Summer Pasta Salad

The weather around these parts changes in the blink of an eye. You put a hat and gloves on, walk outside and break out into a sweat. You think, “Wow, it is sunny and beautiful outside,” only to step into what feels like a walk-in freezer. Or perhaps it is that same “sunny” day, and you need to run to the grocery store to pick up just a couple of items. When you walk back outside, it is pouring rain the seats in your car are wet because you left the moon roof open. Wasn’t a cloud in the sky a minute ago! Okay, well perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but if you live in Michigan, you probably can sympathize with what I am saying. Always armed with a fleece, an umbrella, and if you have a baby, a blanket.



I had some chicken in the fridge which I had originally planned to bake. I don’t like to make hubby grill on weeknights because he’s exhausted when he gets home from work. But Michigan just so happened to grace us with a sunny, warm day and I didn’t feel like turning on the oven. So I poached the chicken and turned it into pasta salad. Hubby got a whole chicken breast served along side of his salad because he’s not really the salad-as-a-dinner type guy, even if it is a salad with pasta filling in for the leafy stuff.



I found these mini farfalle (or bow ties, if you prefer) at the grocery store and bought them because they were cute. We didn’t need pasta. Pasta wasn’t on the menu, and certainly not mini-farfalle, but they were adorable. I know, it is a very smart and economical shopping technique. Please do not refer me to my post where I complain about my high grocery bill. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem right? Well, I know I have a problem.

This isn’t a gourmet pasta salad by any means. It’s your basic pasta salad with a few minor twists. It was one of those clean out the fridge type meals. If it was just me, I would have eliminated the chicken and thrown in a can of beans (black, garbanzo, white…doesn’t really matter). If I had feta, I would have used that instead of parmesan. If you’re an onion fan, throw in some red onions or green onions. If I had tomato, you better believe there would be tomatoes in here. Chopped celery would be great too.



Pasta Salad
a Not Rachael Ray original

1 lb box of mini farfalle (or any other pasta of your choice, if you’re not swayed by cuteness when choosing pasta as I am)
1 carrot, peeled and very thinly sliced (shredded would be good too, but I was lazy)
1/2 of an English cucumber, sliced and quartered
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced into cubes (preferably cooled)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
15.25 oz can of corn, drained
~1/4 cup of chopped, fresh parsley
~1/2 cup of Italian dressing (I used light)

1. Cook pasta according to package. You want it al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Put pasta in large bowl with all other ingredients and mix until combined. This was quite lightly dressed because that is the way we like it. Add in more dressing (little by little, stirring as you go), until it is how you like it.
3. Eat. And eat. And eat. And eat. And eat. This makes a ton. I ended up throwing some away because we had so much left over and I was getting sick of it. I’m definitely scaling back next time, and would suggest you do the same unless you’re feeding a large group or bringing this to a potluck or a picnic.



Verdict: This was exactly what I was craving that night. A light, cool, summer salad. There are endless variations possible.
Husband’s take: He liked it, but I don’t think it would rank in his top ten favorite meals.
Changes I would make: More veggies, less pasta. I know, I’m a crazy lady. I love my vegetables!
Difficulty: Boil, chop, mix, eat. Sound hard?

What would you put in this pasta salad? Do you like Italian dressing or would you toss in a different vinaigrette?

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  1. Pingback: Orzo Salad with Chicken and Vegetables - Rachel Cooks

  2. Gorgeous photography on this one–it looks very professional!

  3. Pingback: Rachael Ray One

  4. I love pasta salads – this looks perfect!

  5. That looks like the perfect little salad! I love it! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Looks so wonderfully summery! And I definitely call them bowties :)

  7. I think it looks delicious and exactly what I want in a pasta salad

  8. Ohh it looks so beautiful and bright! If you can be bothered with the oven, roasting some butternut pumpking and cherry tomatoes and letting them cool before throwing them in taste great too, especially with all the other beautiful veggies (I like my veggies too :) )

  9. Looks yummy and could be made without the chicken for us that don’t eat meat :)

  10. The pasta is so colorful – love it! I’ll definitely be trying it soon (minus the chicken, ha) – summer in lower Alabama is miserably HOT, I could use all the easy-no-oven recipes I can get! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Love that there is chicken in this! I’ve been meaning to make a pasta salad post soon – thanks for the reminder :) So refreshing and summery!

  12. beautiful pictures! This salad looks perfect for summer. :)

  13. Your salad looks scrumptious and your photos are stunning as well. One thing I will share with you that I have recently learned about myself…I LOVE to barbecue. Your chicken looks perfect as it is, but barbecuing is easier than it looks and just as much fun as cooking and i haven’t set anything on fire…yet. :)

    • Ahhh, but if I learned how to barbecue, my hubby probably wouldn’t have to do it! I have to keep that in my arsenal for my lazy cooking days. I have a cast iron grill pan that I use inside for some grilling, but it is on the small side and could probably only fit 3 chicken breasts, max.

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