meal prep: parmesean lemon chicken macaroni salad

lemon pasta salad

The first time we made this pasta salad was for our housewarming party a few years ago. We made a big bowl of it for the party spread and not a single noodle or pea was leftover. 

So while this pasta salad is a great recipe for your next potluck lunch, it holds up well over the course of a couple days if you want to use it for meal prep lunches too. Yes there is a bit of cream, but it’s not at all heavy and the bright, lemon acidity really shines through. Don’t skip the arugula either as it adds a nice peppery flavor to the salad. Enjoy! 

PARMESAN LEMON CHICKEN MACARONI SALAD

  • Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, halved horizontally to make 4 thinner chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper

For the pasta salad:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken (or veggie) stock
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz. dry macaroni pasta
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 oz. arugula
  • 8 oz. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup green peas, defrosted

Directions:

  1. For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a baking dish, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, and juice. Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken breasts and then add to the dish. Toss around in the lemon-oil mixture until well-coated and bake for 15-20 minutes until done. Allow to rest 10-15 minutes before chopping into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water up to boil. Cook pasta to al-dente instructions. Drain and rinse to cool. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add your minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes without burning. Whisk in your heavy cream, chicken/veggie stock, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and allow to thicken for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After it thickens, stir in your grated cheese.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cooked pasta and sauce. Then stir in the chopped chicken, arugula, tomatoes, and peas. Topped with extra freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.
  5. If using for meal prep, divide equally into 4 Tupperware containers and refrigerate until ready to serve. If serving as a big pasta salad, cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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