Summer Chicken Pasta Salad

When I first moved to Minnesota I mocked how everyone up here makes certain dishes only in certain seasons.  It sounded so complicated. In South Texas, we ate chili and burritos in summer, fall, winter, and spring.  We had no change of seasons, no reason to vary our cooking repertoire.  I’m starting to get this whole seasonal cuisine thing now after living through my seventh brutal Minnesota winter.  You don’t make dishes like this one in winter.  You make this one when the sun is beating down warmth on your children’s faces as they run barefoot in the backyard, and when the world is green again.  I first discovered a variation of this yummy salad on the side of a store-brand pasta box a number of years ago.  Now it has become a celebration dish of surviving another winter. I’ve also made it meatless, and it’s good!  My kids love treasure digging for the craisins and the mozzerella chunks.  Eh…they survived a mean winter, they deserve a few treasures. 🙂

1 lb. whole wheat penne or rotini pasta
1 lb. chicken, stir-fried or grilled and sliced
1 cup sweet viniagrette (I make mine with 1/4 c. red wine vinegar, 3 Tbs. water, 1/2 c. olive oil, and one Good Seasons Italian seasoning packet, plus 2 tsp. sugar)
1 apple, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 c. craisins
1/2 c. walnut pieces, toasted
2-3 avocados
4 oz. crumbled feta…OR 4 oz. cubed mozzerella (my kids usually prefer the mozzerella)
salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste (I leave pepper as a garnish for the adults)

  1. Cook chicken according to preference.  I usually chop it into bite-sized pieces and then stir-fry it in oil on high heat for 3-4 minutes.  Allow chicken to cool.
  2. Cook pasta and drain.  While still in colander, rinse with cold water.  After fully draining, transfer pasta to separate bowl.
  3. Combine cooked chicken and viniagrette with pasta.
  4. Next stir in apple, green onions, craisins, and toasted walnuts. Add salt. 
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Then mix in either the crumbled feta or mozzerella cubes.
  6. Before serving, garnish with avocado wedges and black pepper.


About Sarah Lundgren

child of God. married to my best friend. mommy of 4 treasures. at home with my babies.

One response »

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made it this past weekend and it was amazing:)


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