Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Chicken & Pasta Salad with Basil Mayo & Pignoli

This salad has been a favourite of mine for as long as I can remember - like I remember being 4/5 and eating this salad! This is the very first salad I ate because it had pasta in it and anything with pasta in it can't be that bad, right!? Well, this salad isn't just not bad, it's amazing! Here is how my family makes this salad:

Start by cooking 1 pound of medium pasta shells. once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and set it aside to cool. (I leave the pasta in the strainer until I'm ready to use it).
While the pasta shells are cooking, toast 1/2 of pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Keep a careful eye on these because they go from looking uncooked to burnt pretty quickly. When the pine nuts are golden brown removed them from heat and let them cool.

Chop up 1 cup of celery, 1 cup of red or green pepper, 1 cup of carrot, 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, 1/3 cup of scallions and 1/4 cup of parsley.

In a food processor, combine 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1 cup of plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/2 of fresh basil, 1 clove of garlic and a little salt & pepper to make the salad dressing.
Pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss everything together. You may have noticed that I excluded an ingredient (it is in the name of the salad) -- The Chicken!! I intentionally excluded the chicken because my family likes to go meatless sometimes. If you want chicken in your salad, you can add 3 cups of cooked & cubed chicken to the mix. Otherwise, if you are into going meatless this salad is just as delicious without the chicken!

1 pound medium pasta shells (~5 cups = 1 pound)
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup red or green pepper, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup scallions
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 garlic clove
Salt & Pepper

1. Cook the pasta, drain its water and set it aside in the strainer to cool.
2. Toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat in a small skillet until they are golden brown. Once they are cooked, remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool.
3. Chop up celery, red/green bell pepper, carrot, cherry tomatoes, scallions and parsley.
4. Combine mayo, plain yogurt, red wine vinegar, fresh basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth.
5. Toss the salad together in a large salad bowl.

See you tomorrow with another fun recipe!

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