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Spiral pasta with feta cheese and cucumbers and tomatoes

A Refreshing and filling summer meal that is perfect for summer lunches on the patio. Its colorful medley of vegetables and tangy lemon garlic dressing will appeal to even the pickiest eaters.

 

Yield
6 Servings
Preparation time
40 minutes
Cooking time
20 minutes
Total time
1 hour
Ingredients
1 lemon (for dressing)
¼ C olive oil (for dressing)
3 clv garlic (for dressing)
½ Tbsp dried oregano (for dressing)
½ tsp salt (for dressing)
pepper (freshly cracked, for dressing)
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 oz dry pasta (any shape, whole wheat preferred)
1 bell pepper (any color)
½ C grape tomatoes
½ cucumber ( equal to 1/2 cup diced)
1 bn parsley
¼ C crumbled feta cheese
Instructions

Use a zester or small-holed cheese grater to remove the zest from the lemon. Set the zest aside. Squeeze the juice from
the lemon into a separate bowl.

1. Prepare the dressing by mincing two cloves of garlic and combine them with lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, some freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of the lemon zest. Whisk these ingredients until well combined.


2. Place the chicken thighs in a small zip lock bag and add half of the dressing, saving the rest to add to the salad later. Mince one more clove of garlic and add it to the bag with the chicken and marinade. Squeeze the air out and massage the bag to make sure the thighs are well coated in the marinade. Refrigerate the thighs for at least 30 minutes.


3. While the chicken is marinating, cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and let cool.

4. Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Once hot, add the marinated chicken thighs and cook on each side until they are well
browned and cooked through (about 5-10 minutes each side). There should be enough oil in the marinade to keep the meat from sticking. Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and let it rest for about five minutes. Once slightly cooled, chop the chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces.

5. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of the vegetables: Dice the cucumber and bell pepper. Slice the tomatoes in half (or dice if using Roma or regular tomatoes). Pull the parsley leaves from the stems and give them a rough chop. Finally, build the salad. Add the cooked and cooled pasta to a large bowl. Top the pasta with the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, parsley, and chopped chicken. Crumble the feta over top and add a pinch or two of the lemon zest. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

6. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.