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Perfectly Portable Pasta Salad

Posted on May 9, 2014

What is it about the end of Spring, beginning of Summer that prompts so many parties? From graduation to wedding showers to team picnics, the calendar quickly fills up with all sorts of get togethers that often require a potluck contribution or two. Good thing the warm weather is just perfect for pasta salad.

Not only are pasta salads an easy-fix, portable solution, but they’re poised to feature whatever veggies and herbs are in season; so you know they’re going to taste spectacular. Add a little grilled or roasted chicken and these scrumptious sides suddenly take over the center of the plate.

Here’s one that I like to do as the first cherry tomatoes start appearing in the farmers market. Sweet and juicy on their own, a little roasting in the oven intensifies their flavor, which balances well with the smoky flavor of grilled chicken. Add to that some peppery arugula and briny olives and you’ve got a plate worthy of any type of party. That said, you may find yourself sneaking a portion here and there even when your calendar’s not so crowded!

Roasted Tomato and Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad

1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

salt and pepper to taste

1 (1 lb.) pkg. pasta, cooked

3 cups diced FreeBird grilled chicken breast (or chicken breast strips)

2 cups coarsely chopped arugula

1 cup kalamata olives, halved

4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Toss cherry tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread into one layer on a baking sheet and roast in a 350ºF oven for 45 minutes.

While tomatoes are cooking, combine pasta, chicken, arugula, olives and feta in a large mixing bowl. Toss with vinegar and remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. When tomatoes are cooked and cooled to room temperature, fold into pasta salad. Serve room temperature or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 6-8.