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  • Megan

grilled chicken pasta salad with tahini balsamic vinaigrette

Updated: Jun 12



I celebrated the first day of summer with a morning bike around the lake and an iced coffee. I worked in the shadow of my patio umbrella for most of the day, determined to touch skin with that fresh solstice air until the sun's heat chased me inside. And around 2pm, I pulled the cover off our Weber grill, blazed a pile of charcoal, and tripled my patio's ambient heat.


Why?


This pasta salad.


Bowl of grilled chicken pasta salad with corn, feta, red peppers, and basil

This isn't a salad you toss together and slap down on the side of the main event. It's the real deal, people; chicken, corn, and red bell pepper start on the grill and end up in a bowl with penne, raw red onion, avocado, feta, and basil. It's an ensemble cast of summer's best, and it's a whopper of a meal.


Salad (feeds 2 big appetites, 3 or 4 modest)

3 or 4 chicken tenderloins

1 red bell pepper

1 cob of corn

olive oil

salt and pepper

6 to 8 ounces penne pasta

1/3 cup diced red onion

half an avocado, cubed

1/2 cup crumbled feta

handful of roughly chopped basil


Dressing (makes about 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1.5 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste


Directions

  1. Prepare your grill. Oil and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cut the red pepper into thirds and oil and season those. Soak the corn cob (husk on) in cold water for five minutes before hitting it with some oil.

  2. Grill the chicken, pepper, and corn. I look for some char along the edges and skin of the red pepper, and I want the corn husk to be toasty brown all around. Chicken should be cooked to 165°F (though I usually go by color: golden with a bit of char around the outside, white on the inside).

  3. Cook your noodles to al dente—cooked through but still firm to the bite. Don’t forget to hit your boiling pasta water with a couple four-finger pinches of salt before adding the uncooked pasta.

  4. To make the dressing, throw all the ingredients into a jar and shake it up.

  5. Slice your cooled chicken and red pepper. Cut the corn off the cob, dice the red onion, chop the basil, and prep the avocado and feta.

  6. Drain the pasta and throw it into a big bowl with all your grilled and prepped ingredients. Drizzle on the dressing, toss, and serve.



Bowl of grilled chicken pasta salad with corn, feta, red peppers, and basil


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