Don’t you just love a good pasta salad? They just seem so summery to me. Whether as a light side with dinner, or as a lunch. My favorite though are the heartier versions where I can dump everything in, give it a good solid stir, and after it’s cold… voila! Dinner is served. Pasta salad literally provides endless possibilities for new flavor combinations and ingredients. It makes me so happy, like kid on Christmas morning happy. This particular pasta is one of my personal favorites. It also happens to include one of our favorite ways to season/prepare chicken. It’s so simple too!
Generously season your chicken breasts with taco or fajita seasoning, and then bake them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cooked through. While having some on hand does give me an extra excuse to whip up one of our favorite pasta salads, we just genuinely like it that much. I love to dice it up and toss it in with some lettuce to make a nice hearty salad. The hubs uses it to make his own little protein packs to take to work. For the pasta salad though, you can make it all at once, or cook your chicken as much as a couple days ahead of time and have it ready to go.
Seriously, just look at those juicy slices of perfectly cooked chicken.
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Eat your colors’? Fresh ingredients can be so vibrant, and I’m really starting to notice the burst of intense, natural flavor they add to our meals. My favorite chicken, vine-ripened tomatoes, bacon, and a Mexican blend of cheeses over a bed of pasta. Oh the intensity! They all combine beautifully with just a tiny bit of help from the special sauce.
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the recipe!
Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad
recipe adapted from Recipes for our Daily Bread
3 chicken breasts, seasoned with taco or fajita seasoning
1/2 pound of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
12 oz package of spiral pasta
1/2 cup Ranch dressing (not dry mix)
1/2 cup salsa, regular NOT a fruity blend
1 teaspoon taco or fajita seasoning
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, or cheddar cheese
1. Generously season the chicken with either taco or fajita seasoning and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through, at 350 degrees.
2. Allow the cooked chicken to cool slightly and then dice.
3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Set aside to cool.
4. Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Allow grease to drain by putting the cooked bacon on some paper towels and when cool, crumble it.
5. Chop the tomato.
6. In a a large bowl combine all ingredients, stirring to mix everything together.
That’s it! Told ya, simple. While it’s great straight away, it tastes best when allowed to chill. It’s just as good if made the night before and left to refrigerate overnight.
This recipe was taken over to Fiesta Friday # 24 which is hosted every Friday by Angie on The Novice Gardener.
Southwestern Pasta salad?! Love the idea! Yummy!
Thanks, Lori! I did too and it was an absolute hit. It’s become a summer time tradition around here (not that that stops me from making it any other time of year though).
That’s fun that it has become a summer (and sometimes the rest of the year) tradition! 🙂 That’s when you know its good! 🙂
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Yummy yummy pasta salad. I am craving your salad now. And its midnight here. Soo good!
Sadia, you won’t be disappointed regardless of the time of day you make it. If I had to pick a midnight snack, this would be it. I can’t confirm or deny that leftovers haven’t been used as such before.
This is a great summer meal. Thanks for bringing it along to Fiesta Friday.
Hi there – I am one of the co-hosts this week, of Fiesta Friday. Thank you so much for bringing this delicious summery pasta salad with you – cooking off a lot of chicken breasts to have as standby is a really good tip. On another note, I noticed that you have not included a link to Angies post on FF#24 – please would you edit your post to include it so that you can be considered for a feature next week. Thanks for sharing this recipe and Happy Fiesta Friday!
Hi there, Selma! I believe the link is the ping back under Lori’s last comment. Angie linked it herself. Was that what you’re looking for or was it something else? If it is something else let me know so I can correct it. Thanks!
Hi Lovely – in your post you should say something like you are taking this over to the Fiesta Friday #24 party, hosted by Angie and then link Fiesta Friday #24 bit to Angie’s blog post so that your readers who may not know about the party can take a look and see what’s going on and hopefully join in too – the more the merrier right? Take a look at some of my FF posts to see what I mean xx
Done Selma 🙂
Brilliant, Thank you! Hope you are having a lovely day 🙂
Your Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing with Foods of The World as we visit Greece.
This looks really yummy! Can’t wait to give this recipe a try. I made a super yummy Greek pasta salad. I have the recipe posted on my blog, if you’d like to check it out: http://sweetseatstreats.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/easy-greek-pasta-salad/
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