Sunday, July 19, 2009

Garden Pasta Salad with Chicken

Here is a dense and hardy pasta salad that's great as a meal in itself!

1 lb pasta ( I use the rainbow colored pasta from TJ's, cork screw would work well too)
2  large chicken breasts, browned (or 3 small)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 med. cucumber, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
3 stalks celery, chopped *
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped *
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese
* is for optional items, depending on your taste buds and what's left in your fridge!

4 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp garlic powder or 1 fresh clove, minced
1/8 tsp pepper

*** Note, I use this dressing on green salads all the time, so when I make this for the pasta salad, I double the dressing recipe and keep it on hand if the pasta salad needs more (especially the next day because it tends to dry out as the pasta absorbs it) or I if not, I have it on hand for a green salad whenever I need it!

Simple. Cook your pasta per bags directions. Cook and chop your chicken (or use left over chicken), chop all your veggies, combine in a big bowl. Refrigerate (if you want to serve cold) and add the dressing and parmesan cheese at the last minute. Toss and enjoy!

* In the picture, I double the entire recipe (2 lbs pasta) and I used one bag of wheat cork screw pasta and one bag of colorful vegetable pasta from Trader Joe's.

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