MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
All the sunny flavours of the Mediterranean are packed into this colourful salad, which is so easy to make using a ready-roasted chicken. For a vegetarian version of this easy family dinner, simply leave out the roast chicken.
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 10 minutes Serves: 4 - 6
- 1 x 500 g pack Pasta Grandé Macaroni
- 4 litres water
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- 1 large red onion, finely sliced
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) vinegar, for sprinkling
- 1 whole ready-roasted chicken, cooled
- 2 cups (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, cubed
- 1 cup (250 ml) black olives
- 1½ cups (375 ml) cubed feta cheese
- a small bunch of fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- the juice of half a lemon
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) smooth Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
- 1 cup (250 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- Bring the water and salt to a fast boil in a large pot. Add all the pasta in one go and stir to separate the pieces. Briefly cover the pot with a lid until the water comes back to a rapid boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender (al dente).
- While the pasta is cooking, separate the layers of the sliced red onion, place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp vinegar - this will take away the ‘sting’.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it under cold water. Drain again and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken, cut the meat into pieces and add to the mixing bowl containing the cooled pasta. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta and red onion (plus the vinegar you soaked it in), reserving some tomatoes, olives and feta for garnishing.
- To make the dressing, put the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and salt in a separate bowl and stir until the salt has dissolved. Gradually whisk in the olive oil to form a smooth dressing, then season to taste with more salt and black pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.
- Just before you serve the salad, tear up the basil leaves and stir them in.
- Transfer to a salad bowl and garnish with the reserved tomatoes, olives and feta. Serve within 1 hour, or the cucumber may lose its crunch.
- Don’t add the fresh basil until just before you serve the salad, or it might wilt or turn black at the edges.
- For an extra flavour punch, add some basil pesto to the dressing, or stir in a handful of drained capers or roasted red peppers.
- Other Pasta Grandé shapes you can use in this recipe: Gnocchi, Shells, Cavatappi, Elbows and Screws.
Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Salad
For an extra flavour punch, add some basil pesto to the dressing, or stir in a handful of drained capers or roasted red peppers.