Tag Archives: pasta

Asparagus chicken and penne salad

Asparagus, chicken, and penne salad

Here’s a light, refreshing pasta salad that still has enough substance to make it a meal. It is simple and easy to make and very flavorful.

The idea for this salad, like some of my other pasta salads, came from the deli section of the supermarket where I shopped back in Indiana. They had a large selection of interesting pasta salads which I looked over as I waited for meat to be sliced. I never actually bought any of the salads for a number of reasons: Most did not have meat or seafood, and I was interested in pasta salads as a main course. I’m sure their salads had too much salt. And if I made the salad myself, I could include more of the good stuff, as with this salad. More asparagus, less pasta.

I usually have clear preferences for the types of pasta to be used for each of my salads. The shrimp pasta salad needed the tri-color rotini to go with the colors of the shrimp, scallions, and green and red pepper. Farfalla seems to have the right shape to go with the pieces of romaine in the pasta Caesar salad. And for this salad, the shape of the pieces of asparagus absolutely requires the penne pasta.

Asparagus, chicken, and penne salad

1 cup cooked chicken breast in bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup penne pasta
1–1/2 cups asparagus, 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small or 1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1/8 teaspoon herbes de Provence
fresh ground pepper

freshly grated Parmesan

Some time before serving, cook the pasta following package directions. Drain and rinse.

Put the asparagus into boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and keep green color.

Put pasta, asparagus, and chicken in a bowl and chill.

When ready to serve, whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. Pour over salad and mix. Put the salad on the serving plate and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

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Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

This is another one of my favorite pasta salads. It has the same ingredients as the artichoke and sun-dried tomato salad posted earlier, just substituting the farfalla for the lettuce. Actually, the idea for this combination came first for this pasta salad. I later adapted it to make the other salad.

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

slightly less than 1 cup farfalla
1 cup cooked chicken breast, bite-sized pieces
1/2 large can artichoke hearts, cut into quarters or sixths
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon herbs de provence
3 tablespooons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cook the farfalla as instructed on the package, drain, and rinse to cool (or cook earlier and cool in refrigerator).

Combined the ingredients and toss to mix.

Shrimp pasta salad

Shrimp pasta salad

I started making main-course pasta salads to eat before teaching night classes, as I discussed on the About page. This shrimp pasta salad was one of my first and is still one of my favorites.

The tri-color rotini is a must. This salad has green with the pepper and scallions, red with the pepper and the red (well pink) color of the shrimp, and white with the scallions and the shrimp. So you have to continue these colors with the pasta.

I have used various dressings with the salad, including different bottled dressings. The key for this salad, I think, is to have a robust, full-flavored dressing. A note on the Italian herbs: I used a mix, but it would work equally well using half oregano and half basil.

Shrimp pasta salad

3/4 cup – 1 cup shrimp
3/4 cup – 1 cup tri-color rotini
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
3–4 scallions, sliced, including as much green part as white part

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese

Ahead of time, so they can cool, cook the shrimp and the rotini. Put the shrimp in boiling water, bring back to the boil, cook a minute or two, and drain. Put the rotini in boiling water, cook to al dente (7 minutes for Barilla rotini), drain, and rinse in cold water.

To prepare the salad, cut the shrimp into smaller pieces. Mix the shrimp, rotini, bell peppers, and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and seasonings. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad a bit at a time, mixing it in.