Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad


I originally posted this recipe back in 2014, but decided to revamp it a little and update the pictures. This salad is nothing short of AMAZING. The chicken is the most flavorful chicken you'll ever have and the dressing that coats the pasta is unreal. This is one pasta salad you'll be craving over and over again. This needs to be at your next summer BBQ no matter what!

Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats and Our Best Bites

Pasta Salad

1 lb. penne or bowtie pasta, cooked according to directions and cooled

1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled


For the Chicken

2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. dried oregano


1. Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl and set aside. Place chicken pieces in a separate bowl and combine with olive oil. Pour in seasoning mix and stir until chicken is well coated.

2. Heat a pan over medium-heat and cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side until no longer pink. Set aside and let cool.


Dressing

lime zest of 2 limes

6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 3 small, juicy limes)

1/4 cup white wine or rice vinegar

3 tsp. garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. sugar

3/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro


1. For the dressing: Process lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and sugar in a blender until smooth. With the blender running on slow speed, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated. Turn off the blender and add cilantro. Pulse 5-6 times so cilantro gets broken up but some pieces still remain intact.

2. For the pasta salad: Place cooled, cooked, drained pasta in a large salad bowl. Add beans and cooked chicken. Toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

3. For best results, chill 1 hour before serving. Right before serving, mix feta cheese into the pasta.

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