Spring has sprung and this salad is inspired by the rainbow of flowers blooming lately. I love incorporating whatever veggies are on sale or in season at the farmers market. It saves you money and brings in the fresh flavors of spring.
I love the peppery crunch of arugula in this salad because it bulks it up while adding volume and fiber. Lastly I love to include extra protein with big chunks of juicy chicken.
You can omit the chicken for a veggie version or swap it for a different protein depending on your diet but I outlined my favorite way to cook the juiciest chicken!
My secret to the easiest and flavorful pasta salad comes from a seasoning packet! It doesn't get easier than that. I love the #goodseasons Italian dressing packet combined with some yummy vinegar, olive oil and fresh lemon juice for a delicious healthy dressing to toss with everything.
Of course you could heat this up but I absolutely prefer it cold.
It's so refreshing which makes it the perfect lunch on the go! Plus making it ahead gives the dressing plenty of time to marinate with all of the ingredients.
Chicken & Arugula
Farmer’s Market Pasta Salad
8 servings | Cook time: 35 minutes
Notes: This salad is a great spring/summer lunch. So light and refreshing! You can easily leave out the chicken for a vegetarian version as well!
1 small eggplant (~200g), diced
1 cup grape tomatoes (~300g)
1 bell pepper (~200g), diced
1/2 an onion (~75g), diced
1 medium zucchini (~300g), diced
1 packet good seasoning Italian seasoning
2 tbsp natural rice vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
2 oz fat free feta cheese
8oz whole grain rotini pasta
4 cups arugula
24 oz chicken breast (about 2-3 large chicken breasts)
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all of the spices in a bowl.
Spray a large sheet pan with nonstick olive oil spray and arrange vegetables. Spray veggies with nonstick olive oil spray. Sprinkle the veggies with about 1/4 spice mix. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning halfway, until all of the veggies are fork tender. Remove the veggies from the oven and set aside to cool.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. Season the chicken well the another 1/4 of the spice mix. Sear the chicken on the cast iron for about 5 minutes. Flip and sear another 2-3 minutes. Transfer it to the oven and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165F. Remove from the oven and set the chicken aside to cool and rest.
While the veggies and chicken are cooking bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiled, season liberally with salt and stir in pasta. Cook according to packaging. Rinse and strain pasta and set aside.
In a bowl combine lemon juice, vinegars and olive oil. Add veggies, pasta and remaining spice mix to the bowl and toss to combine.
Chop the chicken breast up into 1” in cubes. Toss the feta, chicken and arugula with the past and veggies. Set aside to marinate for a few minutes before serving.
Note: If prepping this salad more than one day in advance, recommend tossing the arugula with the salad within a few hours but up to a day before serving depending on how much bite you want in the arugula. I do not recommend tossing the arugula with the salad days in advance as it will get soggy.
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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used. Nutrition facts provided for the pasta salad with chicken and without chicken.