Happy Garlic Tuesday everyone! Today it features my newest invention of a Warm Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad with Raisins and Pine Nuts. A bit of a long name for actually a really simple 20 min salad, but at least you know pretty much everything that goes in it after reading the name.
Ever since a cool spell swept through Florida, I’ve been subconsciously looking out for cozy pies, warming stews and heavenly filling creaminess. This is how pastas came back into the loop again. So, for lunch I suggest this baby: not too heavy, but still warm and definitely with a filling and satisfying touch to it:
Warm Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad
As with many things in life, my Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad wasn’t a straightforward success. In its first incarnation it was actually only a simple sauteed spinach with raisins and toasted pine nuts. Really lovely little dish, which would work beautifully as a side to fish or chicken, as my partner kindly pointed out while trying (very hard! – bless him :)) to enjoy it with my beloved rosemary and garlic rack of lamb I made for last Sunday’s dinner.
So, I did as I was told (and that doesn’t happen often)! With the addition of my secret weapon against chicken blandness (McCormick Montreal chicken seasoning – thank you very much), fresh garlic, a splash of stock and a handful of boiled penne, the sauteed spinach with raisins and pine nuts made it to become rather delicious, winter lunch perfect – Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad. Success!
Warm Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad is absolutely fantastic for winter lunch – not too light, not too heavy, warm and satisfying. If you’re after creamy style pasta try the Skinny, Creamy Cauliflower Pasta or the real, Italian mama’s style 30 min Bacon and Garlic Pasta (you just can’t beat the flavour of this one if cooked like mama would do!).
- 1 cup (200g) penne pasta - boiled as per instructions on packaging (I used gluten free one)
- 4 tbsp pine nuts
- 3 tbsp sultana raisins
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts (330g) - sliced into small, bite size pieces
- 2 garlic cloves - chopped
- 2 tbsp McCormick Montreal chicken seasoning (or your favourite chicken seasoning)
- 4 packed cups (200g) of spinach
- ¼ cup cold chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste
- Place raisins in a cup, cover with boiling water and set aside.
- Place pine nuts in a dry pan and toast them lightly on a slow heat. (Using a wooden spoon, keep moving the nuts in the pan until they start turning golden brown and shiny with the oil the nuts yield when heated.) Remove from the pan and reserve for later.
- Heat oil in the pan; season the chicken pieces with the chicken seasoning and fry them on a moderate heat with the garlic until the chicken is just cooked through.
- In the meantime, in a small cup, make stock and cornstarch slurry: whisk cornstarch into the cold stock with a fork; set aside.
- To the pan with the chicken add spinach and help it to wilt down by constant mixing and turning. When the spinach is nearly completely wilted add the cold stock and cornstarch slurry and pasta, mix it all well and cover with a lid for a minute or two. Remove the lid, add drained raisins, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary, squeeze a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle the pine nuts over; mix again and serve.