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Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

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Summer pasta has officially never looked so good!

Today we welcome to WOT Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest who is sharing with us her delicious recipe for Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad.

This easy Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad with honey balsamic dressing will become your go-to summer pasta salad. It’s almost no-cook and comes together quickly, and with very little effort. Grilled balsamic herb chicken tossed with balsamic dressing, pasta, marinated mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado. It’s colorful and so delicious. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch. Or serve it up at your next summer party. It’s always good.

It’s still summer and so the perfect time to try this go-to summer pasta salad. You’ll want to make this any chance you get. It’s simple, but done up with a little more color, flavor, and dressing.

Plus, most people have these ingredients on hand, so it’s really a staple kind of recipe to make over and over again. At any summer gathering, it’s always one of the first dishes to disappear.

The honey balsamic dressing really is the key to this salad. It adds all the flavor. It’s a simple mix-up of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, shallots, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh basil. I love to mix balsamic and honey for a tangy-sweet dressing and then add herbs for additional flavor.

It’s so delicious and will be your new go-to salad dressings all year long.

This makes a lot of dressing, which is what you need for this salad. Again the dressing is KEY.

Next, toss the chicken with a bit of the dressing. If time allows, let the chicken marinate for even more flavor, then just grill it up.

One great tip is to use chicken tenders or strips instead of breasts. The dressing is able to coat more of the chicken then, adding even more flavor.

For the salad: 

You need your favorite short-cut pasta, fresh mozzarella balls, and lots of cherry tomatoes. Oh, and avocado too.

For the mozzarella, use marinated mozzarella if you can find it. Trust us, it’s delish and yup, adds even more flavor.

When the chicken is done grilling, and the pasta is cooked, just toss everything up with dressing. And that’s it. Simple. Simple. But so delicious!

This is a great recipe for prepping ahead of time for parties or even work lunches. The pasta holds up really well in the fridge and would be great to make on a Sunday for the week ahead. It even takes on more flavor as the salad sits! Just be sure to add the avocado the day of so that it doesn’t get brown.

What I love most about this pasta recipe is that it really does use some of summer’s best ingredients. So if you have a surplus of fresh cherry tomatoes and basil lying around, this is the recipe to make.

Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

Balsamic Dressing
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes
Salad
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • 1 pound short cut pasta
  • 2 cup mozzarella balls (use marinated, if you can find)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup  fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 avocado, diced

Instructions

  • To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl, toss the chicken with 1/3 of the dressing. Let sit 10 minutes or marinate up to overnight. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, turning halfway through cooking, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain. Add the pasta, chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, and avocado to a large salad bowl. Pour over the remaining dressing and toss well to combine. Serve warm or cold. The salad will develop more flavor as it sits.
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Recipe, images and text by Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest. Follow Half Baked Harvest on Instagram here

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