Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad

A fully loaded cold Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad is sensational for a summer lunch, picnic, BBQ, etc. The pasta salad contains red pepper, shallot, olives, and feta but no mayonnaise; simple olive oil with thyme will give this meal all its flavour.

Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad

This Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad is the ultimate! I’ve eaten it since I was a kid; each time I went to my friend’s place, I would ask her mom kindly if she could make this sensational pasta salad. The original recipe got slightly modified over the years; she didn’t add the olives and would use Italian herbs. I use fresh thyme, but I could also use fresh basil. The secret of this recipe is to let the salad rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before eating it. This way, all the aromatics get time to merge and make their magic. There is no mayonnaise involved here, just extra-virgin olive oil.

A Fully Loaded Pasta Salad

Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad

This Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad is appealing to the eyes with all its colours and flavours. Kids love to dig their favourites first, which, in our case, the olives go in first. My kids love them! The feta cheese plays a bit the role of the salt and sauce. It’s crumbled, so you get a smooth, salty cheese at every bite. The veggies are all cooked rapidly in olive oil to keep their nutritional value, crunch and bright colour. Chicken is cooked with fresh thyme, and the whole salad is covered in fresh olive oil to give it this Mediterranean flair.

Tricks to Choose Olive Oil

olive oil
Image by Silke from Pixabay

Here are tricks to choose the ultimate high-quality olive oil.

  • Look for a dark glass bottle or metal cans. Olive oil loses a lot with the light and heat, so avoid clear bottles, mainly plastic ones.
  • A good olive has a ‘best before’ date on its bottle; if it does not tell you the date it was made or is ‘best before,’ it’s probably old and tasteless. You can cook with old olive oil, but we want it to taste good here.
  • Choose an extra-virgin olive oil; a simply virgin one is made to be cooked with.
  • If you are lucky enough to find blurry-looking or unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil (the freshest ones are coming out in the fall), grab all the bottles possible! These taste simply divine—they still have minuscule bits of olive or pulp floating around, giving this golden oil a lovely enhanced flavour. You can keep them for six months, but then you’ll need to filter them with a coffee filter to collect the deposit before it changes the taste of the oil.
  • Go small! Often, the main big generic companies mix olive oil with other cheaper types of oil.
  • If it tells you the type of olive used to produce the oil, it’s a good sign and stick to Mediterranean countries: Italy, Greece, Spain, and France.

Variations

The base of this pasta salad is broccoli, chicken, and feta; you can adjust the rest to your liking. For example, when I feel fancy, I add pine nut seeds for more crunch or fresh scallion instead of shallots. I wouldn’t recommend acidic vinegar, lemon, or lime juice, but the zest would do magic here to give it a fresher touch. Also, feel free to choose any fun-formed pasta. We like farfalle, but it could be penne, fusilli, or any other.

Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad

Serving

Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad must be served cold. Before digging into this succulent Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad, I like to add a fresh drizzle of my best extra-virgin olive oil!

Storage

To store the pasta salad, simply cover it with plastic wrap, airtight, to prevent the pasta from drying out. When I make this dish for everyday dinner, I simply use the pot I used to boil the pasta and cover it with the lid. This way, you can keep the pasta salad in the fridge for up to three days.

Other Fun Pasta Salads

BRoco and chicken pasta salad-1

Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad

A colourful and filled with veggies Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad is great for any occasion. A mix of broccoli, thyme flavored chicken, shallots, feta cheese, red pepper and olives drizzled in extra-virgin olive oil on a bed of farfadelle, the ultimate pasta salad!
5 from 41 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: World
Keyword: broccoli, chicken, cold, farfadelle, feta, hot pepper, no mayo, olive oil, olives, pasta salad, side dish, summer, thyme, wok
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 631kcal
Author: Marie Breton

Ingredients

  • 500 g Farfalle pasta or any fun shape of pasta
  • 2 chicken breast cut into small cubes.
  • 150 g Feta cheese
  • 1 broccoli Cut into small florets
  • 1 red pepper Cut into small cubes
  • 3 shallots or 1 onion finely sliced
  • 15 Kalamata olives Pitted
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme or Italian spices
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Start by cutting all the ingredients.
  • In a big pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta of your choice until al dente.
  • In a wok, cook the chicken and thyme at medium-high heat in olive oil for 5 minutes or until cooked. Add to the pasta.
  • Cook the broccoli and shallots in the wok for 3-4 minutes until al dente.
  • Then, again with the red pepper, but these very shortly.
  • Add all the ingredients to the pasta; crumble the feta cheese on top, add the olives, olive oil, extra thyme, salt and pepper mix and cover. Let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Video

Notes

Serve cold with a last drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Use a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. 
Keep your pasta al dente and bouncy by rinsing it under cold water once cooked.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 631kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 570mg | Potassium: 903mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1533IU | Vitamin C: 121mg | Calcium: 213mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition Facts
Broccoli and Chicken Pasta Salad
Amount per Serving
Calories
631
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
22
g
34
%
Saturated Fat
 
6
g
38
%
Trans Fat
 
0.01
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
12
g
Cholesterol
 
70
mg
23
%
Sodium
 
570
mg
25
%
Potassium
 
903
mg
26
%
Carbohydrates
 
74
g
25
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
34
g
68
%
Vitamin A
 
1533
IU
31
%
Vitamin C
 
121
mg
147
%
Calcium
 
213
mg
21
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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