This healthy chicken pasta salad takes advantage of the season’s fresh green beans and tomatoes. It’s the perfect potluck salad for the summertime!
There are some meals that are meant to be eaten al fresco, and pasta salads definitely fall into that category. As soon as I finished making and photographing this particular pasta salad, I texted my husband to ask him if he wanted to meet the boys and me at a local beach for a dinnertime picnic and swim. I mean, how can you resist eating outside – on a beach, no less – on a beautiful summer’s night?
When you’re a kid and you’re near the water, swimming takes precedence over eating. It took all of 30 seconds for the boys to whip off their shirts and run straight into the lake. Swimming eventually turned into digging holes, which inevitably shifted to landing handfuls of wet sand on each other’s heads. Of course. The younger one started the sand slinging. Retaliation was swift and accurate.
We eventually wrangled the boys back to the towels and dug into the pasta, followed by some sweet, fresh Washington cherries. I’m partial to pasta salads with vinaigrette, and this recipe is no exception. Lemon juice, olive oil, a touch of agave or honey, salt and pepper. When you have access to sweet and flavorful summertime veggies and fresh herbs, there’s no need to dress it with anything complicated.
I followed the philosophy that I began following recently, starting with my One-Pot Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken & Spinach: Use just 8 ounces of whole wheat pasta and bulk up the dish with protein (chicken in this case) and plenty of veggies. The perfect balance.
If you make this salad ahead of time, make extra dressing and stir it in just before serving. The pasta has a tendency to soak up the dressing and you don’t want to serve an underdressed salad.
Other healthy recipes for your next backyard barbecue:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Thai Chicken Salad
Cookin’ Canuck’s Couscous with Nectarines & Toasted Almonds
Two of a Kind’s Summertime Farro Salad
Livin Paleo’s Lemon Chicken Skewers
Ricotta & Radishes’ Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Chimichurri
Chicken Pasta Salad with Green Beans, Tomatoes & Feta Cheese
Chicken Pasta Salad with Green Beans, Tomatoes & Feta Cheese…This healthy side pasta salad with disappear in minutes at your next barbecue! 163 calories and 4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints
- 8 oz. whole wheat pasta, such as rotini or penne
- 3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed & cut in half
- 8 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cups shredded chicken breast
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 6 basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp agave nectar or honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare a medium bowl of ice water. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender crisp. Drain and immediately transfer to the bowl of ice water. Drain and transfer to the bowl with the pasta.
- Add the tomatoes, chicken, feta cheese, basil leaves and parsley to the pasta mixture. Stir to combine.
- Add the dressing and toss to combine. Serve.
- The dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, agave nectar (or honey), salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil.
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