire, parmesan, and a pinch each of red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
    3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain. Add the hot pasta, cheddar, and 2 tablespoons pesto and toss vigorously to combine. Add the chicken, croutons, lettuce, corn, and bacon, tossing to combine.
    4. Top the pasta with avocado. Season with freshly cracked pepper and salt. Serve warm or cold.


Homemade Croutons: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Toss together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cups cubed bread, and a pinch of salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until toasted.
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Pesto Chicken, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad |

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  1. 4 stars
    Besides a family dinner, its a great dish to take to a potluck or picnic!
    Grilling the chicken and corn takes it to the next level. It makes a ton! Stashed some away for lunch today!

    1. Hi Amy,
      Happy Wednesday!!🍊🍋 I appreciate you trying this recipe and your feedback, so glad to hear that it turned out well for you! xx

  2. 5 stars
    Sooo delicious, as USUAL!! My family knows not to ask anymore when I make something amazing…..they know it’s a Tiegan HBH recipe! Keep ‘em coming!

    1. Hi Susan,
      Wonderful!! I’m so glad to hear that this recipe was a winner, I appreciate you making it and your comment! xx

  3. 5 stars
    One of our favorites! Made it at least 5 times now, perfect dish for a group. The tahini and basil, chefs kiss!
    Thanks Tieghan!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Awesome!!😎 Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT

  4. Eeeeeeeek! This looks so great and I will totally make this but…

    Tieghan please don’t say things like this is a quick-fix salad and that it is almost no-cook.

    You have to

    COOK the pasta
    COOK the chicken
    COOK the homemade croutons
    COOK the bacon
    COOK the corn

    Don’t want to be sassy but this is kinda crazy

  5. 10 out of 10! My 9 year old loved all the flavors and my husband was raving. This one will go on weekly rotation! Thank you!

    1. Hi Andrea,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that you have been enjoying this recipe and appreciate your notes and feedback! xT

      1. 100/10. Absolutely amazing (even without the dressing that I initially forgot to add!) Tastes like summer in a bowl. So many layers of flavors from such simple ingredients! Huge hit with my family of picky eaters and can’t wait to have the cold leftovers tomorrow!