Thursday, April 14, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

Ah spring. It's glorious isn't it? It's warm, sunny, bright, and CLEAN! The air is fresh, the grass is covering all the mud, and everyone is scrubbing and purging for the bright new season. Our dinner tables start to look different too. Instead of rich creamy soups and casseroles, we see a lot more fresh veggies and grilled meats.

This pasta salad definitely fits in that category. Penne pasta full of bright, fresh veggies, tangy roasted chicken breast and tossed in a light, but flavorful dressing. It's served cold or at room temp, which makes it perfect for a picnic. Just the thing you'd want to do on a beautiful spring day.

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light August 2005


1/2 pound uncooked penne rigate
2 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped plum tomato (about 2 tomatoes)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (I used a blend of Mexican seasonings instead, about 2 teaspoons)
3 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 375. Rub chicken breasts in lemon pepper and drizzle in olive oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through and juices are clear. Let chicken cool and dice it.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add Chicken and next 5 ingredients (through tomato); toss well to combine.

3. Combine orange juice and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill. (Be sure to season well to your liking).

Happy Spring!!


Lara said...

I love all the fresh flavors in here....what a great combination!

By the way, you and your kids are adorable!

Melody said...

This looks like a great salad! I love that picture with you and the kids. So cute!

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

adorable pic of you and the kiddies and great pasta salad love South Western flavors

Burp and Slurp~! said...

Teresa, I LOVE the last picture!!!! What a golden, sweet family you have. Your kids look like darlings...I hope they act like it too! ;-)

Cassie said...

lime AND orange juice, sounds delicious!

Barbara said...

Such an adorable photo, Teresa! You all look very happy and spring-like! :)

Love your pasta dish and the citrus in it is a great combo with the southwest flavors.

Natalie said...

love the photo (and the recipe :))! Happy Friday!

Pam said...

Love the pic of you and your babes! Your salad sounds delicious. I just wish it was warm and sunny here today! It's chilly, extremely windy and rainy.

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

Teresa, this pasta salad looks so delicious and just what I have been needing to inspire me for spring! Thanks for sharing this wonderful, yummy looking recipe. I hope you have a great weekend!

4*KowBoys said...

This just looks good, and light, with all the heavy winter foods we've been eating... can't wait to try it!

Reeni said...

What a sweet picture! I love the pasta salad and the fact you can eat it hot or cold!

Diana's Cocina said...

Loving the southwest flavors in your pasta salad.

Loving the picture. You are beautiful and the kiddos are precious!

Joanne said...

Scrubbing...right...that's definitely what I should be doing. Can I make this pasta salad and pretend that I'm scrubbing? That seems way more appealing!

You and the kids are adorable!

Velva said...

Welcome to Spring!!!! The pasta salad is a perfect welcome dish to the warmer spring/summer months.

Love the photo of you and your boys. Awesome.

Have a great weekend.

Julie said...

Love the picture of you and your little ones! The salad sounds perfect!

Pam said...

What a cute picture of you three. The pasta salad looks fantastic... it's my kind of food.

Mary said...

This sounds quite lovely. I love the flavors you have used here and I'll be trying this one very soon. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

theUngourmet said...

Yum! The weather has been miserable here but I'd still go for a big plate of this bright cheery goodness!

I love the photo of you and your kids. So cute!!

Cheryl said...

Great Photo, love it. It is not quite Spring yet here but soon! The salad looks light and delish!

Libby said...

What an adorable picture!! I love this recipe too....and the fact that it's from Cooking Light! They have the best recipes ;)

Chris said...

Southwestern is one of my favorite flavor profiles. Nice photos! (food and family)

MaryMoh said...

Perfect comfort food....mmm. I would love a plate of it. What a beautiful photo of you and your kids. Just makes me smile early in the morning. Smiles are infectious :D Keep smiling! Hope you and your family have a great day. MaryMoh at

The Blonde Duck said...

I love spring!

Anonymous said...

I love everything about that dish Teresa!

Love the picture of you and the kids - you look beautiful!

Kathleen said...

I love the picture of you and the kids. What a beautiful family!!! This pasta looks yummy and perfect for the season.

cajunlicious said...

This looks so good. Just found your amazing blog and am a new follower!
- Jessica @

Deborah said...

This does scream out spring! Delicious!

Lester Mendez said...

I remember the time when me and my friends went in a classic restaurant where mere exactly the same food featured on this blog. We wrote a city dining guide about this classic restaurant and conduct a little survey about what are the best pasta that they already eat, and little surprise that 66% answered "Chicken Pasta".

buyrift said...

WoW! looks delicious. .

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