Smoked Mozzerella, Chicken, Spinach and Penne Salad

 

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I’ve been on a carb kick lately for some reason.  Usually when I see recipes with some sort of pasta I tend to shy away from them not because I’m a low carb guru, but because of the refined white flours and sugars in the pasta itself.

We are still experimenting with whole wheat pasta.  It’s just not an easy transition for us.  But we’re working on it.

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I found this recipe over at Mel’s Kitchen Café. I’ve been making a lot of her recipes lately. They all seem to come out so good!   And this one has all ingredients I love!  It had penne pasta, some red peppers, spinach … yum!

Mel’s original recipe is just the penne, spinach and peppers.  I made the recipe as she wrote it and it was very good.  It was light and great for a summer salad.

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If you like smoked cheese you will like this.  There is just something about the smokiness along with the sweetness of the red pepper that goes so well together.

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I love the salad as it is, but I wanted to add a little more substance to it to make it for dinner.  (I try to incorporate protein in every meal.  Just eating the penne alone would leave me hungry in an hour.)

  • So I decided to add some chicken to it…..
  • then took it further and added a few cooked slices of bacon (just a little… you don’t need to add a lb of bacon to just add the flavor).
  • then I went even further again and added sun-dried tomatoes.  Try and find the ones that are not packed in oil.  They can be found in the produce section usually.

And voila!  I had a HUGE dinner that had some protein, veggie and a starch all in one!

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I had a hard time finding smoked mozzarella, but there are so many other smoked cheeses you can use.  I chose a smoked gouda and it was great.   I’m sure the smoked mozzarella would be amazing too~!

Also, watch the amount of bacon vs cheese ratio.  The smokiness of the bacon with the smokiness of the cheese was nice, but it can be overdone if you use too much of either though, so balance here is the key.  A slice or two of bacon is all you need.

Thanks Mel for another great meal!  🙂

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Smoked Mozzerella, Chicken, Spinach and Penne Salad

Ingredients

  • Parmesan Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup white whine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Salad:
  • 1 chicken breast, grilled (or fried if you like)
  • 3 slices crisp cooked bacon
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 3 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
  • 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
  • 8-10 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4-6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced

Instructions

  1. For the dressing, combine the Parmesan cheese, parsley, mayo, vinegar, garlic, cayenne and salt and pepper in a blender and process until the dressing is smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The dressing can be made up to two days ahead of time.
  2. To prepare the salad, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until just tender, al dente. Drain the pasta into a colander and run cold water over it and drain well.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, spinach, chicken, bacon, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella. At this point, the salad and dressing can be refrigerated for a couple of hours separately before serving.
  4. Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM:  MelsKitchenCafe.com
I used all organic ingredients when making this recipe, and hope you do too!  🙂

 

 

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Comments

  1. This was lovely. My non-salad-eating 11yo son loved this, especially the dressing! We used some different salad vegies – corn and peas, chickpeas, capsicum, spinach/beetroot/carrot mix. I cooked the chicken in the oven sprinkled with garlic powder and paprika. Used tri-colour pasta and it looked amazing! Will definitely be having this again. My son has asked to take some for school lunch tomorrow! lol Thanks for a great recipe.

    • I just love reading comments like yours Brenda! Getting kids to eat is such an up and down thing, isn’t it? The fact that you threw in some chickpeas and spinach and beetroot and he ate it just inspires me to new heights! Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to comment on our blog. We appreciate it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    This sounds amazing, and like you I try to stay away from pasta as much as I can. I’m going to make this wonderful salad using your best grilled chicken recipe, but I’m omitting the pasta in the salad. Thanx for the wonderful recipes on your blog.

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