A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I have been eating “salads” galore. Eventually, the green salads have not become very filling and I also ran out of ideas; not to mention, my refrigerator is not a 50 ingredient salad bar! Anyhow, I’ve been experimenting with healthier recipes that could be served hot or cold. This delicious lemon-basil chicken pasta salad is one of them. I might make it for dinner and eat leftovers cold the next day. Now, that’s thinking ahead!
Serves 4. Prep time: 25min. Total time: warm: 25min cold: 1hr 25min (for cooling)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (for cooking pasta), if desired
- 2 cups uncooked rotini or rotelle (spiral) pasta (6 oz)
- 10 asparagus stalks (about 8 oz)
- 1 clove garlic or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 5 oz cooked chicken or turkey
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz)
- 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- Fill a 4-quart Dutch oven about half full of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt if desired. Cover with lid; heat over high heat until water is boiling rapidly. Add the pasta. Heat to boiling again. Boil uncovered 9 to 11 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender but not mushy. While water is heating and pasta is cooking, continue with recipe.
- Break off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus stalks where they snap easily; wash asparagus. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces to measure 2 cups. Add asparagus to the pasta during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes to measure about 2 cups. Tear the basil leaves lengthwise into narrow strips.
- Place strainer or colander in the sink. Pour pasta and asparagus in the strainer to drain. Rinse with cold water; drain.
- If you are going to eat it warm: pour pasta back in the pot after draining, throw in remaining ingredients, toss and serve. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
- Cold: In a large glass or plastic bowl, toss pasta, asparagus and chicken. Stir in garlic, basil, cheese, oil and lemon peel. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until chilled.