Plates and Palates, my favorite local cafe in Bountiful, UT was the inspiration for Mango Chicken Pasta Salad with Tarragon Lime Dressing. This pasta salad is a combination of flavors from two of my top picks at Plates and Palates: the Mango Avocado Chicken with Basil Dressing and the Lemon Bowtie with Tarragon Dressing. It’s like two salads got married and had the perfect baby!
What is the perfect pasta salad? For years pasta salads were only a savory affair, now the trend has leaned to the sweeter side, pairing pasta with fresh fruit. I love this trend, and this pasta salad has so many of my favorite ingredients included! The honey, lime, and tarragon dressing is also a stand-alone favorite and can be used over tossed greens, a bit of fresh grated cheese and sliced veggies as well.
Did you do a double take (or read) when you saw the name Plates and Palates? It’s not Plates and Pilates (what everyone thinks it’s called until they realize its a restaurant, not a workout studio). “Plates” (as we affectionately call it now) is locally owned and operated by Jared, Justin and Nina Christensen.
Their cafe has been a popular lunch spot for girlfriends in Davis County since 2004. When they first opened, I remember we made a pact as friends to frequent this place to help it stay in business (a serious sacrifice, I know).
Now, almost 20 years later, if you don’t get to the restaurant by 11:30 on most days, you have to wait in line for a table. It used to be unheard of to find men in this restaurant, but now, the secret is out, and Plates is also a favorite place for guys to meet for lunch.
The Christensen’s make all of their salads and dressings in the shop each day. My usual combo is a half green (usually Pear and Pecan with Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette) along with half of one of their pasta salads. My favorite pasta salads are the Mango Avocado Chicken with Basil Dressing or the Lemon Bowtie with Tarragon Dressing.
This salad is my creation, a combo of the two, with a little bit lighter version of their dressing. You know how I love sweet and savory together! I love the way the flavors blend in this Mango Chicken Pasta Salad with Tarragon Lime Dressing . Perfect for your next summer gathering!
Oh, and if you are in Bountiful, make sure to stop by and have lunch or take-out from Plates. They treat everyone like family… you’ll be feeling like a local in no time, and I just might see you there 🙂
This recipe originally posted in 2018, updated with new content and photos July, 2023
Mango Chicken Pasta Salad with Tarragon Lime Dressing
This delicious salad was inspired by one of our favorite local Bountiful restaurants. Pasta, fruit, chicken and a light, sweet, homemade dressing
- 3/4 pound bow tie pasta
- 2 cups boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
- 3 cups red seedless grapes
- 1 ripe mango cubed
- 1 1/2 cups celery chopped
- 1 bunch green onion chopped (green part of the onion only)
- 1-2 avocados ripe but still firm, cut into chunks
- Slivered almonds toasted (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups regular mayonnaise not low fat
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons dried tarragon or 1/4 cup fresh tarragon chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta as directed on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. If using fresh tarragon, place ingredients in a blender and blend until tarragon is finely chopped.
In a large bowl, combine pasta and chicken; mix with half of the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Most of the dressing will be absorbed into the cooked pasta.
In a medium bowl, combine grapes, mango, celery, and green onions.
To assemble: Mix three-quarters of the grapes, mango, celery, and green onions with the pasta and chicken. Toss with additional dressing. Just before serving, top with avocados, almonds, and the remaining grapes, mango, celery, and green onions.
- I think tossing the pasta with the dressing and letting it rest in the fridge allows the flavors soak into the pasta. If you don’t have time for that, just mix up the salad and let the pasta sit in the dressing for at least a half hour. Then proceed as directed.
- If you want make a fresh basil-lime dressing, just sub 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves for the tarragon.
- I made this up with 1 lb pasta originally, but thought the veggie to pasta ratio was a bit on the heavy side for the pasta, so I reduced the amount of pasta in this recipe to 3/4 lb.
- Did I mention Plates and Palates caters? If you are not the cooking type, you can purchase a whole BOWL of salad for your next gathering.