This wonderful pasta salad combines fresh farmland vegetables along with wonderful flavors of the Mediterranean. My Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Chicken and Roasted Veggies uses two ingredients that may be new to you - Zaatar and Sumac - both of which are used widely in Eastern Europe and are available in Middle Eastern markets.
Zaatar contains a combination of wonderful herbs and spices - some of which include (but not limited to) thyme, sesame seeds, oregano and marjoram. Sumac has a wonderful lemony and tangy flavor that is not only great on veggies, but also chicken. There are two recipe links below for using zaatar and sumac for you to try also.
You may substitute other veggies if you wish in this recipe - roasted eggplant would be a great addition or substitute here, keeping the Mediterranean theme. I hope you try this recipe. It' full of wonderful flavors and the grilled balsamic chicken makes this pasta salad a wonderful cold option for lunch or dinner.
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Breasts
3 large boneless chicken breasts, split lengthways
Salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup dark balsamic vinegar
Mediterranean Roasted Veggies
2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias (diagonal)
1 large zucchini (courgettes) halved lengthways and cut into 1" half moons
1 large yellow squash (banana squash) halved lengthways and cut into 1" half moons
1 medium sweet onion, halved, sliced into 1" strips
1/3 cup olive oil
1 heaped tbsp. Zaatar
2 tsp. Sumac
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 lb. dried pasta shells (Conchiglie)
White balsamic vinaigrette (approximately 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
1. Combine the split chicken breasts, a little olive oil to coat, salt, pepper and vinegar. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or longer. Then, preheat an indoor or outdoor grill on high. Grill the chicken on both sides (approximately 3 - 4 minutes per side.) Check for doneness. Cool and chill in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl place all of the vegetables and coat them with the olive oil. Next, add the zaatar, sumac, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Layer the veggies on a foil lined, shallow baking sheet in a single layer that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (such as Pam.) Roast until the vegetables become firm tender, approximately 30 to 40 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Cool and chill.
3. Cook the dried pasta according to the package directions until al-dente (firm to the bite.) Drain and immediately spray or rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and chill.
4. When all of the ingredients are nice and cold, slice the chicken into strips and combine the veggies and pasta in a large bowl along with as much of the vinaigrette as you would like. I used between the amount stated in the recipe. Sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper if desired. Enjoy.