The star of this big, juicy Pasta Salad is the dressing – it’s made using the flavour infused oil from the Sun Dried Tomatoes. Never throw away free flavour – especially when it’s this good! Quick to make and a big crowd pleaser, this can be as diverse as you want it to be!
According to Google, there are 433 million results when you’re searching for a Pasta Salad.
So what makes this one different?
A MUST-TRY PASTA SALAD DRESSING
It’s the Dressing. 🙂 It’s a vinaigrette, and it’s made using the oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes. And it’s not only infused with sun dried tomato flavour, it’s got a bunch of other flavourings as well, all things we love – garlic, herbs, sugar, salad and pepper.
So I use the flavour infused oil from the jar as the base for the Pasta Salad Dressing, then add other usual suspects – vinegar, garlic, mustard – plus a healthy dose of dried herbs.
There will always be a place in my heart for creamy dressings like this Chicken Pasta Salad, but there’s no denying that I find pasta salads tossed with vinaigrettes more appealing. They’re just fresher and lighter, and it means I can enjoy them day after day and not feel weighed down / guilty about excess mayo consumption.
This is a particularly great pasta salad for taking somewhere or making ahead because it keeps exceptionally well.
I know you hear that often – that pasta salads keep well. But in this case, it really does – because it’s light on fresh veggies. Just tomatoes and baby spinach which does wilt once dressed but then seemingly becomes more integrated into the pasta salad, rather than being off-puttingly limp like when it’s in a normal salad.
I’m probably doing myself a major disservice here by saying that it’s light on fresh veggies, it doesn’t make it sound very summery, does it? 🙂
But actually, this is a terrific year round pasta salad because it’s lovely served warm too. Try it! – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chicken
- 375 g / 12 oz spiral pasta , or other pasta of choice
- 220 g / 7 oz jar sun dried tomato strips in oil
- 2 cups (packed) shredded cooked chicken
- 250 g / 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved
- 75 g / 2.5 oz baby spinach (2 big handfuls)
- 1 small red onion, quartered and finely sliced
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs (Note 1)
- 100 g / 3 oz feta, crumbled
- 1/3 cup / 85 ml oil from sun dried tomatoes
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs (Note 1)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Drain oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes.
- Measure out 1/3 cup of the oil, top with extra virgin olive oil if short. Reserve excess oil for another purpose.
- Add remaining Dressing ingredients. Mix well.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water per packet directions.
- Drain, then rinse briefly under cold water. Leave to cool.
- Transfer into large bowl. Add spinach, chicken, tomato, onion, pour over Dressing.
- Toss well, sprinkle with dried herbs, toss again.
- Just before serving, sprinkle with crumbled feta. Best served at room temperature.
Make ahead PRO TIP (Note 2):
- SCOOP OUT a mug of pasta cooking water just before draining. Add 3 tbsp water to Dressing, shake well. Use this Dressing per above, but reserve 3 tbsp to freshen up pasta salad on Day 2 onwards.
- Freshen up pasta salad: Bring to room temp or briefly microwave (cold pasta = dry) to warm gently. Toss with Reserved Dressing then serve.
LIFE OF DOZER
He spends a lot of time peering out the window nowadays…. watching passer-byers, the birds that flit around in the trees, newspaper swirling in the wind on the driveway (especially fascinated by this…….)
* For those playing catch up, Dozer completely ruptured his ACL and had to undergo surgery. We’re 3 weeks into a 3 – 4 month recovery period. Challenging for this highly active dog ☹️