Our Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad is perfect for light summertime eating as well as for your next BBQ. The grilled chicken & vegetables combines with the balsamic marinade & dressing to bring a smoky flavor to this out of this world pasta salad. It’s makes a great lunch or dinner and a delicious potluck that easily stretches to accommodate a crowd.
Summertime means grilling a lot of our meals. We grill everything from fish for Fish Tacos, steak for Carne Asada, pork for our Korean BBQ Kabobs and, of course, chicken. Grilling is not only a healthier way to cook (and I get to hand the duty off to my husband 🙂 ) but it makes clean-up a whole lot easier too. And it’s so delicious so what’s not to like?
This chicken and pasta salad has got to be one of our favorites. It’s simple to put together especially when you plan ahead and grill the chicken and vegetables alongside another meal. And since summer is the time when are gardens are in full swing, I get to use my fresh basil, tomatoes and peppers too.
When planning ahead remember to give the chicken enough time to marinate. I like to put mine in the marinade in the morning so it’s all ready to go when dinner time rolls around. You can also cook the pasta ahead of time, toss with the oil & cheese and store in refrigerator as well as mixing up the basil and tomatoes.
Once all the prep is done, its just a matter of grilling and tossing all the ingredients together. You won’t believe the difference that the balsamic vinegar brings to this dish. In fact, when using it on other grilled vegetables it really brings out the flavor and a hint of sweetness. It does the same with this dish by sweetening the peppers and tenderizing the chicken.
I love to bring this salad along for picnics and when asked to potlucks. It’s easy to carry and easily stretches two chicken breasts to accommodate a crowd. If you want rave reviews from your family or at your next get-together, you’ve just got to try this recipe.
Go ahead, take a bite and savor the bright summer flavors. Enjoy!
The perfect salad for light summertime eating as well as for your next BBQ. The grilled chicken & vegetables combine with the balsamic dressing to bring a smoky flavor to this out of this world Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad.
- 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
- 1-1/2 cups of your favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette, divided
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 3/4 cup combination of yellow red & green bell pepper, cut in quarters
- 10 ounces penne pasta (gluten-free or quinoa pasta is great for those on a GF diet)
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
- 2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place chicken in a resealable bag with 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette. Shake to cover chicken then marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
While chicken is marinating, chop tomatoes and basil and put in resealable bag together and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade, then grill chicken for 6 minutes on each side until cooked through. At the same time, place pepper quarters on the grill & cook 2 minutes per side.
Remove all from grill. Chop chicken & dice peppers.
While chicken is grilling, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
Transfer pasta to a large bowl and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and ¾ cup cheese. Let cool 10 minutes or prepare earlier in the day and refrigerate until ready to use.
Toss together pasta, chicken, spinach, tomato basil mixture, peppers and remaining balsamic dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
Total time does not include the 2 hours of marinating time.
Wine Pairings: This dish is very flavorful and on the acidic side so pairing with an acidic wine like Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect accompaniment. A Petit Sirah or Chianti will work as well.