Even though we have a garden, our family still loves to visit our local farmers market to see what new and different items we can find. On these trips my eldest boy will head straight for the mushroom table, while my youngest will find the free cantaloupe and watermelon samples. My husband will go in search of greens and I will look for something for an easy summer supper. There is nothing quite like a busy market to inspire my love for community and seasonal cooking. I love to visit with the merchants, nab some flowers for our kitchen table and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the whole scene. I see dads pushing strollers with red-cheeked sleeping babies, friendly puppies on leashes greeting everyone they meet, grandmothers in their running gear, and couples holding hands as they taste test cheese samples. I hear troubadours play for pennies, while the older farmers give their weather predictions for the remainder of the season, and peals of laughter rise from a group of old friends reuniting at the coffee stand. The whole pavilion is a beautiful and diverse slice of life and I can’t help but revel in it while I hunt for inspiration for our dinner table.
One dish that I can always find some fresh ingredient’s for at our market is what I call Chicken Pasta Salad Salad. This is a super simple one-dish meal that can be made using leftover Grass Roots chicken, and veggies from your garden or the market. The dish is both filling and light, and is a great meal to eat on your porch after a fulfilling day of working outdoors.
Preparation Time – 30 minutes or less
- 1 ½ cups shredded roasted chicken (I prefer white meat for this dish)
- 1 box spiral pasta, cooked
- 1 cup fresh Swiss chard lettuce
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 cup fresh kale (or romaine for a less bold taste)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 boiled eggs, chopped
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Boil your pasta and eggs.
- While your pasta and eggs are boiling, shred your cooked chicken and add to large mixing or serving bowl.
- Wash, dry, and chop your lettuces, tomatoes, and onion. Add to bowl with chicken.
- Once your pasta is boiled, remove from heat, strain, and set aside (to keep it from being too sticky add a ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the pasta and stir).
- Peel, rinse and dice eggs. Add to chicken and vegetable mixture.
- Add mayonnaise, lemon juice and spices to mixture but do not stir yet.
- While pasta is still warm, add it on top of dressings.*
- Mix all ingredients together well until the mayonnaise has melted.
- Take a test bite.
- Add more mayonnaise and seasonings if needed. You want the salad to be well coated with the dressing but not dripping with it.
- Serve warm or chilled.**
*The hot pasta will wilt your lettuces a bit, which is normal and still very yummy!
** If you choose to serve it chilled you made need to add a touch more mayonnaise and lemon juice right before plating. The pasta will soak up the dressing and leave the salad a tad dry if refrigerated too long.