Kick start summer with this gorgeous Caprese Pasta Salad with Asparagus and Pan Fried Chicken–it’s so simple to throw together and makes a perfect summer meal for a crowd or for the family!
You guys! It legit feels like summer in Michigan this week! And since our oven broke, we basically are subsisting on variations of this salad and we have zero regrets. Because caprese and pasta just go hand in hand, right?
This lovely version of Caprese Pasta Salad is a riff on one of our long time favorites of yore, the Summer Bliss Bowl. I consider this one a slightly more grown up version of the Bliss Bowl, mostly because we plopped some pan fried chicken on top.
Poolside Felix is maybe my new favorite Felix. He scarfed mega bowls of this Caprese Pasta Salad, which delighted me to no end.
Especially since asparagus was involved. And he ate every last bit of the stalks. I mean, you really can’t go wrong if you douse things in pesto.
Or pan fried chicken. Because guys, I’m in lurv. Because, if you are a carnivore like myself, it is near impossible to resist the siren call of a perfectly cooked chicken
And pan frying is my favorite [insert ode to Pan Fried Goat Cheese right about here]–guys, I’ve been doing it all wrong for years so when I finally learned how to “properly” pan fry a steak (in a super hot pan, constantly turning, which goes against all conventional wisdom but somehow creates a work of meat-y art), I immediately transferred the skill to all pan fried meats.
It works a number on chicken and you will be a happy camper.
We [sheepishly hangs head] still do not own a grill but we are making do somehow with a bit of butter, a scorching hot pan, and meat. It doesn’t quite have that grilled flavor, but man it’s good. Still, if you have a grill, toss some chicken on it and add that to this salad.
It really will be the star of your next BBQ!
And while this Caprese Pasta Salad is good any time of year, with or without a grill, I still would nominate it for a Best Side Dish (or main dish!) award if people gave those away at BBQs.
Which they absolutely should!
Also, Florida in May = great idea. Hot but not oppressive, uncrowded beaches, and loads of sunshine to chase away the Michigan doldrums.
We heartily approved (except for Felix, who hated the ocean as much as he once hated baths, which is to say: a lot).
P.S. I live in infinite gratitude for my sister moving to Orlando! It makes winters (and springs, evidently) all the better!
P.P.S. What are you guys up to for Memorial Day? We’re going to a lake and hopefully it won’t freak Felix out quite as much as the waves did in Boca! (And I cannot get over his tiny arm slung over Warren’s shoulder! He’s becoming such a little dude–it’s hard to believe he’ll be one in July!)
Caprese Pasta Salad With Asparagus And Pan Fried Chicken
- 0.5 pound cavatappi pasta (or other corkscrew pasta)
- 2 cups asparagus, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 chicken breasts sliced lengthwise to create four pieces
- salt and pepper to taste + favorite herbs (like 21 Seasoning Salute)
- olive oil for pan frying chicken
- 1 cup pesto, your favorite homemade or store bought
- 7-8 7-8 sun dried tomatoes sliced thinly if packed in oil 1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
- Cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparagus for the last 2 minutes; drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, pan fry chicken. To do so, sprinkle both sides of chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs (we use 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s).
- Heat nonstick skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through and thoroughly browned. Set aside chicken to rest while you assemble the rest of the salad.
- Toss cooked pasta and asparagus with pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and mozzarella. Top with chicken, either sliced or cubed. Serve warm or cold!