July was one hot month for us here in Texas. We had so many days of 100 degree temps. The last thing I wanted to was turn on the oven to cook. Fortunately we’ve had a tiny bit of a break lately. Temps have been running in the upper eighties to mid-nineties, which is awesome for August in Texas.
The heat of Summer is exactly why meals like this are so great. You do have to turn the stove on to cook the pasta and chicken, but that’s not too bad. You could even just skip cooking the chicken and buy pre-cooked chicken at the store and cube it up. I do that sometimes to save time. Confession: I occasionally buy the pre-cooked chicken breast at Trader Joe’s. They are surprisingly really tender, not dry and taste good. The All Natural one that only has a few ingredients and nothing bad. Their “just chicken” ones aren’t just chicken. Precisely why you have to read the labels at the grocery store and not just the front of the package.
If you prefer a macaroni salad without a super heavy dressing, then this is the recipe for you. The dressing is light and creamy. Perfect for Summer! I’ve used olive oil, vinegar and yogurt to create a lighter dressing for this Chicken Macaroni Salad. That’s right! No mayo used at all. Not that I’m opposed to it, I just know that some people aren’t big fans of the stuff.
It’s got your protein, carbs and healthy fat right there all in one dish! This will serve 4 to 5 people, depending on how hungry you are. Obviously, this will transport well. Which means you could take it with you to work for lunch or even pack it for school lunches. If your kids won’t touch zucchini, you can leave that out if you want.
Featuring a light and creamy dressing, this Chicken Macaroni Salad makes for one tasty lunch dish. Transports well, so it's also great for work or school lunches.
- 3 cups elbow macaroni noodles (use gluten-free noodles for GF--> recommended : Jovial Foods brand)
- 2-1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
- 2 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1 (10 oz) container cherry tomatoes
- 1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise, and sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
- 3 cups cooked and cubed chicken
Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add salt, then pasta and cook, according to package directions, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
While the pasta cooks, make the dressing. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, yogurt, dried dill, garlic powder, salt, celery seed and scallions. Let that sit while the pasta is cooking to give the flavors time to marry.
Add the pasta, chicken, tomatoes and zucchini to the bowl and gently toss to combine. Check seasoning and add salt if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours, then serve.