Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

The weather has been kind of depressing in my part of the world these past few weeks. Mind you, that’s pretty much always the way it goes here in Quebec this time of year; Mother Nature has terrible mood swings: one day it’s freezing cold and raining buckets, the next is nice and sunny and warm and has the snow melting at a very promising rate, only for more of that unwelcomed frozen white stuff to fall down from the sky and cover the ground once again the very next day…

But finally, spring is starting to show signs that it’s here to stay. After months of hibernation, ice cream parlors have reopened their doors again and outdoor terraces are all good and ready to welcome hordes of joyful customers. Kids are cheerfully riding their bikes up and down the streets, smiling couples and families walking their dogs can be spotted all over town. Birds are signing, bees are buzzing and flowers are starting to emerge from the ground.

Life is beautiful again…  and my inspiration in the kitchen is slowly starting to shift. Comforting stews and slowly braised meats will soon yield way to fresh salads and all kinds of grilled veggies and meats!

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

As much as I’m gonna miss my comforting stews and tender and juicy braised meats, I can’t wait to be taking more pictures like this one; pictures that speak of sunshine, of good-health and of well-being. Pictures that feel like a breath of fresh air and make you long to spend time in the garden, under the gentle kiss of a ray of sunshine…

I also can’t wait to be making more dishes like this Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad, although I get the feeling that the “warm” part of it will very soon be given the boot.

Because one of the things that I particularly like about this salad, apart from the fact that it’s super quick and easy to make, is that it’s equally delicious cold as it is in its original warm version.

So for the time being, while we’re still waiting for summer to officially get here, it feels good to throw the pasta in while it’s still hot, but as soon as it gets truly torrid out there, me thinks that the pasta will get a quick rinse under cold water before it gets added to the pan.

Or maybe there won’t even be a pan at all… maybe I’ll have to come up with an entirely new version, one that calls for the grill instead!

But for now, you need to try this “Spring” version. I swear, it’ll make you long for summer more than ice cream ever could…

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

First, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. While that’s happening, heat some cooking fat in a large saute pan with fitting lid set over medium heat.

Sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper and once the pan is hot, add the chicken to the pan, nice side down; cover and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Then, flip the pieces of chicken and continue cooking them until the meat is cooked all the way through and the juices run clear, about 12 to 15 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

Return the pan to the heat source and add the broccoli as well as 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the pan; cook for about one minute or until the broccoli is slightly softened.

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

Kill the heat and add the red bell peppers.

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

Cover and let the vegetables rest for about a minute while you slice the chicken breasts (and chop the herbs and garlic, if you haven’t already done that already…)

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan…

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

…followed with sliced chicken, garlic, fresh herbs, lemon juice and chili infused oil.

If you didn’t have any of that chili infused olive oil on hand, you could use regular extra-virgin olive oil and add a pinch of red chili pepper flakes to the dish (or just plain leave the chili out, if you didn’t care for the extra kick that day…)

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

Toss until well combined, then delicately stir in the feta cheese and serve, garnished with a handful of micro-greens and slices of lemon, if desired.

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com

Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad | thehealthyfoodie.com
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Warm Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
This Chicken Broccoli Penne Salad will make you long for summer more than ice cream ever could! So tasty and healthy and comes together in about 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dry penne pasta

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  • 1-2 tbsp cooking fat of your choice
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts , (around 454g | 1lb total)
  • salt and pepper to sprinkle
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water

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  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chili infused extra-virgin olive oil*
  • 6 oz feta cheese, cubed
  • Micro-greens and lemon slices to garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  • Meanwhile, heat the cooking fat in a large saute pan with fitting lid set over medium heat. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts, nice side down, cover and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the pieces of chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked all the way through and the juices run clear, about 12 to 15 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  • Return the pan to the heat source and add the broccoli as well as 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the pan; cook for about one minute or until the broccoli is slightly softened. Kill the heat and add the red bell peppers. Cover and let the vegetables rest for about a minute while you slice the chicken breasts (and chop the herbs and garlic, if you haven't already done that...)
  • As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan, followed with sliced chicken, garlic, fresh herbs, lemon juice and chili infused oil. Toss until well combined, then delicately stir in the feta cheese and serve, garnished with a handful of micro-greens and slices of lemon, if desired.

Notes

*if you didn't have the chili infused olive oil on hand, you could also use regular extra-virgin olive oil and add about 1/4 tsp of red chili pepper flakes

Nutrition

Calories: 664kcal, Carbohydrates: 69g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 562mg, Potassium: 600mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 946IU, Vitamin C: 60mg, Calcium: 252mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

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