I served this remarkably simple pasta chicken salad on Memorial Day to rave reviews from family and friends. It is one of those recipes where the result surpasses the sum of its parts. Flavorful, full of interesting texture and made from pantry staples, it will be one of the recipes I put in Sarah’s college recipe file.
I like garbanzo beans (chick peas) for this salad not only because of their protein content but also because of their texture. They hold their own against vigorous tossing without breaking. I also like the flavor they contribute; however, if you are not a fan of garbanzos, please substitute cannellini or great Northern white beans.
The dried onion adds tons of flavor and has the advantage of soaking up extra moisture rather than adding moisture, as fresh onion will do.
I cannot recommend strongly enough the technique of rolling the cooked pasta in a clean kitchen towel while preparing the other ingredients. This removes water trapped within the pasta and makes for a richly dressed, not thin and watery, salad.
The grape tomatoes are small enough to blend well in the salad, but you can halve them if you prefer. My bet is that when Sarah makes this, she won’t!
- 1 (12-ounce) package gluten-free fusilli or penne pasta
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick peas) rinsed, drained in colander
- 1 (12-ounce) can gluten free chicken breast, drained in same colander
- 1 pint small grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons dried minced onions
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup gluten free Ranch dressing
- Additional dressing, salt and pepper, if needed
- Add pasta and peas to 6 quarts of boiling salted water and cook until pasta is cooked through but not mushy (consult package for directions). Transfer to colander. Rinse under cold running water and drain well, shaking colander. Transfer pasta and peas to a clean kitchen towel; fold over in middle and at ends; roll towel. Reserve.
- Place beans, chicken, tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper in a large, 6-quart salad bowl. Add pasta and peas and toss. Add dressing and toss well. Taste for salt and pepper, adding more if needed. Add additional dressing if needed.
- Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for serving next day.
Variations: Substitute white or cannellini beans for garbanzo. Cut tomatoes in half before adding to salad.
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