Chicken and Grape Pasta Salad

When I say chicken pasta salad, you think of something mayo-based and greasy, right? Try to imagine a chicken pasta salad that is the polar opposite of that and you'd probably be thinking of something very similar to the recipe I'm sharing today. Based on a Cooking Light recipe, it is fresh, light, and deceptively tasty for something so low in fat. It's one of my favorite lunches, but unfortunately it's rare that enough is left over for me to bring as a lunch the next day. Someday I'm going to make a big batch just for myself and selfishly horde it away. And you know what? I won't even feel guilty about it because it's so light and healthy.

You start out with about 8 oz (or 3 cups) farfalle pasta. You may have noticed that farfalle pasta is the shape of choice in our household. I don't have much of a preference one way or the other in a pasta salad, but I know my husband thinks those little bow ties are adorable. If I made the same recipe with a different shape pasta, he might not eat as much. This information may come in handy in the future if he needs to diet, but since right now I have to do everything I can to encourage him to eat we're sticking with farfalle for everything pasta in this house. Boil this up according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, prep the dressing for the salad. See the orange juice and lemon juice? Now do you know what I mean about light and fresh tasting? Mmm.

Also while the pasta is boiling, chop the rest of the ingredients. You've got a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley . . .

 . . . some red grapes . . .

 . . . some pecans (the recipe originally calls for walnuts, which would be good too if you like walnuts.). . .

. . . and green onions. Add these to the dressing with the cooked (and cooled) pasta and stir it up.

I find that this recipe tastes best after sitting for at least a few hours. Overnight is even better.

 You may or many not notice - there is no chicken in these finished pasta salad pictures. That's because I finished the salad, took pictures, cleaned up the kitchen and then saw that the shredded chicken was still in the fridge waiting to be added. Ooops. Please imagine chunks of chicken in this bowl with the rest of the salad.

Chicken and Grape Pasta Salad

8 oz (about 3 cups) uncooked farfalle pasta
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T stone ground mustard
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
3 green onions, chopped (including white parts; about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 T chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook pasta according to package directions and cool completely.
2. Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Add in the chicken, grapes, green onions, pecans, cooled pasta and parsley. Stir to combine.

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