A Caprese salad is perfect for this time of year. All of the ingredients can be found fresh and it is a light and healthy meal. This recipe for Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad offers a twist on the traditional Caprese salad. This is great dish to serve at a picnic or for dinner on a very hot night.
This entire meal can be made outside on your grill’s side burner. If you are doing this, you may want to grill the chicken breasts whole and then cut it into cubes. The grilled chicken adds a nice flavor to this dish.
- 8 ounces pasta, any shape you like (I used bow tie pasta)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for the pasta
- 1 1/4 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus additional for cooking the pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if large
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high in a large, deep pan. Add the chicken, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate, then carefully wipe the pan with a paper towel, being careful not to burn your fingers.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Let cook 1 minute, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften and wrinkle. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook 30 seconds.
- Add the drained pasta, chicken, and spinach to the pan and let cook just until the spinach begins to wilt. If you feel it is too dry, add a bit of the reserved pasta water. Remove from heat and stir in the basil and mozzarella. Serve immediately.