Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken,it’s got everything you need and really is a meal in itself. Eat it cold or warmed – either is delicious

Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken via www.clairekcreations.com

Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken

I never used to be a salad eater. Years ago salad to me was the good old lettuce leaves, some chopped tomato and cucumber drenched in dressing that you used to get as a side with fish and chips, sandwiches, really anything that came with ‘salad.’

Try this delicious pesto pasta salad.

Now I can sort of say that I’ll eat a salad but I’m still not a fan of lettucey ones. Coming up with a new salad for this week’s ‘salad and salad dressing’ theme was a challenge.

‘It’s salad and salad dressing week on the blog next week but I have absolutely no idea what I’ll do.’

‘You could make me a pasta salad to take to work?’

‘Done.’

You might like to try this chicken chorizo and halloumi bake.

Almost easier said than done. Inspiration had to come from the fridge/pantry because I have pretty much given up going to the supermarket with the two boys.

It always ends up with one, two or all three of us crying. It definitely makes for creative cooking. Good thing I love a ready-steady-cook type cook up.

Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken via www.clairekcreations.com

This salad is a bit of a nod at winter with the maple roasted pecan while still holding on to summer with the whole ‘salad’ thing. It’s got everything you need and really is a meal in itself. Eat it cold or warmed – either is delicious (of course I sampled it before Will got to take it all to work).

Make some delicious rolls for dinner.

Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken via www.clairekcreations.com

A few tips :

  • Do not overcook the pasta or it will turn into one big gloopy solid chunk of pasta.
  • As soon as the pasta is finished cooking, tip it into a big bowl with a little of the liquid and add olive oil and toss. Toss it every 10 minutes or so as it cools to stop it all sticking together while it cools.
  • My favourite way to cook chicken for shredding is in the slow cooker. Cook it in a bit of stock for 6h on low then shred. Alternatively, enclose in aluminium foil and cook at 180 for 25 minutes in the oven.
  • Make sure the pasta has cooled significantly before adding the baby spinach or the leaves will wilt.

Enjoy!

What about you? What’s your favourite type of salad?

Here’s another delicious chicken pasta salad recipe from Food Network.

Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken via www.clairekcreations.com
Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken

Maple pumpkin and walnut pasta salad with chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300g (11oz) pumpkin, diced
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 4 cups cooked pasta
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cooked chicken
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • Shaved parmesan (about 1/4 of a cup but really up to you how much you love parmesan)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (356F) fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the diced pumpkin, maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a bowl and toss.
  3. Spread the pumpkin in a single layer on the tray and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the walnuts and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.
  6. Toss the cooked pasta with the remaining olive oil and leave to cool.
  7. Add the pumpkin, walnuts, spinach and chicken to the cooked pasta.
  8. To make the dressing, place all the ingredients except the parmesan in a jar and shake (with the lid on!).
  9. Toss everything together with the dressing.
  10. Serve warm or cold topped with the shaved parmesan.
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