Summer chicken and pasta salad

Summer chicken and pasta salad


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About this recipe: Full of flavour and contrasting textures, the ingredients for this refreshing salad are mixed together in a smooth, creamy anchovy dressing. It's a good way to make the most of fresh broad beans (in season from the end of May to early July). At other times of the year, you can use frozen broad beans.

Norma MacMillan

Serves: 4 

  • 1 red pepper, quartered and seeded
  • 1 yellow pepper, quartered and seeded
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts (fillets), about 340 g (12 oz) in total
  • 1 can anchovy fillets, about 50 g, drained
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 125 g (4½ oz) plump fresh asparagus spears
  • 250 g (9 oz) fusilli (pasta spirals)
  • 200 g (7 oz) podded fresh young broad beans
  • 115 g (4 oz) mixed salad leaves
  • pepper

Prep:13hr  ›  Ready in:13hr 

  1. Preheat the grill. Arrange the pepper quarters, skin side up, on the grill rack and grill for 5 minutes or until the skins are lightly charred. Turn the peppers over and grill for a further 2–3 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a polythene bag and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skins and slice.
  2. While the peppers are cooling, heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan or frying pan until very hot. Mix together 1½ tsp of the oil and 1 tsp of the lemon juice and brush it all over the chicken fillets. Add them to the pan, reduce the heat and cook for about 15 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is tender and cooked through; the juices should run clear when the thickest part is pierced with a knife.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Put the anchovies in a blender with the remaining 2½ tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp lemon juice, the mustard, garlic, yogurt, water and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and thick. Put the onion in a large bowl and pour over the dressing. Set aside.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside to cool. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 3–4 minutes, turning once, until tender. Remove from the pan and cut the spears in half. Set aside.
  5. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Add the broad beans for the last 3–4 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  6. Cut or tear the cooked chicken into strips. Add to the onions together with the pepper slices, asparagus, broad beans and pasta. Toss to coat everything with the dressing. Cover and chill for up to 12 hours. Remove from the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving, piled on a bed of salad leaves.

Plus points

Anchovies contain calcium and phosphorus, both essential minerals for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. These minerals are retained in canned anchovy fillets. * Serving a starchy carbohydrate like pasta with a small portion of low-fat protein in the form of lean meat, plus lots of vegetables, means this dish achieves a good, healthy balance from the different food groups.

Another idea

Make a duck, penne and caramelised orange salad. Mix together the juice of ½ orange, 1 tsp light muscovado sugar, 2 tsp sunflower oil and 1 tbsp dark soy sauce. Pour it over 2 skinless boneless duck breasts, about 140 g (5 oz) each, and turn to coat, then leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Preheat the grill and cook the duck breasts for 10–15 minutes, turning once, until well browned (the inside will be pink). While the duck breasts are cooking, peel and thickly slice 3 large oranges. Sprinkle one side of the orange slices with 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar, and grill them alongside the duck for the last 5 minutes of the cooking time, until lightly browned. Instead of the fusilli in the main recipe, cook 250 g (8½ oz) penne. Slice the duck and put in a serving bowl with the oranges, penne and 115 g (4 oz) mixed salad leaves. For the dressing, whisk 2 tbsp sunflower oil with 2 tbsp orange juice and 2 tsp ginger juice. Season to taste. Pour over the salad, toss well and serve.

Each serving provides

A, B1, B6, B12, C, E, folate, niacin * B2, copper, potassium, zinc * calcium, iron, selenium

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