This is my absolute favorite summer salad. It's my first choice to bring to potlucks or picnics because it is easy to make and it's just different enough to make it special. The first time I ate it was at a potluck for our department at grad school. I scooped myself a small portion because sometimes that's the safest thing to do at a potluck and ate a bite and went back for more. And more. And more. Finally when it was embarrassing how often I was re-visiting the food table I made it my mission to find out the recipe so I could make my own and eat as much as I wanted in the privacy of my own home. And oh boy, have I ever.
The salad uses your favorite pasta shape, in my case farfalle, cooked and strained. I usually rinse the pasta with some cold water to cool it down faster and keep it from sticking together.
While the pasta is cooking, chop up some green onions . . .
. . . and some cooked chicken and almonds.
Add those to the pasta bowl with dried cranberries.
Then, add some poppyseed dressing. If you have a favorite poppyseed dressing recipe, by all means make it and use it here. I still haven't found a recipe I like as much as this:
It's sweet and oniony and creamy and works really well for this recipe. Add to taste in the pasta salad. I use about a whole 12 oz. bottle. If you are making it ahead of time, you might want to reserve a little bit to add right at the end because the pasta soaks up some of the extra liquid and makes it less creamy if it sits in the fridge for more than a few hours.
Stir it up and serve.
Chicken Poppyseed Chicken Pasta Salad
1 box (12-16 oz) pasta
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 (6 oz) package dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups creamy poppyseed salad dressing
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Add remaining ingredients and stir.