$8.91 RECIPE / $2.23 SERVING
This Greek Chicken Pasta Salad was such a hit that I ate it for breakfast this morning. #noregrets
I guess it’s that time of year when all I want to do is eat cold salads all day (hello, summer!). So I decided to turn Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad, one of my favorite pasta salads, into a complete meal.
I threw in a few more vegetables and used half of the dressing to marinade some delicious chicken thighs to turn it into a greek chicken pasta salad.
SALAD PORTIONS OF GREEK CHICKEN PASTA
This Greek Chicken Pasta Salad pulls together fast and effortlessly, yielding around four large meal-sized pieces or approximately six smaller side dish portions. It’s also ideal for potlucks, and it’s simple to double or treble if necessary.
CAN I REPLACE THE THIGHS WITH CHICKEN BREAST?
Yes, just make sure your chicken breasts are pounded to a uniform thickness of around 3/4 inches before marinating.
If the chicken is thin and even, it will cook fast without drying out. You could also use chicken tenders or file the chicken breast into two smaller pieces.
ADD VEGETABLES TO MAKE IT VEGETARIAN
Make it vegetarian by omitting the meat. That’s OK. You can probably cut the dressing/marinade in half if you don’t use the chicken (or just make the full batch if you really like a lot of dressing on your salads).
This salad is full and intriguing enough on its own thanks to the diversity of vegetables! Chickpeas might work great with these tastes if you wanted to add a little more protein.
GREEK CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
- 1 lemon ($0.59)
- 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.64)
- 3 cloves garlic, divided ($0.24)
- 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano ($0.07)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs ($2.10)
- 8 oz. pasta (any shape) ($0.50)
- 1 bell pepper (any color) ($1.50)
- 4 oz. grape tomatoes* ($1.00)
- 1/2 cucumber (1.5 cups diced) ($1.00)
- 1/4 bunch parsley ($0.20)
- 2 oz. feta ($1.12)
- Remove the zest from the lemon with a zester, Microplane, or small-holed cheese grater. Remove the zest and set it aside. Squeeze the lemon juice into a separate basin. At least 1/4 cup of juice is required.
- To make the dressing and marinate, mince two of the three garlic cloves and mix them with 1/4 cup lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Combine these items in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Add half of the dressing to the chicken thighs in a small zip lock bag, storing the remainder to add to the salad later. One extra garlic clove, minced, should be added to the bag with the chicken and marinade. Squeeze the air out of the bag and massage it to ensure that the thighs are evenly covered with the marinade. Refrigerate the thighs for 30 minutes at the very least.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain in a colander and set aside while the chicken marinates.
- Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the marinated chicken thighs on each side until they are thoroughly browned and cooked through once the pan is hot (about 5 minutes on each side). The marinade should include enough oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and set it aside for 5 minutes to rest. Chop the chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces when it has cooled sufficiently.
- Prepare the remaining vegetables while the chicken cooks. Cucumber with bell pepper, diced Half-cut the tomatoes (or dice if using Roma or regular tomatoes). Remove the parsley leaves from the stems and cut them coarsely.
- Last but not least, assemble the salad. In a big mixing bowl, combine the cooked and cooled pasta. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, parsley, and chopped chicken to the spaghetti. Top with crumbled feta and a sprinkle or two of lemon zest. Toss the lettuce with the remaining dressing to coat it. Serve right away or chill until ready to eat.
- Serving: 1 Serving
- Calories: 710.18 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 50.93 g
- Protein: 17.38 g
- Fat: 49.13 g
- Sodium: 561.98 mg
- Fiber: 4.25 g
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING GREEK CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
- Begin by squeezing one lemon and removing the zest. The lemon’s zest is its most magical element. It adds a strong lemon taste to the dish without being overly sour. To give this recipe an extra lemony kick, we use both the juice and the zest. Scrape the thin yellow zest layer from the peel with a zester, Microplane, or small-holed cheese grater. Remove the zest. Into a separate bowl, squeeze the lemon juice. A quarter cup of juice is required.
- Make the dressing and marinade mixture now. 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a dash of lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Whisk everything together with a fork until smooth.
- Add half of the dressing, plus one extra minced garlic clove to two boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a zip lock bag (you want the chicken to be garlicky!). Squeeze out all of the air, give the bag a short massage to distribute the marinade, and place the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Cook 8 oz. pasta (any shape) according to package directions while the chicken is marinating. Using a colander, drain the pasta and set it aside to cool.
- Cook the marinated chicken thighs in a pan over medium heat. The marinade should have provided enough oil to keep them from sticking together. Cook until the thighs are thoroughly browned and cooked through on both sides (about five minutes on each side). Seriously, I’m going to publish this chicken as its own dish shortly. It appealed to me as a stand-alone snack.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside to cool for a few minutes before chopping it into smaller, more manageable pieces.
- Prepare the remainder of the vegetables while the chicken is cooking. Slice the tomatoes in half (or dice if using Roma or normal tomatoes) and rough chop the parsley.
- It’s time to bring it all together now! In a large mixing basin, combine the cooked, drained, and cooled pasta (it’s hidden, I swear). Tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, parsley, and chopped chicken should be placed on top of the pasta. Finally, strew 2 oz. feta over the top and finish with a pinch of lemon zest.
- Overdress the salad with the remaining dressing…
- And mix until the dressing is evenly distributed throughout the salad. Done!