Chilled, healthy, light, Mediterranean, this pasta salad with wholemeal farfalle, Greek yoghurt and chicken can be a one-dish meal or a passe-partout bowl, or an introduction for a barbecue in a casual diner. It is light if you want to skip the calories for the sake of summer, but also be willing to experiment with a variety of seasonal veggies.
That’s a dish dedicated to those whose diet also becomes a challenge to be inventive and creative within specific limits.
Just back from a trip to the land of pasta, Italy, where the delicious food was abundant, with the expectation of taste being as high and prosperous as military morale. The temperatures are warmer in the homeland. The Greek summer is magical. It does not suit to overwork and move around in the city, but goes hand in hand with the food of the southern European kitchens, fits in the open-hearted tables with friends, amidst the simple goodies seeking carelessness.
We got the whole grain farfalle – Farfalle Integrale Barilla and some everyday ingredients. The butterflies (=farfalle) belong to the flexible short pasta. Their small shape, with the characteristic pinch in the middle of the wings, highlights both the fresh elaborated sauces and the more classic ones.
In the recipe, we combined the farfalle with yoghurt, roast chicken, parsley, mint and parmesan. We added a little extra virgin olive oil, a hint of acidity – from the lemon – and something crunchy for extra texture – almonds. Something old, new and blue, the flower on the towel, next to the white tableware appeared on the table. The pasta salad with farfalle, Greek yoghurt and chicken can include more ingredients – it does not need them, though.
Do you want to enrich it?
If you like your pasta salad bold and beautiful, do it. You may add:
- avocado in pieces
- capers (desalted)
- cherry tomatoes whole or cut in 2
- cucumbers (deseeded)
- fresh zucchini coarsely chopped
- fennel bulbs finely chopped (in mandolin)
- spring onion
- chilly peppers, cayenne or hot paprika for the spiced versions
In this recipe, the pasta salad is kept simple and fresh. It is especially fragrant if you add mint and parsley. Also, fast to prepare (20 minutes) and ideal to be served straight from the fridge in hot days of summer.
Note that garlic can either lend a subtle aroma to the dish, indistinct at last if you add it whole to the chicken cooking and then remove it. Or to make its presence bolder, if you put it smashed. Choose on your taste.
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Pasta salad with farfalle, Greek yoghurt and chicken
Preparation: 5-7 minutes plus 13 minutes for cooking-completion. 20 minutes in total or less, if the chicken is ready-cooked. The meat pieces should first come to room temperature – not be frozen. Cut the chicken into small pieces, about 2.5-3 cm long, so that they are about the same size as the farfalle and cook quickly – the chicken cannot be eaten half-cooked. You can make the pasta salad earlier and put it in the fridge, covered with cling. Easy and quick recipe.
Ingredients (for 4-5 people)
400 gr. Farfalle Integrale Barilla
500 gr. chicken breast or leg fillets or ready roasted chicken
1 yoghurt (220 gr.) – any fat you like
2 tbs lemon juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
2 + 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
100 ml dry white wine
1-2 cloves garlic, whole or smashed – see the note above
1/4 cup (3 tbs) grated parmesan
1/2 small bunch parsley or chopped mint or a mixture of the two (approx. 1/2 cup)
1 red bell pepper or 1 Greek Florina pepper cut into small cubes
3-4 tbsp filleted almonds
salt, freshly ground pepper
Preparing the pasta: Bring the water to a boil. When boiling, add salt (2 tbsp) and the Farfalle Integrale Barilla. Boil the pasta al dente according to the indicated time: 10 minutes. Strain keeping 1/2 cup from the starchy water the pasta boiled. Transfer to a bowl, add the 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil and stir.
To prepare the chicken (while the pasta is boiling): Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and add 2 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper.
Put a wide pan over high heat, until it almost shows that it will start smoking (about 30″ -1 minute for gas or a little more, depending on your stove). Add the chicken pieces and garlic, whole or smashed depending on the desired intensity. The chicken pieces will almost immediately turn brown due to the high temperature.
In about half a minute, start turning them. Stir for 1 minute to sauté. Pour the wine and let it evaporate (1.5 minutes). Cook, stirring, for another 1.5 minutes (high heat) and remove – so far, about 5.5-6 minutes. Allow cooling.
Note: If you have ready-cooked chicken, just cut it into bites.
Finishing – serving: Add to the pasta bowl all the other ingredients: yoghurt, parmesan, lemon (juice and zest), parsley and/or mint, chicken, pepper. Stir. Try the seasoning and lemon to meet personal preferences. If the pasta needs extra moisture, add a little bit of the water you have kept.
Transfer the pasta salad with farfalle, yoghurt and chicken to a clean serving bowl adding the filleted almonds and a few parsley leaves or chopped chives. You can leave it in the fridge to chill or serve it right away.