This is the best salad ever.
Well one of them. I like A LOT of salads. Like Steak Salad with Roasted Corn, Strawberries and Blue Cheese (Hello Summer Salad!) or this Italian Chicken Salad with Vegetables and Goat Cheese. I love salads because they’re easy, mostly healthy, and incredibly flavorful. Really they are. I think people sometimes see salads as boring or “healthy” or I really want a cheeseburger but I should get a salad type of dish.
I think salads are sometimes even more flavorful and more satisfying than a cheeseburger or a sandwich. I ain’t crazy. I swear.
Salads are different, unique and satisfying. Let’s talk about one of my favorite salads to date! Parmesan Peppercorn Chicken Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pasta.
I got the inspiration for this salad from one of my favorite lunch spots in Iowa, Noodle Zoo! Now, those of you from the Des Moines area will totally know what I’m talking about. It’s a delicious lunch spot in the East Village of downtown Des Moines that is family owned and serves salads, sandwiches and of course noodles! It’s absolutely delicious. I highly recommend lunching there if you’re ever in the area.
Now. I have not been to Noodle Zoo in years. YEARS, like at least 5 years if not more. I used to go all the time with my mom back in high school and when I would visit from college. I almost always got their House Salad and literally would devour it. I was back in Iowa a few weeks back and my mom and I almost went there for lunch but decided on a different spot instead. Well…since we didn’t go, I thought I would re-create my favorite Noodle Zoo Salad which is where this here salad came from. Seriously, 5 years and still thinking about a salad?
You know it’s good…
Long story short…;)
I want to eat this salad everyday for 30 days. Not even kidding. I love everything about this salad.
Crunchy romaine lettuce, juicy chicken, sweet sun dried tomatoes, romano/parmesan/asiago cheese, homemade croutons, and pasta all mixed in a delicious parmesan peppercorn ranch dressing.
The best (and easiest) salad ever!
This recipe probably makes three medium-sized salads.
We ate it all, so two large salads which is not like overly concerning but let’s just say we cleaned our plates and then some.
- 2 bags chopped romaine lettuce or 1 bag of romaine lettuce, not chopped (I always buy it in bulk because I like to chop it myself. The bags I buy have three heads of romaine lettuce)
- 2 chicken breasts
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- Half of a small loaf of bread for croutons, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used Italian bread)
- 1½ cups Radiatori pasta (if you can't find it, use a similar corkscrew pasta like Fusilli)
- ½ cup of Romano, Parmesan and Asiago cheese, shredded
- Parmesan/Asiago Peppercorn Dressing or Parmesan Ranch Dressing (I used Marie's brand)
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons Olive oil
- Prep-heat oven to 375 degrees to make the croutons.
- Place cubed bread on a cookie sheet, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake until crispy, about 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare pasta in salted water to al dente according to package directions, 8-10 minutes usually, set aside
- Season chicken breast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Add a two tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook on both sides until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. If your chicken breasts are thick, consider slicing them in half to make them thinner before cooking.
- If you use a parmesan ranch dressing, add some black pepper to it to give it more of a peppery taste.
- Assemble salad by placing all the ingredients in a bowl, lettuce, chicken, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, croutons, and cooled pasta and dressing. Toss and enjoy.
Inspired from Noodle Zoo