Simply Substitute Salad

Simply Substitute Salad Recipe

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Rebecca Vega


This is a great pasta salad that you can create just about any way your little heart desires. I like to switch it up often but the base recipe is always the same. I will add a vegetarian option as well for those like me who have a family of carnivores but aren't one yourself :) I hope you enjoy this simple and "everyone" friendly recipe.


★★★★★ 1 vote

4-6 as main dish or 8-10 as side dish
20 Min
15 Min


  • 1 1/2 lb
  • 2/3
    red onion
  • 1 1/2
    lare red tomato*
  • 1 bunch
    basil, fresh*
  • 1 pkg
    crumbled feta
  • 2 dash(es)
    goya adobo all purpose seasoning
  • 1 box
    rotini or penne pasta
  • 1 pkg
    good seasonings italian dressing mix, prepared

How to Make Simply Substitute Salad


  1. Start cooking your pasta on the stove as directed by the package. While this is happening place a large, rimmed skillet on your stove and heat 2-3 tbs of oil on medium heat (I prefer olive oil but you are welcome to use any type you deem palatable).
  2. Cube your chicken (For the vegetarians out there I use Quorn Chick n' Dices because I find them to be closest to the real thing but you can use any sort of "chicken" product just as long as it is cubed. You will cook it exactly the same way as stated in recipe).
  3. Once you chicken is cubed you will need to either ground up 1 bunch of fresh basil with a tsp of water or use the pre-ground basil they sell in the vegetable case at the grocery store (I use Gourmet Garden Basil Herb Blend because the fresh goes bad before I can use it all)
  4. Place the chicken in the skillet and lightly sprinkle with the Adobo seasoning twice. (You will generally find this in the ethnic aisle at your local store. There are two options: you can purchase the one with pepper which is what I use in this recipe or the one with cummin. Either will work just fine). Toss the chicken a few times to ensure even coverage of seasoning.
  5. Cut your red onion into small/medium pieces and toss in skillet once the chicken has been cooked through. Make sure there is enough oil left in the pan to mildly brown and lightly soften the onions. Toss basil into skillet to your liking and stir until all items are thoroughly covered. (I normally use about 2 tbsp of my pre-blended basil which I'm guessing would probably be equivalent to 1/3-1/2 a bunch of fresh ground basil.)
  6. While occasionally tossing the skillet mixture you will cut your tomatoes in large chunks. (I also de-seed mine under running water because I'm a wierdo ;) You are welcome to use halved cherry tomatoes or a bag of sun dried tomatoes if you're looking for something more adventurous.)
  7. By now your pasta should be done. Feel free to drain as soon as it's finished and set to the side as this is made to be a room temperature or cold salad.
  8. Place your tomato chunks in the skillet with another 1/2-1 tbsp of fresh basil mixture and gently toss until it has been coated well and slightly warmed before removing from heat.
  9. Mix your Good Seasonings Italian dressing as directed. If you prefer more of a sweet taste then use an apple cider vinegar otherwise stick with the traditional white vinegar. I also use olive oil as my go to choice but feel free to use a different type if you prefer.
  10. Place pasta and skillet items into large bowl. Pour 1/2-2/3 of dressing over pasta mixture and toss until well coated. Top with 1/2-2/3 container of crumbled feta and toss once more. You're salad is now ready to serve :)
  11. * You can change out or add just about any veggie to this wonderful recipe which is why it is such a favorite of mine. Feel free to try it as is but more than anything enjoy yourself as you experiment with all the amazing varieties possible.

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