I needed a salad to take to the church camp out tonight and wanted something a little unique, not potato or green, and obviously delicious. I browsed Pinterest for pasta salad ideas and narrowed it down to a chicken Caesar pasta salad or a buffalo chicken pasta salad. Hubby voted buffalo chicken so I started here (http://jessfuel.com/2012/08/14/buffalo-chicken-pasta-salad/) and as always took lots of liberties and made it my own.
The dear hubby hates celery, so right off the bat I decided to omit the classic buffalo chicken veggie and I happened to replace it with green pepper because I had 4 giant ones sitting in my veggie drawer. Then I decided it needed more veggies and more color so I added more veggies based on what I had - tomatoes, olives, green onion, and of course the classic carrot. I also think it would be good with cucumber or basically any vegetable you like or have.
I wanted the chicken to have more of a buffalo flavor so I soaked it in the buffalo sauce before putting it on the salad. I also used my home canned chicken because it's simple and handy. Leftover rotisserie, breaded or simply cooked chicken breast would be equally delicious.
I also used ranch instead ofblue cheese dressing because I always have it on hand and decided lots of blue cheese crumbles would have a better effect. If I had blue cheese dressing I would just as well have used it.
I opted for frank's red hot wing buffalo sauce.
I had a jar of the classic franks red hot but wanted a true buffalo flavor. I don't actually know the difference and couldn't tell much when I tasted them side by side. The heat level can be controlled with the amount of buffalo sauce. I made mine on the medium side- too spicy for most of my kids and not spicy enough for Tom and I. Frank's also has a hot buffalo sauce. That might be the choice for spicy lovers without too much vinegar flavor.
I'm super happy with how the salad turned out. Maybe it's because I'm super hungry right now. And the true test will be how it fares at the camp out tonight.
Buffalo chicken pasta salad
One box of pasta, cooked al dente
3/4-1 cup each -green onions, olives (1 can, halved), carrots, green pepper, tomatoes, blue cheese
2 cups of cooked chicken soaked in buffalo sauce (canned, breaded, breasts)
One Cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
1/4 plus cup buffalo sauce to taste
More blue cheese to top
Cook and cool the pasta. Prepare veggies and cheese crumbles and set aside. Mix chicken with buffalo sauce to taste. Start small and add more. Mix dressing with an additional 1/4 c or so buffalo sauce. Combine pasta with veggies, cheese and chicken. Mix in dressing. Top with more cheese. Serve nice and cold.