– My olive-averse boyfriend LOVES this chicken pasta salad. Yay. –
It’s time for my yearly cold picnic salad recipe. I don’t post these kinds of dishes very often because I’m not generally a fan, but when I develop a good one, I sing it far and wide. This chicken pasta salad with feta cheese and Kalamata olives is one such winner. Not only do I love it, but so does my boyfriend – and he’s about as anti-olive as they come. So that’s a winning endorsement if I
Someday I would like to visit Greece. I’m captivated by all I’ve read about its culture, its history, and of course, its food! Until I’m able to cross the pond, I’ll have to settle for a culinary staycation while nibbling on all the lovely things I’ll likely stuff myself stupid with when I finally set foot on Greek soil. Namely dolmas, souvlaki, fresh feta, and my favorite single-bite snack ever: Kalamata olives.
Am I the only one who has a hard time keeping my fingers out of the olive bar at Whole Foods? I wouldn’t dare eat out of the tubs, but once they’re in my little plastic container, well………. all bets are off.
This gorgeously decadent chicken pasta salad is both light and hearty, a perfect summer dish that takes only minutes to prepare. It’s a wonderful balance of nearly every flavor I can think of: salty feta, earthy pine nuts, savory chicken, verdant basil, sweet-tart balsamic vinaigrette, and of course, the divine salty bitterness of the olives.
Wow, adjective overload. Am I cut off now? I could feel my writing coach cringing as I typed that.
This is a must-make dish for many reasons, the top reason being the olives. Kalamata olives have such a satisfying flavor and I. Can’t. Stop Eating. Them. Jarred Kalamata olives are particularly easy to snack on, as they comes ready to go in a jar that stores easily for quite a while. I often stash a few extra jars in my cupboard for company, though I’ve been known to eat them all on my own long before my visitors arrive.
Also, I have to say that sticking olives on the ends of your fingers should not end with childhood. Sure, my adult fingers are a little bigger than they were when I was 7, but that doesn’t mean they’re too good to stick into the vulnerable end of an olive.
Ed Note: This is a semi-sponsored post, I guess. Lindsey Olives paid me to develop this recipe, but did not ask me to post it on my blog. I loved the photo so much, though, that I couldn’t help but post it here (with their permission, of course). Does this count as a sponsored post? I’m not sure, but I suppose it’s worth a mention.
Chicken Pasta Salad with Feta, Kalamata Olives, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 1/2 pound chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 1 cup Greek Kalamata olives olives cut in half
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- Make the vinaigrette: Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper to a jar or other tightly-sealing container. Shake vigorously and set the jar aside.
- Cut chicken things into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium flame. Sauté chicken until cooked through. Distribute equal amounts of chicken into four large bowls.
- While the chicken is cooking, set a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water and cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Once done, drain the pasta and distribute equal amounts of pasta into the bowls with the chicken. Gently toss the contents of the bowls together.
- To each bowl add an equal amount of olives, feta cheese, basil, and pine nuts. Give the jar with the vinaigrette a good shake and pour over each salad. Sprinkle each bowl lightly with salt and pepper, seasoning to taste. Serve immediately or cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.