A fresh salad perfect for spring and summer! A mix of lemon and fresh basil, seasoned chicken and tangy goat cheese.
The sun is bright, the days are longer, and the grass is finally looking like… grass! Spring is here and summer is right around the corner, and that means: salads!
This salad takes advantage of fresh lemon and basil flavors to really bring the warm-weather vibe.
The real bounty of freshly grown basil is a couple of months away for us, but hopefully you can find a fresh bundle at your market – or maybe you have some growing on your windowsill!
Asparagus is another wonderful flavor of spring, and these stalks are gently cooked just enough to give them a little tenderness while keeping their fresh green color.
The vinaigrette dressing is a blend of fresh lemon juice, sour cream and vinegar.
It brings everything together with a bright flavor that still lets the salad components shine.
And with diced chicken and a sprinkle of goat cheese, the salad is versatile – it can be a light meal, a side or your main dish.
Bring this chicken pasta salad out for your next potluck, picnic or barbecue! And wiggle your toes in that fresh, green grass!
The recipe is below, and here are a few other tasty salads, too!
This recipe is also featured in the collection, When Life Gives You Lemons, Say Yum!
Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad with Basil, Asparagus & Goat Cheese
- 12 ounces dry pasta
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 2 ¼ teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 large yellow bell peppers
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Rinse the pasta under cold water until it is completely cool. Pour the pasta into a large bowl and hold it aside.
- Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Season both sides with 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot place the chicken pieces in the pan. Cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes until there is some browning on that first side. Flip the chicken pieces over and reduce the heat to very low.
- Add in 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice over the chicken and cover the pan. Let the chicken sit in the pan over low heat for 20 minutes. The pieces should be cooked through by this time. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chicken cool. When cool enough to handle, slice the chicken into cubes and add them to the bowl with the pasta.
While the chicken cooks, prepare the veggies:
- Slice the tops and bottoms off the bell peppers and discard the tops and the seeds and membranes from inside. Slice the peppers into small pieces. Add these to the bowl with the pasta.
- Wash the asparagus and snap off the ends. If the stalks are very thick, use a vegetable peeler to peel the bottoms of the stalks.
- In a medium skillet add enough water for a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the water to a simmer and add in the asparagus. Cover the pan and steam the asparagus for 3-5 minutes until it is just tender.
- Remove the asparagus from the water and run the stalks under cold water until they are cool. Slice the asparagus into small pieces and add them to the bowl.
- Rinse and dry the basil leaves, then tear them into small pieces and add them to the bowl.
Make the dressing:
- Place the following into a jar that has a tight-fitting lid: the remaining olive oil, the remaining lemon juice, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, remaining salt and remaining pepper. Close the jar and shake the dressing vigorously to blend it.
Assemble the salad
- Pour the dressing over everything in the bowl and stir the salad together with a large spoon. All ingredients should be well mixed and coated with the dressing.
- Spoon the salad into serving bowls and top each bowl with some of the crumbled goat cheese. Serve the salad immediately.
- Leftover salad can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the goat cheese separately and add it to the salads when they are served.
- Makes about 8 cups.