My family loves this yummy salad. It's similar to La Madeleine's Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta Salad, with the added protein of chicken. Served with a green salad, it's a complete meal.
Blue Ribbon Recipe
Most pasta salads are a side dish but this salad is hearty enough for a meal thanks to the chopped chicken. It's filled with Mediterranean flavors like olives, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. There's no mayonnaise in this pasta salad recipe. It's dressed with fresh pesto a zesty Caesar dressing. Serve with an extra sprinkle of fresh chopped basil and grated Romano cheese. A great salad for summer cookouts.
Ingredients For susan's tomato basil chicken pasta salad
cooked chicken cut into chunks
rotini or bowtie pasta
Kosher salt (for pasta cooking water)
Brianna's Asiago Caesar dressing
sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
artichoke hearts, chopped roughly
basil pesto (store-bought or homemade; recipe below
large black olives, sliced, drained
Romano cheese, grated
red onion, finely minced
basil leaves, fresh-sliced chiffonade
Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
HOMEMADE BASIL PESTO
packed basil leaves, fresh
Parmesan cheese, grated
How To Make susan's tomato basil chicken pasta salad
COOK PASTA: Add 2 Tbsp salt to the boiling water.
Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Strain in a colander, and rinse briefly with cold water to cool the pasta. Allow to drain thoroughly.
PREPARE BASIL PESTO: Place basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and salt into a food processor. With the processor running, add the oil and process until smooth.
CHIFFONADE THE BASIL LEAVES: Stack the leaves, then roll up tightly. With a SHARP knife-cut across in 1/8" slices to form "ribbons."
Seed and chop tomatoes and red onion. Cut chicken into small chunks.
Place pasta into a LARGE bowl and add all remaining ingredients (START WITH 1c DRESSING).
Mix gently to combine. Add more dressing as desired.
Refrigerate until chilled. After it sits overnight I add a little more dressing before serving to perk up the flavors.
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