Gluten Free Chicken Pasta Salad With Balsamic

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Gluten Free Chicken Pasta SaladThe title alone might have you a bit perplexed as pasta in the traditional sense involves wheat.  But one of the things I discovered as Shani and I started this gluten free journey is that Trader Joe’s carries 3 different shapes of rice pasta as well as traditional Asian rice noodles. For this dish, I prefer the spiral pasta, as it’s more reminiscent of pasta salads I’ve had in the past.  I also think the surface area allows this shape to get more of the flavors and hold onto the balsamic.

Ingredients used:

  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup Trader Joe’s Frozen Broccoli Florets
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/3 cup Trader Joe’s Frozen Super Sweet Cut Corn
  • 4 Trader Joe’s Frozen Asparagus Spears
  • 3 artichoke hearts (either frozen or canned in water), drained or defrosted and diced
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli (about 4 oz. dry)
  • Trader Giotto’s Quattro Formaggio
  • Trader Giotto’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, to taste
  • Johnny’s Seasoning Salt (of course!)
  • Trader Joe’s Just Grilled Chicken Strips
  • Trader Joe’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Get The Party Started

The first thing to do is get the water boiling for the pasta.  Rice pasta seems a bit more finicky than regular pasta, so keep an eye on the time and I try and check for done-ness a lot.  Out of habit, I also rinse the cooked pasta with cold water to keep it from sticking.  I don’t notice a difference between adding salt to the water or not.  Maybe Alton Brown could explain the pros and cons of doing that here.

Always With The Chop Chop Chop

The Global Vegetable Cleaver gets the nod for this job.  I only use it on veggies, and make sure it’s sharp all of the time. (Shani will tell you that I constantly warn her about touching the knives, a dull knife is a dangerous knife, but a sharp knife has consequences too!).  So dice up all of the fresh vegetables that you are going to use in this recipe and heat the olive oil over medium heat.  My All Clad LTD pan with 4″ high walls works great in this application. The “French Oven” also works well.  The point is to have a deep enough pan to accommodate all of the veggies that you need to cook (and you’re cooking a lot of them!).

Into The Pan

The carrots and onions go in first.  They are the hardest of the veggies and need more time to soften.  After that, the zucchini.  Let all of these vegetables saute until they are relatively soft, and then add in the frozen veggies (except the artichoke hearts).  The heat in the pan should defrost them quickly enough and you should be able to break up the broccoli florets and the asparagus spears into much smaller pieces.  Cook until the broccoli and asparagus are the way you like them (I like mine with a little crunch still, not too soft).

The Final Steps

While the veggies cook, defrost and dice the chicken. For this dish I dice into 1/2 inch pieces or so.  Do the same with the artichoke hearts.  Put the drained pasta in a large bowl, add cooked vegetable mixture and the chicken and artichokes.  Top with some quattro formaggio and mix the whole thing up.  I wait to add the balsamic until I serve it or have it for lunch during the week.  That’s it.  I bet you thought your days of eating pasta were over!

 

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What are your favorite gluten free pasta salad ideas?

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3 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. m says:

    Is it true as we were told in one store that you are no longer carrying the gluten free corn pasta? I do hope that this is incorrect as this product is so much better than the rice based gf pasta, like night and day.
    M. Sosnow

    • Shani says:

      Hi there!
      We don’t actually work for TJs we just love their food. Based on our experience though, each store seems to carry different items based on popularity and sometimes they rotate them. It’s still on their list of gluten free foods, so hopefully it comes back. I definitely like the corn pasta better too, it seems to taste much better as a leftover as well.

  2. JoAnn says:

    Is the Traders Joe Organic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena gluten free?

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