Gluten-Free Buttermilk Chicken Pasta Salad

Published on Mar 21, 2024

  by   Kristina Stosek

5 reviews

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Serves: 8
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Gluten-Free Buttermilk Chicken Pasta Salad! Freshly made homemade, creamy buttermilk dressing, tossed with gluten-free pasta, tender shreds of chicken, hearts of palm pieces, sweet cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon, fresh cilantro, and cubes of Castellano cheese with an added zesty kick of salsa verde. Quick to assemble, and it’s perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a cozy dinner at home, your next party, or leftovers for lunch. This gluten-free pasta salad is refreshing and satisfying.

gluten free buttermilk chicken pasta salad in a bowl


While some creamy pasta salads may be laden with heavy mayonnaise dressings and high-calorie ingredients, this gluten-free pasta salad incorporates lean chicken protein, a light buttermilk dressing, tomatoes, hearts of palm, green onions, and fresh herbs, keeping the salad on a lighter note. This pasta salad is an excellent way to use up leftover roasted chicken.

The homemade gluten-free dressing used in this salad is made with buttermilk and olive oil. This buttermilk salad dressing is creamy, tangy, and flavorful, keeping the salad refreshingly light.

The hearts of palm add a zesty flavor and another texture, the cilantro adds freshness, and the bacon adds a tasty smoky flavor. For a spicy kick and more flavor, I added salsa verde. This pasta salad is so good!

close up of chicken pasta salad

KEY INGREDIENTS FOR BUTTERMILK CHICKEN PASTA SALAD (Complete recipe is at the bottom of this post):

  • Buttermilk
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salsa verde
  • Lime or lemon juice
  • Gluten-free short-cut pasta
  • Shredded roasted chicken
  • Hearts of palm
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Cheese


Pure balsamic vinegar, made from only grape juice that is fermented and aged, is typically gluten-free. However, some commercially available balsamic vinegars may contain additives or flavorings that could potentially contain gluten. It’s essential to read the labels carefully and look for products that are labeled as gluten-free if you have concerns about gluten contamination.


  1. Choose short-cut gluten-free pasta made with rice flour. I found gluten-free corn flour pasta overpowers the fresh flavors of the salad with corn flavor.
  2. Cook the pasta in well-salted water. The salt adds flavor to the pasta, making it more flavorful, and ensure it’s cooked to al dente to maintain texture.
  3. Use a good amount of dressing. Pasta tends to absorb a lot of moisture.
  4. Allow the pasta salad to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. This enhances the overall taste of the salad.
  5. And taste as you go to ensure the flavors are balanced.
  6. Consider garnishing the salad with additional toppings such as fresh herbs, extra crumbled bacon, sliced cherry tomatoes, or avocado slices for added flavor.


Cooking brown rice pasta requires a slightly different approach compared to traditional wheat pasta to achieve the desired texture without becoming mushy.

Boil Water: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Use approximately 4-6 quarts of water per pound of pasta.

Add Salt: Once the water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt. This helps to season the pasta as it cooks and enhances its flavor.

Add Pasta: Carefully add the brown rice pasta to the boiling water. Stir gently to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

Stir Occasionally: Stir the pasta occasionally during the cooking process to ensure even cooking and prevent clumping. Use a wooden spoon or pasta fork for this purpose.

Check for Doneness: Brown rice pasta typically takes longer to cook than traditional wheat pasta. Check the pasta for doneness a few minutes before the recommended cooking time on the package. The pasta should be al dente, meaning it’s cooked through but still slightly firm to the bite.

Drain Carefully: Once the pasta is cooked to your desired texture, immediately drain it in a colander placed in the sink. Avoid overcooking the pasta, as brown rice pasta can become mushy if cooked for too long.

Rinse: Rinse the cooked brown rice pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent sticking. This is especially important when using pasta in salads.


ingredients for pasta salad, chicken, pasta, tomatoes, hearts of palm, cilantro, green onions, cheese

Cook the pasta and prepare your ingredients

buttermilk dressing in a bowl

Make the buttermilk dressing

pasta, chicken and salsa verde in a bowl

Combine hot pasta with shredded chicken and salsa verde

tomatoes, hearts of palm, cilantro and cheese with pasta in a bowl


Add tomatoes, hearts of palm, green onions, cheese, and buttermilk dressing and toss to combine.

buttermilk chicken pasta salad topped with bacon and lime wedges

Gently stir in bacon, and cilantro. Set aside for 30 minutes, then stir again and enjoy.

buttermilk chicken pasta salad in a large salad bowl


Enjoy this pasta salad as is or over a bed of greens. You can enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day or as an anytime nutritious snack.


Transfer the salad to an airtight container or cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. This gluten-free pasta salad will keep for 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Before serving leftovers, give the salad a gentle toss to redistribute the dressing and ensure all ingredients are evenly coated.


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gluten free buttermilk chicken pasta salad in a bowl


This gluten-free buttermilk chicken pasta salad involves cooking pasta, slicing vegetables, cooking bacon, mixing dressing ingredients, and combining everything together. This is a memorable gluten-free pasta salad to suit every skill level.

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Looks so delicious!

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