Chicken Asparagus Penne’ Pasta Salad

by Suzanne on April 15, 2010

With the advent of warmer weather, somehow my mind turns to food. As with every season. Have I mentioned that I love food?

Sure sign of Spring by Karissa Currie

I always imagine eating on our wonderful back porch, with a cool evening breeze and listening to the birds sing and the frogs in the pond croak. . . . *croak* . . . Maybe a even light a fire in the fire pit and singing “Kumbaya” – or is that “Jumbalaya”. Doesn’t matter. No flies, no dust, no pollen, no sounds of cars screaming by no dogs barking.

Spring Green

Well, where we live it goes from winter to summer pretty fast. We’ve had one or two evenings where the fire pit idea was perfect.


My Mountain Man and His Marshmallow

That was before the oak pollen starting raining from the heavens – like cats and dogs.

More like just dogs. No cats at our house.

Cool Hand Luke

So, we come full circle back to the food idea. Indoor dining isn’t so bad. Especially when you have something delicious, nutritious, and nicely chilled.

Chicken Asparagus Penne Pasta

A bottle of vino never hurt anything either. But I’m actually talking about pasta salad. I love it, but left pasta alone for a lot of years because my body just doesn’t like carbs. Being diabetic seemed to severely limit my pasta intake. Just the other day, though, I was reading that pasta is much better than eating even brown rice (if I find that article again I’ll post it for you).

Through my BFF Susie, I found Dreamfield’s Pastas. Lower on the glycemic index and high in fiber. You know, most of the good-for-you pastas I’ve tried before ended up tasting like cardboard. But not this one. I guess all this information gives me the green light to have a little pasta.

I love this dish. Even My Mountain Man ‘likes’ this dish. He’s really a meat and taters kinda guy. If he likes this pasta salad then hopefully you will, too. Add to that the spring asparagus season is here and you’ve got the perfect picnic and back porch settin’ food! (Pollen not included) And it is oh, so, easy!

Chicken Asparagus Penne’ Pasta Salad
1 pkg Zesty Italian Dressing Mix – Dry
1lb Chicken Tenders, grilled and seasoned with 1 Tbsp dry Zesty Italian dressing mix (save the rest of the dry mix for later). Rough chop into approx ½” pieces. (You can also sub cubed roasted chicken)
14.5 oz (1 box) Dreamfield’s Penne Pasta
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 lb. Asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1” pieces
3 cups Cherry Tomatoes (or 8 quartered small round tomatoes)
½ cup fresh, rough chopped Celery
½ cup finely chopped Onion
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Pasta Water
1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
1 small can of Sliced Black Olives
1 small jar of sliced green salad olives (1 small jar of capers could be used instead)
2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
4 Tbsp Fresh chopped Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Cracked Pepper

Cook pasta according to directions. Pour into large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later.

Saute’ garlic and asparagus in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until asparagus is tender. Add tomatoes and toss with garlic and asparagus over low heat for 2 minutes. Then add mixture to pasta.

Add all other ingredients, except for ¼ cup cheese and basil. Mix thoroughly. When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with remaining cheese and basil. Salt to taste. Garnish with whole basil leaves. You can serve this dish warm or chill before serving.

Ahhhhhhh . . . .

3 Deuce Carbed,

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

dalton, dona April 15, 2010 at 7:29 PM

I love dreamfields with the lower glycemic index, i am carb intolerant too, but this doesnt bother me, yummy receipe.


Cara April 16, 2010 at 7:46 AM

That’s a very pretty pasta dish! I eat a fairly low-carb diet too, but it is so nice to feel like you can splurge every once in a while and not do too much damage 🙂 I’ll also throw this one out there – have you tried Carba Nada pasta? If not, google it and check it out – I was amazed at the nutritional breakdown and how good it tastes!


Thru The Bugs On My Windshield April 16, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Haven’t heard of Carba nada, so I’ll have to put it on my list of things to find. Too many times my choices here are limited, but there is always the internet! Thanks for dropping by and for the new pasta suggestion!!


tastyeatsathome April 16, 2010 at 7:47 AM

This is really pretty – perfect for spring. And OMG, I think we have the same fire pit! We just bought ours in the middle of this past winter. Only used it twice. Anyway, lovely meal – and a pasta treat every now and then is warranted! (For me, it has to be gluten-free pasta, but whatever, the policy still holds.)


Gabi April 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM

I have a hard time with my child and fire in the same picture, but the pasta salad is droolworthy!


deeba April 18, 2010 at 9:59 AM

I love your pictures Suzanne. What a gorgeous looking pasta!


megan April 18, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Now there is a meal I want! looks perfect and i love the fire pit!


Mollyo May 22, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Just tried this recipe and it was wonderful. I never would have thought of adding the asparagus. I made it this morning and put in the fridge to chill. We ate around 6 and I made some garlic bread to go along with it and all was perfect. For spring/summer,this is a perfect meal. Thanks for the recipe.


Thru The Bugs On My Windshield May 22, 2010 at 8:44 PM

Thanks, Mollyo! It is definitely a favorite and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


Gabi June 7, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Munch, munch, munch… thus ith sum guud stuff… Mouth ith full now.


Katherine Martinelli November 6, 2011 at 4:27 AM

Mmmm this looks like the perfect pasta salad!! Thanks so much for linking it up at my salad blog hop 😀


Renee - Kudos Kitchen April 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Mmmmm. This is my kind of meal. What say you crack open that wine because I’m on my way over 🙂
Loved seeing all your photos too.
Fun post, good food.


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