Pasta salad is a classic summer side dish, but adding protein (leftover grilled chicken is perfect here) and extra greens makes it a super-satisfying lunch. We use baby spinach, but arugula or baby kale works too. Top with a bright and tangy basil vinaigrette just before serving. The great news is that these easy meal-prep lunches take just 20 minutes to prepare–that’s 4 days of lunches in less than 30 minutes.
- 8 ounces whole-grain rotini
- 1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach (about 6 cups)
- 1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
- 1 cup pearl-size or mini mozzarella balls (about 4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup Basil Vinaigrette (see Below Recipe)
- 1 small shallot, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey or agave syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Step 1
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook rotini according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then drain again and set aside.
- Step 2
Divide spinach among 4 single-serving lidded containers. Top each with 1 cup of the cooked pasta, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/2 cup chicken and one-fourth of the mozzarella balls.
- Step 3
Divide vinaigrette among 4 small lidded containers and refrigerate.
- Step 4
Seal the salad containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Dress with the vinaigrette just before serving.
Combine shallot, basil, oil, vinegar, honey (or agave), mustard, pepper and salt in a blender. Puree until smooth.