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Greek Chicken Pasta Salad

Marinated chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts,ย Kalamata olives, and feta cheese are tossed with pasta and a tangy dressing in this colorful, flavorful Greek Chicken Pasta Salad, perfect for summer barbecues & get-togethers!

Greek Chicken Pasta Salad ~ marinated chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese are tossed with corkscrew pasta and a tangy dressing in this colorful, flavorful recipe that's perfect for summer barbecues and get-togethers! | FiveHeartHome.com

It’s the last week of school, y’all…eeek! How did that happen??? And it’s going to be a busy week at that, with end-of-year festivities galore. But fortunately, I’ve already got dinner covered with a big bowl of pasta salad in the fridge. Yippee! So if you’re on the hunt for a colorful, bursting-with-flavor pasta salad — or if you want to make a big batch for quick meals between activities over the next few days — I’ve got you covered as well with this Greek Chicken Pasta Salad!

Greek Chicken Pasta Salad ~ marinated chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese are tossed with corkscrew pasta and a tangy dressing in this colorful, flavorful recipe that's perfect for summer barbecues and get-togethers! | FiveHeartHome.com

When devising this recipe, I basically took components of a traditional Greek salad, replacing the base of lettuce with cavatappi (or — for the non-Italian speakers out there — corkscrew) pasta. Simply whip up a homemade Greek vinaigrette, and borrow a few of its ingredients to mix with yogurt for marinating some chicken breasts. Boil the pasta and prep the grape tomatoes (I used a medley of colors, though regular red tomatoes would work just dandy), cucumber slices, marinated artichoke hearts, briny Kalamata olives, and creamy feta cheese. And finally, add the marinated, cooked, sliced chicken — along with the dressing — to your bowl of Greek goodness. Toss it all together and you’ve got one yummy lunch, dinner, or barbecue/picnic/shower/get-together recipe! Flavor explosion, I’m telling you.

Greek Chicken Pasta Salad ~ marinated chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese are tossed with corkscrew pasta and a tangy dressing in this colorful, flavorful recipe that's perfect for summer barbecues and get-togethers! | FiveHeartHome.com

You may notice that there’s one common-to-Greek-salad ingredient missing in this recipe: aesthetically pleasing purple onion slices. Well, those of you who know me well are already aware of the fact that I’m not a fan of onions (to put it mildly), so I left them out of our pasta salad. That being said, if you like onions, I’m sure they’d contribute even more flavor — not to mention one of the only colors of the rainbow that’s missing from this salad — so feel free to go for it! Just don’t get too heavy-handed, since raw onions can be a bit overpowering, even to those who enjoy them. Half of a medium red onion sliced into very thin rings should be plenty.

Greek Chicken Pasta Salad ~ marinated chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese are tossed with corkscrew pasta and a tangy dressing in this colorful, flavorful recipe that's perfect for summer barbecues and get-togethers! | FiveHeartHome.com

So do you have a busy week ahead? Do you adore pasta salad? Do you have an affinity for Greek-inspired ingredients? If you answered yes to any of the above queries, this zesty Greek Chicken Pasta Salad recipe has got your back…and your tastebuds…and your tummy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Greek Chicken Pasta Salad ~ marinated chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese are tossed with corkscrew pasta and a tangy dressing in this colorful, flavorful recipe that's perfect for summer barbecues and get-togethers! | FiveHeartHome.com

Greek Chicken Pasta Salad

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Marinated chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese are tossed with corkscrew pasta and a tangy dressing in this colorful, flavorful Greek Chicken Pasta Salad, perfect for summer barbecues and get-togethers!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE MARINADE:
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • _
  • FOR THE DRESSING:
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • _
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 medium chicken breasts)
  • 8 ounces cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups (approximately 12 ounces) grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 10 ounces seedless cucumbers (about 3 baby cucumbers), cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick (to make little half moons)
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar marinated quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup (about 4 to 5 ounces) Kalamata olives
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  1. In a gallon-sized, freezer-thickness, zip-top plastic bag, combine yogurt, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Zip the top and squish the bag to distribute all of the ingredients.
  2. In a blender or small food processor, pulse the garlic until minced. Add the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, oregano, salt, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, and pepper. Blend or process until well-combined. Stream in the olive oil and blend/process until the dressing is thick and emulsified. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in the bag of marinade, zip the bag, and squish/turn it to coat all of the chicken. Lay the bag in a baking dish and place it in the refrigerator to marinate for 4 to 8 hours.
  4. Once the chicken is marinated, cook the pasta according to package directions in well-salted water. Drain, rinse, and cool.
  5. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, scraping off any excess yogurt, and discard the marinade. Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and olive oil and swirl pan to coat. Cook the chicken breasts until deep golden brown on the underside, about 5 to 8 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until the second side is browned and the chicken is cooked through, another 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside on a cutting board to cool.
  6. Transfer the cooled pasta to a large bowl. Slice the chicken breasts and lay them on top. Scatter the tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, artichoke heart quarters, olives, and feta cheese on top. Drizzle with about 2/3 of the dressing and toss until evenly coated (reserve the remaining 1/3 of the dressing to add just before serving).
  7. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and stir in the remaining vinaigrette (to taste).

Notes

The marinade and the dressing contain a lot of the same ingredients, so I like to prepare both of them at the same time while I already have everything out. Then I just store the dressing at room temperature until I'm ready to make the pasta salad.

I always keep a bottle of pure lemon juice in the fridge (as in, lemon juice is the only ingredient with no added preservatives) and it's a great substitute when I don't have fresh lemons on hand.

If you wish to bake the chicken breasts instead of sauteeing them, you may bake them at 425ยฐF until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ยฐF, which will probably take around 20 minutes.

If you wish, you may add 1/2 of a thinly sliced red onion to the pasta salad at the same time as the rest of the veggies.

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Comments

  1. School ending has me in a panic too! These easy pasta salad looks like a dinner-winner. And the kids probably appreciate no onions! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks, Laura! And yes, when it comes to raw onions, I’m afraid I’m the biggest kid of all… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope y’all are having a great summer so far!

  2. This sounds like the Queen of all pasta salads!! Yum! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Kristin says:

    We love pasta salad for dinner in the summer. This looks great! We are still in school here 8 days and counting…

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Well, since I’m so pitifully late in replying to blog comments, I can now say HAPPY END OF SCHOOL! Hope y’all’s break is off to a great start… ๐Ÿ™‚

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