Grilled Pasta Salad With Chicken And Creamy Feta Dressing (Gluten free, No mayo)

Grilled Pasta Salad With Chicken And Creamy Feta Dressing (Gluten free, No mayo)

You have to make this grilled pasta salad. It is so different than any pasta salad you have ever tried. It is unique because of the juicy marinated chicken and seasonal vegetables that I cook on the grill. Then I add them to a bowl of cooked brown rice pasta and stir. The most special thing about this recipe is the dressing. It is super creamy, and you need only three ingredients to make it. There is no mayonnaise in this pasta salad, which makes it lighter in taste and perfect for the hot summer days.

This grilled pasta salad has a Mediterranean flavor due to the chicken marinade and the feta dressing. It is so delicious and filling. You can prepare it for pool parties, gatherings, game nights and everyday meals. You can also pack it in a lunch box with an ice pack. I like to make it on the weekend for a lazy lunch in front of the TV.

Grilled Pasta Salad With Chicken And Creamy Feta Dressing

Ingredients for the grilled pasta salad

  • pasta – for this recipe I used gluten free, brown fusilli from Delallo. I like the taste of the brown rice pasta because in my opinion tastes very similar to the taste of regular pasta, but it is much more nutritious. Brown rice pasta is high in fiber and protein, which may keep you full for longer. Whatever pasta you decide to use read and follow the cooking directions on the packet to achieve the pasta texture you like.
  • chicken breast – for this recipe you need a boneless and skinless breast. . You can also use chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • zucchini – currently in season and very good for grilling. I used one medium sized zucchini. Just wash, trim the ends and cut to bite-sized pieces. No need to peel.
  • mini peppers – you can use several mini peppers or one large bell pepper. I love the sweetness of the mini peppers. They are great addition to any salad.
  • onion – I used a red onion that I peeled and chopped to bite-sized pieces. It becomes so sweet when you grill it. If you don’t like onions, you can replace them with another vegetable.
  • feta cheese – I prefer to use cow feta in brin or the feta from Costco. You can use whatever feta you have and like. I don’t recommend using feta that is already crumbled, because it has additives and anti-caking agents.
  • yogurt – I recommend full fat, plain or Greek yogurt for all of my recipes. I make my own whole, organic yogurt at home.
  • fresh herbs – I used a mix between chives and parsley for the dressing, but you can add whatever herb you have and love.
Grilled Pasta Salad With Chicken And Creamy Feta Dressing

Helpful tips about making the grilled pasta salad

Before you cook the pasta bring a pot of water to a boil. Then season generously with salt. This will season the pasta while it cooks. You don’t want bland tasting pasta salad.

I recommend cooking the pasta al dente. This means firm to the bite. If your pasta is cooked properly, it will hold its shape better after stirring.

Rinse the cooked pasta with cold water. This will prevent it from sticking and it will stop the cooking process.

I marinated the chicken overnight, but you can marinate it right before cooking.

Season every step of the way to ensure that the pasta salad has flavor. Use your own judgment when you use salt and pepper.

I used an immersion blender to make the dressing. If you don’t have one you can use a food processor or a small chopper. Taste the dressing and add salt if needed. My feta was very salty, so I didn’t add any.

Grilled Pasta Salad With Chicken And Creamy Feta Dressing

Food safety and storing

The FDA recommends cooking chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165F. If you are unsure that your chicken is cooked don’t serve it. Consuming uncooked chicken can cause serious illness, especially in toddlers and elderly people. You can make sure it is cooked by inserting a food thermometer in the middle of one piece of chicken.

Store leftover salad in a container with lid in the refrigerator. It is best to eat all leftovers within 2-3 days.

Grilled Pasta Salad With Chicken And Creamy Feta Dressing

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: chicken, feta, gluten free, herbs, pasta, vegetables, yogurt
Servings: 4
Author: The Food Kooky

Equipment

  • Immersion blender
  • skewers

Ingredients

For the chicken marinade

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste I put about a ½ tsp of each
  • one chicken breast skinless and boneless

For the pasta salad

  • 5 oz dry pasta of your choice I used gluten free, brown rice fusilli
  • 1 medium sized zucchini washed ends trimmed
  • 1 medium sized onion I used red
  • 6 mini peppers or one bell pepper, wahed stem and seeds removed
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing

  • ½ cup Plain or Greek yogurt I used homemade
  • 6 oz feta cheese mine was from Costco
  • mixed fresh herbs of choice I added parsley and chives

Instructions

To make the chicken marinade

  • Start by combining the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a food-safe dish with a lid. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and stir.
  • Cut one chicken breast to bite-sized pieces. Add the meat to the marinade and mix it well until every piece is covered with marinade.
  • Cover with lid and refrigerate until you are preparing the rest of the ingredients. You can also marinate the chicken overnight.

To cook the pasta

  • Add a pot filled with water to the stove and bring it to a boil. Then add a generous pinch of salt and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. I recommend cooking until al dente (firm to the bite).
  • When the pasta is ready drain it and rinse it with cold water. 

To make the kabobs

  • Wash the zucchini and trim the ends, then peel the red onion, and remove the stems and seeds of the mini peppers.
  • Preheat a grill or a grill pan to high.
  • Cut all vegetables to bite-sized pieces. Thread them to metal skewers. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Take the chicken out or the refrigerator and thread it to skewers.
    kabobs before grilling
  • Cook the kababs for 2-3 minutes per side on the hot grill. Remove them on a plate and cool them off while you are making the dressing.
    kabobs on the grill

To prepare the dressing

  • In a jar add the yogurt, feta and the herbs. Use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients together until you have a smooth and creamy dressing.
    Taste and add seasoning if needed. My feta was salty, so I didn't add any salt.

To assemble the salad

  • In a large bowl add the cooked pasta, grilled vegetables and chicken. Then drizzle with the dressing and stir to combine.
    Ingredients of the pasta salad
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • You can serve it right away or make ahead and keep in the refrigerator until it is time to serve. Refrigerate leftover salad in an air tight, food-safe container for 2-3 days.
Grilled Pasta Salad With Chicken And Creamy Feta Dressing

Other pasta salad recipes you might like

Pasta Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing

Caprese Pasta Salad with an Easy Homemade Pesto

Greek Pasta Salad with Pantry Ingredients and Tahini Dressing



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