Healthy Chicken Pasta Salad is a spinach salad with penne pasta, grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, toasted slivered almonds, and a fresh citrus vinaigrette.
Hey everyone! It’s Chelsea from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. I’m bringing a healthier spinach and chicken salad with pasta today and I hope you all love it!
Instead of the typical mayo or cream-laden based dressing, this dressing is very light and citrus-y making this salad so much healthier than most pasta salads. But it’s definitely NOT lacking on flavor. If you like lemon and orange, you will be obsessed with this dressing!
Healthy Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1 heaping cup 4 ounces miniature penne pasta measured dry
- 1 cup prepared chicken leftover marinated and grilled chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken
- 4 ounces baby spinach stems removed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds toasted
- 1 large orange 2 teaspoons zest; 4 tablespoons juice
- 1 large lemon ½ teaspoon zest; 2 tablespoons juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard do not use regular
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil vegetable oil or canola oil can also be used
- Optional: freshly cracked pepper fresh parsley
Cook the pasta according to package direction. Drain and then rinse with cold water.
Place the cooled pasta in a large bowl. Add in the spinach and the halved cherry tomatoes.
Briefly warm up and then coarsely chop the leftover grilled chicken. Add to salad and toss to combine.
Lightly toast the almonds over a skillet on medium heat until fragrant. Sprinkle the almonds and feta cheese over the salad.
For the dressing: combine all of the ingredients together except for the oil in a blender. Blend until all ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add in the oil in a steady stream and pulse until combined.
Toss the salad with the dressing (to taste; you may not want/need all of it) and enjoy.
ONLY toss what you plan on eating as the dressing makes the spinach "soggy" for leftovers.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
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