Salad for Supper: Grilled Chicken and Italian Pasta Salad

I have many fond memories of eating a version of this pasta salad on warm summer evenings during my youth. I made a couple changes to it, primarily in the peppers I used. Instead of green bell peppers I used roasted pasilla peppers. They add more warmth and just the faintest hint of heat.

For the marinade:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, or 2-3 whole chicken breasts sliced into strips
  • 1 cup of your favorite store-bought Italian salad dressing. I use Wishbone.

For the salad:

  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1 bunch broccoli, florets trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 pasilla peppers
  • 1 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

For the dressing:

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning mixture

Step 1. Up to 12 hours before cooking, combine the store-bought dressing and the chicken in a gallon resealable bag.

 

 

 

Step 2. Set two large pots of water to boil, one for the pasta and one for the broccoli. Cook the pasta until it is tender, then drain and rinse with cool water. Cook the broccoli until it is fork-tender, then rinse and drain. Make sure to get all the water out of the broccoli; I ran mine through a salad spinner.

Whisk together the salad dressing and pour 1/2 cup of it over the broccoli florets.

Step 3. Set the pasilla peppers directly over a stovetop burner, turning when one side is charred. Wrap the peppers in plastic for 5 minutes to allow them to steam and cool. Then rub the burnt skin off with your fingers. Remove the seeds and stem and then dice the pepper into cubes.

 

Step 4. Grill the chicken breasts on a grill pan or outside. Set aside to rest.

 

 

 

 

Step 5. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients – the marinated broccoli, cooked pasta ad diced peppers, plus the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and parmesan cheese. Dice the chicken then pour the remaining salad dressing on top. Toss well to combine.

This salad gets better as it sits and the pasta absorbs some of the dressing.

  • Newly Paul

    I tried making this for dinner today. Omitted the pasilla peppers because I couldn’t find any. Other than the fact that I was accidentally a bit too generous with the cider vinegar, the salad turned out well. We had it with garlic bread and chilled Coke :) Thanks for the recipe.

  • Mom

    You just reminded me I haven’t made pasta salad in a while. I’ll have to try including pasilla peppers!!

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