This Cobb pasta salad is chuck full of the vibrant flavors and colors you love in a Cobb salad. It’s perfect for a hearty, satisfying and protein packed side dish for any event this summer.
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If you love a good Cobb salad then you will love this Cobb pasta salad; a delightful twist on the classic favorite. This loaded and flavorful pasta salad combines all the components you love from a traditional Cobb salad, with the addition of bowtie pasta and a simple yet delicious homemade dressing.
Imagine tender pasta combined with juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, smoky bacon, hard boiled eggs, tangy gorgonzola, and succulent grilled chicken. The vibrant colors and diverse textures of this Cobb pasta salad create a visually pleasing side dish, with each bite a burst of summery goodness that will keep you coming back for more.
To take this Cobb Pasta Salad to the next level, I’ve paired it with a homemade dressing that perfectly complements the medley of ingredients. The tangy dressing strikes the perfect balance between zesty, slightly creamy and a touch of sweetness.
Whether you’re planning a leisurely picnic in the park, hosting a backyard BBQ, or contributing to a potluck with friends, this Cobb pasta salad is the ultimate side dish option. Its versatility and crowd-pleasing nature make it a winner in any setting.
Looking for more salad inspired pasta salads? Check out my caprese pasta salad and my Mediterranean pasta salad!
Pasta Salad Ingredients
Pasta: I used bowtie pasta because it’s fun, but any short grain pasta will do.
Chicken breast: you can grill, bake or boil in chicken stock. Allow to cool and then cube into small pieces.
Avocado: I love the creaminess the avocado adds to this pasta salad.
Hard boiled eggs: Boil eggs for 8 minutes for a medium boil and 12 minutes for a hard boil. Immediately submerge eggs in an ice bath for easier peeling and then chop.
Bacon: real bacon cooked until crispy and then crumbled. Skip the store bought bacon bits.
Cherry tomatoes: just sliced in half for easier eating.
Red onion: minced and soaked in cold water to remove some of the stringent taste (I recommend not skipping this step!)
Gorgonzola cheese: crumbled, or bleu cheese.
Homemade Dressing Ingredients
Olive oil: the better quality olive oil you use, the more flavor your dressing will have.
Red wine vinegar: adds delicious tang and depth to the dressing.
Mayonnaise: mayonnaise adds a slight creaminess and helps to emulsify the dressing.
Dijon mustard: adds flavor and also helps to emulsify the dressing.
Honey: for a touch of sweetness and to balance out the tang from the vinegar.
Seasoning: sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
Cutting board and knife
Measuring cups and spoons
In the base of a small blender, combine oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, honey, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Blend dressing for 10 seconds, or until emulsified, and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package instructions in heavily salted water. Strain pasta and toss with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.
In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta with cooked and chopped chicken, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, red onion, crumbled bacon, avocado and gorgonzola cheese. Pour over about 1 cup of the dressing and toss until everything is well coated.
Reserve remaining dressing to redress leftover pasta salad.
- Use rotisserie chicken to save time.
- Soak red onion in cold water for 10 minutes. You will still get flavor from the red onion, but soaking in water removes the harshness from it.
- Cook pasta to al dente, or until it has a slight bite. Overcooked pasta will become mushy when tossed with the dressing.
- Do not rinse the pasta. It will wash away the salted pasta water and nutrients from the pasta. Plus, hot pasta will also absorb more dressing than cold pasta.
- Over time, the pasta will absorb more dressing. Use leftover dressing to redress pasta salad, as needed.
What other dressings can I use if I don’t want to make my own?
So many types of dressing work with Cobb salad. Feel free to use a store bought oil and vinegar dressing, Italian, balsamic, Ranch or blue cheese.
Start with 1 cup of dressing, toss with the pasta salad ingredients. Add more dressing, if desired
Can I make this ahead of time?
You can prep all of the components – chicken, hard boiled eggs, bacon – the day before or morning of and you can assemble the pasta salad as early as the morning of. This will give time for the flavors to meld, but the avocado should still be green.
Can I add lettuce to this Cobb pasta salad?
You can certainly add chopped romaine lettuce to this pasta salad to give it even more Cobb salad vibes. I found that it wilted quickly, especially if you use the leafy part of the lettuce (so not good for leftovers) and didn’t add much to the pasta salad.
Is this Cobb pasta salad good leftover?
Yes, if you know you will have a lot of leftovers or plan on eating this as a meal prep, I’d recommend leaving off the avocado until you are ready to enjoy. Everything else is great leftover and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Bowtie pasta: any short grain pasta, such as penne or rotini, will work for this recipe. Use gluten free pasta, such as Banza, if needed to make this recipe gluten free.
Gorgonzola cheese: bleu cheese can be subbed for a barely noticeable difference. However, if you or your guests don’t like the taste of gorgonzola/blue cheese, feta is a great alternative.
Chicken breast: feel free to use chicken thighs, or for a quicker recipe, use shredded or cubed rotisserie chicken.
Bacon: feel free to use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. I prefer turkey bacon as it is less fatty and less of a mess to cook, and found it worked well in this recipe.
Olive oil: I did test avocado oil in place of olive oil, and while it does work, the dressing does lack a depth of flavor it has when olive oil is used.
More Summer Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love
- Easy Summer Orzo Salad
- Burrata Caprese
- Southwest Pasta Salad
- Elote Corn Fritters
- Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad
If you make this Cobb Pasta Salad, please leave a comment below and rate this recipe! If you snap a pic, be sure to tag me on Instagram @thechowdown! I love seeing your creations!
Cobb Pasta Salad
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Cobb Pasta Salad
- 1 lb short grain pasta such as bowtie, penne or rotini
- 2 cups cooked and diced chicken
- 3 hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- 4 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 1/2 cup gorgonzola or bleu cheese
- In the base of a small blender, combine oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, honey, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Blend dressing for 10 seconds, or until emulsified, and set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in heavily salted water. Strain pasta and toss with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta with cooked and chopped chicken, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, red onion, crumbled bacon, avocado and gorgonzola cheese. Pour over about 1 cup of the dressing and toss until everything is well coated. Reserve remaining dressing to redress leftover pasta salad.
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