A perfectly light, fresh dinner, this vineyard chicken and pasta salad is crazy delicious! So many tasty ingredients and that dressing…yum!
I’m a huge fan of main dish salads for dinner…as long as they are hearty enough to really constitute a full meal. (Many a dinner salad has lied to me in the past and left me disappointed and hungry.)
This chicken and pasta salad definitely checks that box! Not only is it hearty, it’s also super simple and quick to throw together!
Salad + Dressing
This vineyard salad consists of these layers:
- spring greens
- pasta (your life, your choice of shape!)
- cooked chicken (rotisserie or a tasty grilled chicken)
- green onions or chives
- toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds
- fresh basil
Grapes, you ask? In a salad? Why, yes. The juicy pop of grapes is delightfully delicious with the other crunchy, flavorful salad ingredients.
And once the whole salad is drizzled with the bright vinaigrette, it becomes one of those simple, tasty meals that I could eat every day for the rest of forever.
A Couple of Tips
- Chop the spring greens or whatever lettuce/greens you use. Don’t leave the lettuce or spinach pieces large and unwieldy. Run a knife through the greens until they form a delicious confetti bed for everything else to build upon.
- Consider adding bacon. Quite honestly, it’s my one regret. I thought about adding it. Then didn’t. Then regretted it. Bacon would be fabulous in this salad.
- Eyeball most of the ingredients. While I give measurements down in the recipe, the ingredients for this salad can really become a “more or less” situation depending on the overall vibe you want.
- Don’t forget the crunch. I know pine nuts are exorbitantly expensive right now, so if you want to sub them out for something else, by all means, do. But don’t leave the crunchy bits off completely. The salad needs that contrasting texture with the other layered ingredients! I keep a precious bag of pine nuts in the freezer and sometimes use them just on my portion. Shhh. Let it be our secret.
A Salad for All Seasons
This salad makes a wonderful light meal for the warm summer months. But the ingredients adapt well to all seasons.
And if you want to feel like a total rock star, grab a block of Parmesan or Asiago cheese and your vegetable peeler and grate shards of cheese for the top of the salad.
Restaurant quality right there. And you can take all the credit.
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Three Years Ago: Fluffy Baked Pancakes
Four Years Ago: Grilled Hawaiian Chicken
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Six Years Ago: Fresh Strawberry Cobbler
Seven Years Ago: Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs with Root Beer BBQ Sauce
Eight Years Ago: Thin and Chewy Butterfinger Cookies
Nine Years Ago: Berries on a Cloud Best Dessert of the Summer!
Ten Years Ago: Black Bottom Pudding Pie
Vineyard Chicken and Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces bow tie or other favorite shape pasta
- 4 to 6 cups chopped spring greens or baby spinach
- 2 to 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken (see note)
- 1 cup green or red grapes (or a combo), halved
- 3 to 4 green onions or bunch of chives, finely chopped
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds
- ½ cup shaved or grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
- ¼ to ½ cup torn or chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup oil (see note)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Pinch black pepper
Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool (toss every once in a while so it doesn’t stick together).
Whisk or blend all the dressing ingredients together until well-combined.
Assemble the salad by placing the chopped greens in a serving bowl. Top with pasta, chicken, grapes, green onions (or chives), pine nuts (or sunflower seeds), cheese, and fresh basil.
Drizzle dressing over the salad and lightly toss until combined. Serve immediately.
Oil: a variety of different oils work in this dressing. Olive oil lends a more prominent flavor. A neutral-flavored oil can also be used.
Cheese: to get cheese shavings (Parm or Asiago), I use my vegetable peeler and slice thin strips from a block of cheese.
Variations/Adaptations: cooked, crumbled bacon would be amazing on this salad (will definitely do that from now on). Also, most of the salad ingredients do quite well just being eyeballed. Add more or less of any of them depending on what you have on hand and the overall vibe you’re looking for in the salad.
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 453kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 209mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 9g
Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe sent to me by a reader, Heather J. (thanks, Heather!)
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