“Growing up, our mom made rotini salad at every family get together. It had tomatoes, green peppers, and zesty Italian dressing. I would literally only eat the pasta, leaving all the vegetables on my plate. I have since grown to love all the vegetables I once despised, and revamped mom’s pasta salad! I remixed it by adding feta cheese and spinach and arugula greens. To round out the dish into a meal, I added chicken. The OG pasta was a hit in the 90s and I can say that the update is a hit these days!
Let’s talk kitchen equipment recommendations:
A German style chef’s knife (this set or this solo): my favorite for the home kitchen. A nice medium weight with a decent edge is all you need to get a perfect small dice or stop your onions from making you cry. Because who has time for that?
Meat thermometer: not just for turkey at Thanksgiving! The easiest way for avoiding overcooking / undercooking your chicken. I like the digital screen thermometers better than the traditional ones.
Stainless steel bowls: classic, sleek, useful for everything. Buy at least three. One small, one medium, one large.” – Andi
- 1/2 pound rotini pasta – cooked
- 1 small red onion – diced
- 1 red pepper – diced
- 1 celery stalk – diced
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes – halved
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup of Italian dressing – to taste
- 1 cup spinach / arugula mix
- 1 pound chicken breast
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook half a pound of rotini noodles according to the package. Strain and cool down.
- While the pasta is cooking, practice your knife skills while cutting the vegetables. You want a small dice of the celery, red pepper, and onion. Then cut your tomatoes in half.
- Pour the cooked and drained pasta to a large bowl.
- Add the vegetables, spinach arugula mix, and feta to the bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Dress the whole salad with your vinaigrette of choice. I love zesty Italian. It has been my favorite since I was a kid. It is hard to say a specific measured amount as everyone has their own personal preference. Start with a couple of tablespoons and work from there.
- While the pasta is marinating, sear the chicken. Heat a pan over medium and when the pan is hot, add the oil.
- Carefully add your chicken and season with salt and pepper.
- Sear for 5 minutes on one side (or until brown) and then turn the chicken and cook for another ten minutes. Your chicken should hit 160 degrees Fahrenheit for the internal temperature. Remove your chicken from the pan and let it cool for five minutes.
- Slice the chicken and place on top of the salad.