Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
20 Mins
Total Time:
20 Mins
Yield:
Serves 6

This pasta salad with chicken and fresh vegetables makes a quick and delicious summer dinner and an even better lunch for the next day. Get a jump on meal planning and prep this recipe a day in advance. Make and refrigerate the basil vinaigrette (shake it well before dressing the salad). Mix the tortellini, shredded rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, and corn in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve the salad, dress the tortellini mixture with the dressing, stir in arugula, and top with toasted pecans. Get in the habit of toasting nuts every time you use them; toasting adds a depth of flavor and a wonderful aroma, as well as improving the texture of nuts so they stay crisp on top of salads or baked into breads and cookies. Toast several cups of nuts at one time, store in freezer-safe containers in the freezer, then pull out the amount you need when cooking. This salad recipe works well with whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator or garden. Zucchini and yellow squash, bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and blanched snow peas are delicious dressed with the basil vinaigrette; just use your imagination. If arugula isn’t available, use baby spinach leaves, instead. Keep a bottle of the basil vinaigrette in the refrigerator this summer and, along with dressing your favorite greens use it over grilled chicken and fish.

How to Make It

Step 1

Whisk together balsamic vinegar, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a small bowl until combined. Gradually add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Stir in basil, and set aside.

Step 2

Gently toss together cooked tortellini, chicken, tomatoes, peas, corn, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Gently stir in basil vinaigrette and fold in arugula. Sprinkle with pecans.