Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Salad is the ultimate pasta salad without any mayo! A simple yet addictive pasta salad made with al dente broccoli, chicken bits, red bell pepper, onion, basil and feta drizzled with olive oil!
This Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Salad is an addictive “wake up in the middle of the night for a bite” meal… a “you have more than me” meal. This is a recipe from way back in the days when I used to sleep over at my friend’s house, and her mom knew I was coming. Then, she would make me that pasta salad. I could not get enough, it looked like a simple pasta salad, but something in it made it impossible to stop eating… With the years, I transformed it even more to my taste; I’ve added feta cheese and fresh basil leaves.
The Golden Dressing
The dressing for this pasta salad is simply fresh extra-virgin olive oil, and that’s it! But, please, not the commercial blend they sell in transparent plastic bottles. If you want good olive oil, it must be fresh from the year… The best bottles usually are dark greenish coloured and show you the production date. You’ll pay a bit more, but the difference is tremendous! With this fresh olive oil, everyone will ask you what the dish’s secret is. For ages, people have marinated and conserved their food in this golden liquid; it is simply the best!
A Meal that Gains in the Fridge
Also, this salad becomes better the longer it stays in the fridge. All the flavours mix well then, so it’s one of those few meals that gets better over time. Another plus of this recipe is that once done, you have it for a while, lunch for the kids, for example. You’ll see, soon the little friends of your kids will ask you for it, just like I did!
This pasta salad stays covered in the fridge for a good three days. It goes great for lunch, picnics, potluck, etc. Just be careful not to let the chicken more than an hour at room temperature.
Sometimes I would add a few Kalamata olives to give it this extra salty punch. Other times, I would switch the onions for fresh scallions. It’s a meal that is easy to customize to your taste! The essential elements are the marinated chicken bits, feta and broccoli; the rest is up to you!
To Serve with
Here are a few drinks that would complement this recipe well:
So let’s make that pasta salad!
Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Salad
- 400 g penne (could be fusilli, farfalle, etc.)
- 2 chicken breasts (cut into small dices)
- 200 g feta cheese (cut into small cubes)
- 1 red bell pepper (cut into small pieces)
- 1 onion (cut into small pieces)
- 1 broccoli (cut into small florets)
- 2 tbsp dried basil or thyme
- 50 ml olive oil
- fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta following directions, drain and rinse in cold water.
- In a big pan or wok, at medium-high heat, cook the chicken in olive oil with thyme, salt and pepper.
- In the same pan or wok, cook at medium-high heat the vegetables until al dente, adding the broccoli 2 minutes before the rest with 3 tbsp of water.
- Add vegetables into the pasta pot and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients; marinated chicken, feta, fresh basil, salt and pepper mix and serve.