Rachelle Nielson, from Cinnamon and Coconut, came by to show us how to make a tasty Chicken Pasta Salad with a southwest flair.

Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad
Adapted from “Iowa Girl Eats” and “Our Best Bites”

Pasta Ingredients:
-1 lb. penne or bowtie pasta, cooked according to directions and cooled
-1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Chicken Ingredients:
-2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. cumin
-1/4 tsp. onion powder
-1/4 tsp. dried oregano

Pasta & Chicken Directions:

  1. Mix the seasonings in a small bowl and set them aside. Place chicken pieces in a separate bowl and combine with olive oil. Pour in seasoning mix and stir until chicken is well coated.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat and cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side until no longer pink. Set aside and let cool.

Dressing Ingredients:
6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 3 small, juicy limes)
1/4 cup white wine or rice vinegar
3 tsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Dressing Directions:

  1. For the dressing: Process lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and sugar in a blender until smooth. With the blender running at slow speed, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated. Turn off the blender and add cilantro. Pulse 5-6 times so cilantro gets broken up but some pieces remain intact.
  2. For the pasta salad: Place cooled, cooked, drained pasta in a large salad bowl. Add beans and cooked chicken. Toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. For best results, chill 1 hour before serving. Right before serving, mix feta cheese into the pasta.

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