Aug 23
2012

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with Plums, Feta & Cumin Dressing

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Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with Plums, Feta & Cumin Dressing

When we visited my parents in Victoria, B.C. last week, it became abundantly clear why my obsession with food started at a young age. Within 10 minutes of leaving the airport, we pulled up to my parents’ favorite farm stand, loading up on two varieties of corn (perfect for this Grilled Corn Salad), fresh plums, peaches and zucchini. Does it sound as though I’m complaining? I promise you that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We enjoyed plenty of meals in my parents’ newly landscaped, spectacular backyard, each one inspired by some form of fresh produce. (I promise to share some photos of my parents’ backyard in a later post. For those of you who enjoy gardening, you’ll want to see this.)

Meals of light summer pasta salads, grilled ribs and seared shrimp were interrupted only by expeditions to the beach to search for crabs and shells, and carriage rides around Victoria.

MTBeach

By the way, if you’re ever traveling through Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, by carriage or any other means, don’t miss the Beacon Drive-In for the best soft-serve ice cream you’ll ever taste.

CarriageRide

After returning home from Victoria, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the fresh fruits and vegetables we ate while on holiday. When I spotted some ruby red plums at the market, the wheels started turning. Should I make a crisp? How about an ice cream? Ultimately, I decided to opt for something a little healthier. Plus, I didn’t have any ideas for dinner that night, so I knew I had to put on my culinary thinking cap.

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with Plums, Feta & Cumin Dressing

And so was born this whole wheat pasta salad, brought to life with the ripe, sweet plums, a light orange and cumin dressing and salty feta cheese. Some shredded chicken adds an extra hit of protein and sliced green onions and cilantro pump up the “freshness” factor.

Are you thinking that plums, cumin and pasta sound like an odd combination? Well, I’ll just have to ask you to trust me on this one. The flavors will have you smitten.

The recipe:

The dressing:
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, cumin, agave or honey, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with Plums, Feta & Cumin Dressing

The pasta salad:
Cook the whole wheat penne according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, combine the penne, shredded chicken, plums and feta cheese.

Pour in the dressing and stir to coat the pasta.

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with Plums, Feta & Cumin Dressing

Add the green onions and cilantro and stir gently to combine.

Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with Plums, Feta & Cumin Dressing

Other savory dishes with plums:
Creative Culinary’s Grilled Plum Salad with Goat Cheese & Olive Oil/Balsamic Dressing
Eats Well with Others’ Moroccan Nectarine & Plum Chicken Tagine
The Bitten Words’ Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta & Plums
Kitchen Konfidence’s Ripe Plum Tabbouleh
Running to the Kitchen’s Goat Cheese & Honey Stuffed Plums

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with Plums, Feta & Cumin Dressing

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com

Ingredients

    Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pasta salad:
  • 1 (13 oz.) box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
  • 4 large plums (about 1 1/4 pounds), pitted and cubed
  • 3 1/2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

    The dressing:
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, cumin, agave or honey, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. The pasta salad:
  3. Cook the whole wheat penne according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the penne, shredded chicken, plums and feta cheese.
  5. Pour in the dressing and stir to coat the pasta.
  6. Add the green onions and cilantro and stir gently to combine.
  7. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

The dressing is adapted from a Cooking Light Magazine recipe.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 megan @ whatmegansmakin August 23, 2012 at 7:36 am

I love pasta salad recipes, especially with homemade dressing. I’ve never had one with plums, but now that you mention it, it sounds good!

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2 Madeleine August 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

Yum, this looks so delicious! I love that there’s no mayo in the dressing, that’s what I never like about pasta salad – I’ll have to try this out for sure!

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3 katie August 23, 2012 at 7:59 am

This sounds wonderful! I love the idea that you put plums in the salad!

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4 Heather in SF August 23, 2012 at 8:25 am

Wow, I love this combination, how creative. Can’t wait to give it a go. Finally some of my fruit-intolerance-allergy issues are easing and plums are okay!

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5 kelley August 23, 2012 at 10:04 am

If this tastes anything like the salad you brought yesterday, I know we’re all in for a treat. The plums and the cumin went so nicely together! Looking forward to seeing photos of your parents yard!

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6 Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

I love the idea of tangy-sweet plums in this salad!

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7 Jessica@AKitchenAddiction August 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

This is a great! I love the idea of using plums in a pasta salad!

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8 addie @ culicurious.com August 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

a very creative use for plums. looks tasty!

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9 Jennifer August 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm

What a creative way to use plums. I’ve never seen them in a pasta salad before.

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10 Julia {The Roasted Root} August 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm

What fun family time! I love buying produce from farm stands and farmer’s markets and am psyched that plums are finally ripening up! Your chicken pasta salad sounds satisfying and well balanced and clever to boot with the plums!

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11 Jersey girl cooks August 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Interesting combination which I will have to try!

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12 Pretend Chef August 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Love the photos and it looks like a fun time was had by all. I miss Farmer’s Markets. Don’t see too many in Houston. This pasta looks amazing and the flavors sound delicious.

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13 erin August 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Saw this recipe and the only thing I was missing was the plums and feta…went to the store and picked up those items….SO delicious! My 2 year old loved it as did the adults!

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14 Minnie(@thelady8home) August 24, 2012 at 3:58 am

Great recipe. Sounds healthy, and flavorful.

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15 Jen @ Savory Simple August 24, 2012 at 5:28 am

Some of my favorite recipes involve savory dishes with fruit. It adds such a wonderful touch! Love this.

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16 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective August 24, 2012 at 6:55 am

Hey Dara, That is a beautiful bowl of pasta! It’s been a crazy summer for us and I’m ready to get back on a normal schedule. I miss keeping up with you!

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17 Aggie August 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Oh Dara, I love hearing about your family visit!! This pasta would be welcomed at m house any time :) come visit!!

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18 Jeanette August 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Such an unusual combination of flavors in this pasta salad, but I can only imagine how wonderful they are all together. So glad to see that your family had a nice time visiting with your parents.

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19 Laurie @SimplyScratch August 25, 2012 at 6:09 am

Sounds like you had so much fun! And what an awesome recipe… I’m definitely smitten :) I love that you added plums… I need this salad STAT!

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20 Jessica @ How Sweet August 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

absolutely ADORE this salad!

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