I’ve been making this 3-4 times per week lately - its fresh, nutritious, flavorful, and easy to throw together. If you’re a meal prep person this is a great recipe for you! Prep everything ahead of time, keep it separate, and toss it together when you’re ready to eat. That easy.
The flavor comes mostly from the add ins rather than the dressing - peperoncini, kalamata olives, fresh dill and basil, crushed red pepper - there are lots of big flavors!
Time: 20-35 minutes depending on the protein situation
Serves: 1 but its a very large salad so you can easily add a little bit more of everything and make it for 2
3 cups fresh greens (I use a mix of romaine and arugula typically)
1 serving cooked chicken *see notes*
2 oz dry pasta
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 Persian cucumber or 1/3 of an English cucumber, diced
1 small shallot, diced
1/4 cup peperoncinis, diced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
2 tablespoons crumbled feta
1-2 tablespoons diced fresh dill
4-5 basil leaves, chopped up
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
red pepper flakes or Trader Joe’s bomba sauce (to taste)
If you’re cooking protein, start by doing that so it has time to cook and cool off. It doesn’t need to be completely cold but we don’t want it to be super hot or it will wilt the salad.
Cook your pasta according to the package instructions. While it’s cooking, chop up all of your veggies. The trick to making this salad work is cutting everything pretty small. Also cut up whatever protein you’re using into smaller than bite size pieces.
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it and run under cold water until it cools down. Hot pasta will wilt the lettuce.
Add your greens to a large mixing or salad bowl. Add in the veggies, herbs, pasta, cheese, protein. Drizzle in the olive oil and balsamic. Add the bomba sauce or red pepper flakes. Use salad forks or tongs to toss the salad until its well mixed.
I love to make this when I have leftover protein - whether its chicken, flank steak, shrimps. As long as it doesn’t have a completely different flavor profile (teriyaki chicken would be weird, you know that) it should be fine!
If you’re cooking your protein fresh or just for this, I recommend doing something simple like basil pesto, harissa, lemon pepper, or balsamic. Even just pulled rotisserie chicken.
If you’re vegetarian, swap in rinsed chickpeas or steamed edamame beans!
Portion size is up to you - I’m eating a lot of protein right now so my portion size is probably a little different than yours - I trust you know what’s best!