GREEK CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
We’ve gotten to this time of year when I want to eat salads with cold dressings daily (Hi, the summer!). I made one of my most-loved pasta salads, the Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad, and transformed it into a complete dinner. I added a few vegetables and used the other half of the dressing as a marinade for a couple of tender chicken thighs. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve won! A winner so much that I had the Greek Chicken Pasta Salad for breakfast this morning.
GREEK CHICKEN PASTA SALAD PORTION SIZES
The Greek Chicken Pasta Salad comes together in a snap and can be made into four substantial portion sizes or around six smaller portion portions for side dishes. It’s also an excellent choice for potlucks and could be a breeze to double or triple if you need to.
CAN I USE CHICKEN BREAST INSTEAD OF THIGHS?
It’s ok, but ensure that you press the chicken breasts to a uniform thickness, about 3/4-inch thick, before marinating. Ensuring the chicken is even and thin will ensure it cooks quickly without drying it out. You can cut your bird’s breasts into two thin pieces or use chicken tenders.
One lemon ($0.59)
One cup of olive oil ($0.64)
Three cloves of garlic, divided ($0.24)
1 Tbsp of dried oregano ($0.07)
1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
Two skinless, boneless chicken legs ($2.10)
Eight oz. pasta (any shape) ($0.50)
One bell pepper (any color) ($1.50)
Four oz. grape tomatoes* ($1.00)
1/2 cucumber (1.5 cups diced) ($1.00)
1/4 bunch of parsley ($0.20)
2 oz. feta ($1.12)
Use a microplane, a zester, or a small-holed cheese grater to extract the zest from the lemon. Place the zest in a bowl. Make sure you squeeze the juice of the lemon into an additional bowl. You’ll require at least 1/4 cup of juice.
Make the marinade and dressing by mingling one of three garlic cloves and mixing these with a cup of olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a little lemon zest. Mix all the ingredients until mixed.
Put the chicken thighs into the zip-lock bag. Add half the dressing, keeping the rest for adding to the salad soon. Cut a second clove of garlic, and include it into the container along with the marinade and chicken. Press the air as you massage the bag to ensure the thighs are coated with marinade. Keep the thighs in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
While the chicken marinates, prepare the pasta according to the package’s instructions, drain it in a colander, and allow it to cool.
In a large skillet, heat it over an open flame. When it’s hot, cook the thighs marinated in chicken on each side until nicely browned and cooked (about 5 minutes per side). There is sufficient oil present in the marinade that prevents the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken cooked from the pan and let it sit for five minutes. After cooling, cut pieces of chicken into smaller bite-sized pieces.
While the chicken cooks, make the rest of the veggies, slice the cucumber and bell pepper. Cut the tomatoes in half (or dice them if you’re using Roma and ordinary tomatoes). Take the parsley leaves off the stems, then chop them up rough.
Then, you can build the salad. Mix the cooked and excellent pasta into an enormous bowl. Serve the pasta on top with bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, and chopped chicken. Sprinkle the feta on the top. Add one or two drops of lemon zest. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and stir to ensure it is evenly coated. Serve immediately or chill until you are ready to serve.