Recipe: Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Came up with this wanting to have a cold pasta salad. This was simple, quick and perfect for the warmer days of summer and spring in Arizona. I will be making this again. For this, I used chicken tenders instead of breasts for a quicker cook time, and the texture was what I wanted. If you want larger chunks of chicken, use breast.

Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken tenders, grilled and chopped
  • 1/2lb pasta. Shells or penne would work best.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced. Medium size
  • 1/4 red onion sliced thin
  • 2c cherry tomatoes, halved

Dressing

  • 4tbls lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1tsp dry mustard
  • 1tbls kosher salt
  • 1tbls dill. Fresh or dry
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1tbls red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

If possible, assemble your dressing in advance to really let the garlic and dill come out. My method is to put everything into a mason jar, give it a good shake for about 2 minutes and park it into the fridge until needed.

For the pasta, cook al dente and rinse with cold water. Yes, it's ok to rinse your pasta in this case since it's getting used in a salad and you don't need the extra starch for anything. No, really, rinse your pasta. If it is going to have to sit for a few minutes while you prep everything else, toss it with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.

Assembly

Add everything to a good sized bowl. Add the dressing about 1/4 cup at a time, toss to coat. Keep adding dressing until you think there is enough. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Additions

Of course ideas come after completion that could have been added. A rib of celery, finely chopped, would have been nice. Peas, blanched and chilled, would have been fantastic as well. I would also recommend using fresh dill if you can, even chopping some into the salad before toss to really punch up the flavor. Skip the cheese on this, you'll find it's not needed.

To be honest, the pasta could even be skipped. It was just what I wanted tonight. It really hit the spot!

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