You will love the fresh flavors in this Simple Chicken and Bell Pepper Pasta Salad! It is light and flavorful, from the fresh herbs, basil, and parsley to the roasted bell peppers and red onion! And if you are looking for the perfect dish to bring to a picnic or backyard BBQ, this is it!
A simple pasta salad with chicken is a great way to enjoy pasta by adding a light, flavorful vinaigrette instead of a marinara or creamy sauce. And you can enjoy this cold or immediately once prepared. It tastes great both ways!
Keep reading to learn how to make Chicken and Bell Pepper Pasta Salad! And if you are interested in finding more healthy foods, here are 15 Simple Clean Eating Snacks to Add to Your Day!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken breast – or you can use chicken thighs.
- Bell peppers – using both red and green bell peppers add more color to this pasta salad. Roasting the peppers gives them a soft, tender texture and delicious flavor.
- Red onion – adds a pop of flavor and color!
- Basil – the taste and smell of fresh basil are excellent, and I love it in salads and pasta dishes.
- Parsley – Italian or flat-leaf parsley adds a delicious fresh taste.
- Pasta – Penne pasta works well in this pasta salad because it holds the flavors nicely. You can also use rotini or bowtie pasta. Feel free to substitute your favorite pasta or gluten-free pasta.
- Red Wine Vinegar – Vinegar adds a bold taste and is low in calories.
- Extra virgin olive oil gives it the best flavor and balances the red wine vinegar.
Step by Step Instructions
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then while the oven is preheating, boil the water to cook the pasta. Next, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
Second, slice red and green bell peppers and then toss with one tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add peppers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, spreading evenly. Then add salt and pepper to the chicken breast. Cut chicken breast in half or quarters if it is a large piece so that it cooks more quickly. Add to the same baking sheet next to peppers or a separate sheet if you use smaller baking sheets.
When the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain into a colander, and then rinse with cold water. Then set aside.
Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and the bell peppers are tender. After 2 minutes, chop or shred the chicken into small bite-sized pieces once the chicken has cooled off.
Next, combine pasta, chicken, red onion, basil, parsley, and bell pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently.
Add two tablespoons of olive oil, red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of cold water, salt, black pepper, and one clove of chopped garlic to a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until mixed thoroughly, or shake in a mason jar. Drizzle over the pasta mixture. Toss gently to coat.
Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Add some grated parmesan, fresh mozzarella, crumbled feta, or goat cheese for extra flavor.
How to cut bell pepper for pasta salad
For this pasta salad recipe, thinly cutting the bell pepper allows them to roast in the oven more quickly. In addition, slicing the peppers thinly makes them tender and gives them a delicious flavor.
Can pasta salad be made ahead of time?
Pasta salad can be made ahead of time, depending on the ingredients. For example, if you are adding vegetables with higher water content, such as cucumbers or tomatoes, I recommend adding them right before serving, so they don’t get soggy.
For this chicken with bell peppers pasta salad, you can make it in advance; keep it refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to serve. Preferably make it the day of or the day before you plan to serve it.
Do you cook peppers for pasta salad?
In this recipe for chicken and bell pepper pasta salad, the peppers are cooked by roasting in the oven, but in general, you can add raw peppers to pasta salad. However, roasting the bell peppers changes the flavor because of the caramelization of the natural sugars, giving them a lightly sweet taste.
Chicken breast has been a popular choice for a healthy diet for a long time. Why? Well, it is an excellent source of protein, with 24 grams of protein in a 3-ounce cooked portion. The high protein content helps to maintain or build muscle. It also helps to keep you full longer, which can promote weight loss.
Chicken breast is also low in fat, with only 3 grams of fat in 3 ounces. And it has a variety of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, vitamin B6, B12, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium! These are some reasons why chicken breast is an excellent option for a healthy diet.
This recipe uses green and red bell peppers, but you can use any combination of red, green, yellow, or orange! Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A and C, providing 47% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A and 159% of vitamin C.
Fresh basil smells and tastes delicious and is common in Mediterranean, Indian, Asian, and African cuisines. There are other varieties than only sweet basil, such as lemon, cinnamon, and Thai basil.
And basil doesn’t just taste delicious; it also has nutritional benefits! Basil has antioxidants and antibacterial properties. It also has 27% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin K, which helps produce blood clots. Basil also has vitamin A, manganese, and magnesium!
Red wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar provides excellent flavor to any salad and goes well with this pasta salad. It is also commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine and has only six calories in 100 grams. And red wine vinegar has health benefits! One study has shown that it helps lower blood sugar levels when consumed daily, while other studies show it helps reduce blood sugar spikes and improves insulin sensitivity.
Store this pasta salad for up to 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. And you may want to add a dash of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil since the pasta can absorb some of the vinaigrette.
- Time-saving tip: use rotisserie chicken and a jar of roasted red peppers!
- Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper to make clean-up easier!
- You can use any pasta shape; penne or rotini-shaped pasta work well for this recipe.
- If you are like me and love cheese, you can add some grated parmesan, fresh mozzarella, crumbled feta, or goat cheese.
- Or you can add sun-dried tomatoes for an extra pop of flavor!
Be sure to take pictures of your Chicken and Bell Pepper Pasta Salad masterpiece and tag @noshnourishwander on Instagram if you make this recipe! Also, pin this recipe to Pinterest!
Be sure to leave a rating and comment! And what are some of your favorite ingredients to add to pasta salad? Leave your answers in the comments below!
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
More Recipe Ideas!
- How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
- Amazing Italian Sausage Soup with Vegetables
- Quick Mediterranean Wrap with Chicken and Red Bell Peppers
- Chicken Avocado Sandwich with Sourdough Bread
Simple Chicken and Bell Pepper Pasta Salad
- Baking sheet
- 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 1 red bell pepper sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 green bell pepper sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 lb chicken breast, raw
- ½ cup sliced red onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp cold water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- grated parmesan cheese, crumbled feta or goat cheese, or fresh mozzarella optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then while the oven is preheating, boil the water to cook the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the direction on the package.
- Second, slice the red and green bell peppers and then toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add peppers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, spreading evenly. Then add salt and pepper to the chicken breast. Cut chicken breast in half or into quarters if it is a large breast so that it cooks through quicker. Add to the same baking sheet next to the peppers or to a separate sheet if you are using smaller baking sheets.
- When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain into a colander, and then rinse with cold water. Then set aside.
- Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and the bell peppers are tender. Shred or chop the chicken into small bite sized pieces after 2 minutes once it has cooled off.
- Combine the pasta, chicken, red onion, basil, parsley, and bell pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently.
- In a small bowl or mason jar, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of cold water, salt, black pepper, and 1 clove of chopped garlic. Stir with a whisk or shake in a mason jar until mixed thorougly.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over the pasta mixture. Toss gently to coat. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Add some grated parmesan, fresh mozzerella, crumbled feta, or goat cheese for extra flavor.
- Time-saving tip: if you do not have time to cook, use rotisserie chicken and a jar of roasted red peppers!
- Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil to make clean up easier!
- You can use any shape of pasta such as penne or rotini.
- If you love cheese, you can add some grated or shredded parmesan, fresh mozzarella, crumbled feta, or goat cheese.
- Or you can add sun-dried tomatoes for an extra pop of flavor!
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