October is my birth month which is exciting enough, right? But added to that is the fact that generally October is the most beautiful time of the year here in Boise with temperatures hovering in the 70’s. The leaves are turning colors, the sun stays a little lower and my garden is flourishing with vibrant blossoms. I’m grateful for the warmer temperatures, so I can keep gardening and playing tennis outdoors. The weather makes me think of salads so I thought I’d add another great salad that we enjoy because, first it’s easy to throw together and second, the flavor combinations are unique for a Caesar salad; I’ve given it a little oomph with added vegetables and garbanzo beans.
A friend introduced me to the OPA line of salad dressings made by Litehouse (an Idaho company!). You find them in the produce section of your grocery store since they need to be refrigerated. The base is Greek yogurt but the fat content is super low while providing a nice little protein punch. They are also quite low in sodium compared to other similar salad dressings. My friend combined the dressing with reduced-fat cream cheese to produce a wonderful spread for a sandwich wrap she served at a large function last spring. It was a big hit!
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- 7-8 ounces rotini or penne multi-grain pasta, cooked without fat or salt (I use multi-grain Barilla)
- 2 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves
- 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup reduced-sodium canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup sliced and peeled cucumber
- 2 Tbsp sliced green onions
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup light Caesar dressing (I used OPA Greek Yogurt Caesar dressing)
- 2 ounces crumbled sun dried tomato and basil feta cheese or shaved Parmesan cheese
- Arrange pasta in large serving bowl. Top with lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, cucumber, green onions and basil. Spoon dressing over top and toss gently to combine. Top with preferred cheese.
For an alternative, omit the pasta and stuff all ingredients into a pita pocket or roll onto a flatbread or wrap into a tortilla.