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Healthy Recipes: Pasta Salad with Chicken

Pasta Salad with Chicken

from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Creating a fresh and nutritious salad is a sure taste pleaser as the summer season approaches. This pasta dish is easy to prepare and substantial enough to satisfy, yet doesn't leave you feeling too full or listless.

Fusilli is perfect for a salad because it's bite sized and its twisty shape helps the seasoning cling to each forkful. Appropriately enough, the name of the versatile little pasta is derived from fuso, the Italian word for spindle. The best fusilli is made of hard durum wheat.

The red bell pepper adds a subtle sweetness and, along with the tomato, presents a nice splash of color. The addition of kalamata olives provides a hint of salty-sweet taste. Celebrated for their deep flavor, they are from the Kalamata region of Greece and are often referred to as Greek olives.

Avocado provides a creamy richness to the salad. It also offers a range of nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamins C, E and K and folate. Avocados are actually a member of the berry family and were called "alligator pears" by English living in Jamaica. Some believe this is because they were comparing the avocado skin to that of an alligator.

The lemon juice and olive oil make the perfect dressing, giving the salad a fresh, clean taste. So prepare some extra because it makes a great leftover. Simply refrigerate and enjoy it later for a quick and tasty dish.

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad with Chicken

  • 6 oz. (or about 1 3/4 cups dry) whole-wheat fusilli
  • 8 oz. cooked chicken breast, skinless and cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups lightly steamed broccoli florets
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, including green stem
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped kalamata olives (capers may be substituted)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. Italian herbs
  • 1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced small

Cook pasta al dente per package directions. Transfer to colander to drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water to cool.

Gently mix all ingredients together in large salad bowl, except oil, lemon juice and avocado. (If not serving immediately, refrigerate.)

Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Toss gently again until pasta is well coated.

Add avocado and give the salad a final gentle toss immediately before serving.

Makes 4 servings (about 2 cups per serving).

Per serving: 407 calories, 15 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 45 g carbohydrate, 27 g protein, 
9 g dietary fiber, 174 mg sodium.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

from AICR.org