Are you looking for a healthy and delicious meal that is quick and easy to make? Look no further than chicken pasta salad with Italian dressing! This colorful and flavorful salad is perfect for a light lunch or a satisfying dinner. With a perfect balance of protein, carbs, and fresh vegetables, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Let’s dive into the ingredients and steps to create this dish.
For the Salad:
- 1 pound of chicken breast, cooked and diced
- 1 pound of rotini pasta, cooked and drained
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup of black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Italian Dressing:
- 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the chicken breast in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Set it aside to cool before dicing it.
- Cook the rotini pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool it down.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, cooked pasta, diced bell peppers, diced onion, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, and grated Parmesan cheese. Toss everything together until well combined.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, minced garlic, dried basil, and dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the Italian dressing over the chicken pasta salad and toss everything together until well coated.
- Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Before serving, taste the salad and adjust the seasoning if needed.
This chicken pasta salad with Italian dressing is not only delicious, but it is also packed with nutrients. Here are some health benefits of the ingredients in this recipe:
- Chicken breast: high in protein and low in fat, chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein that helps to build and repair muscle tissue.
- Rotini pasta: made from whole wheat, rotini pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrates that provide sustained energy and help to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Bell peppers: high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, bell peppers help to boost the immune system, promote healthy digestion, and reduce inflammation.
- Cherry tomatoes: rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, cherry tomatoes help to protect against cancer and promote healthy skin.
- Black olives: rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, black olives help to reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
- Parmesan cheese: a good source of calcium and protein, Parmesan cheese helps to build strong bones and muscles.
Chicken pasta salad with Italian dressing is a delicious and healthy recipe that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion. With a balance of protein, carbs, and fresh vegetables, this salad is both satisfying and nutritious. Whether you are looking for a quick and easy lunch or an involved dinner, this recipe is sure to please. And with the added bonus of being packed with nutrients and health benefits, you can feel good about serving it to your family and friends.
But the benefits of this recipe go beyond just its taste and nutrition. It is also incredibly versatile, allowing you to customize it to your liking. Don’t like bell peppers? Try adding some cucumber or carrots instead. Want to up the protein? Add some chickpeas or grilled shrimp. The possibilities are endless, making this recipe a great addition to your meal rotation.
And let’s not forget about the convenience factor. With just a few simple steps, you can have a delicious and satisfying meal ready in no time. And because it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, it’s perfect for meal prep or bringing to a potluck.
But what really sets this recipe apart is the Italian dressing. Made with a combination of red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, basil, and oregano, it is bursting with flavor and complements the other ingredients perfectly. And because it’s homemade, you can control the ingredients and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Speaking of seasoning, let’s talk about salt and pepper. While the recipe calls for “salt and pepper to taste,” it’s important not to overdo it. Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems, while too much pepper can be overwhelming. So, start with a small amount and adjust as needed.
Finally, let’s talk about presentation. While this recipe may not be the most visually stunning dish out there, there are a few things you can do to make it look more appealing. For example, you can add some fresh herbs like parsley or basil on top for a pop of color. Or, you can serve it in a clear glass bowl to show off all the colorful ingredients.
In conclusion, chicken pasta salad with Italian dressing is a delicious, healthy, and versatile recipe that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch or a satisfying dinner, this recipe has got you covered. And with the added bonus of being packed with nutrients and health benefits, you can feel good about serving it to your family and friends. So, go ahead and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!