Lemon Dill Pasta Salad with Lemony Chicken
New life goal = work my way through this list.
I’m not even remotely kidding. Because when it comes to Mexican food, I’m all seriousness. I never even had a chance to not love Mexican food (okay, more like Tex-mex food). You see, my parents are the biggest margarita snobs ever.* I was raised knowing that if the margaritas weren’t good-no matter how delicious the food was-we weren’t going. And I’m not even talking about the classy-cocktail-type-of-‘shaken-not-stirred’ margaritas. I’m talking about the classless-yet-delicious-you’re about to have a brain freeze frozen margaritas.
There was this one time we went to a new Mexican restaurant to find out that they didn’t have their liquor license yet. Hmmyeahno that didn’t work out. The point is Mexican-y food is part of who I am.
A Houston restaurant did make that list. And I’ve been to that restaurant…once. I should probably give Hugo’s another chance. The first time I went I wasn’t that impressed. I think I got the wrong thing. Andrew loved it. It was just expensive. And I tend to like my Mexican food cheap and hole-in-the-wall-ish.
How do you get the job of traveling the country in search of Mexican food deliciousness? Because I. Want. In.
Luckily, one of the restaurants on the list is in San Francisco. And since we’ve decided to spend some of our honeymoon in San Francisco (2 days in San Francisco and the rest of the week in Carmel), we’re gonna just have to make a stop into La Taqueria. And according to Urban Dictionary (the second definition…not the first), Taqueria means “a Mexican restaurant (or cart/van/etc.), usually a hole-in-the-wall, delicious eatery. Typical authentic menu includes tacos, burritos, tostadas, etc.”
Minus the possibility of a Taqueria being in a cart/van (mainly because my mom says I’m not ever allowed to eat anywhere without running water), this is everything I want out of a honeymoon. A hole-in-the-wall, delicious eatery with tacos. yes.
I have no idea what food I will be serving at my actual wedding, but I’m already planning out the honeymoon food. I think there’s a problem there…something about not doing things in the right order. But if I’m gonna reach my new life goal we’re gonna need to figure out our priorities. And my taco love is deep. I mean, Andrew and I have already decided that we will be having Taco Tuesday every week once we are living together. That is why I love him. That, and because sometimes I make really dry chicken and he still eats it.
You know what would be weird? Say you were to write an entire blog post about Mexican-y food/tacos and then post a recipe about pasta salad. But here we are. With a post about pasta salad. Okay. Now pasta salad and I have a love-hate relationship, kinda like my feelings towards how clothes fit in 7th grade…okay no that was all hate. But pasta salad always makes me think of my summer neighborhood swim team.
Everything always smelled like chlorine, Sharpie markers and ummm…Italian dressing from pasta salad.** Growing up I was never a big fan of swim team. Well, I was when I was really little and good but at some point everybody else started swimming year-round and by the time summer rolled around I was getting lapped. But it was all good because when it comes to sports, i’m not really that much of a competitive person. Which is funny because if you ever met my dad you would realize that he is easily the most competitive person you will ever meet. Wanna play an easy game of ping-pong? Too bad. Twenty minutes later you’ll both be drenched in sweat. I actually ended up having to get 4 staples in my head after a game of ping-pong onetime. Wanna play an innocent game of Scattergories? Too bad. Someone (read: my dad) will end up throwing down their little game board across the room by the time the night is over.
It’s cut throat, I tell you.
But back to pasta salad. This pasta salad isn’t like that pasta salad I remember from summers past because instead of Italian dressing it’s made with an avocado dressing and we all know that avocados make everything better. Kinda like when you find a heads-up penny on the ground but this is 539489 times better.
*i mean “snob” in a completely lovingly way
**anyone else do a summer neighborhood swim team where you would always draw on each others backs with sharpie markers? Tell me you did because typing it out seems weird.
Lemon & Dill Pasta Salad with Lemony Chicken
[adapted from Edible Perspective]
Chicken & Marinade
2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried dill (or dillweed)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz pasta of choice (I used quinoa vegetable curl pasta)
3 cups broccoli, chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/3 red onion, minced
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Lemon Dill Dressing
3/4 large avocado
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp dried dill (or dillweed)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 T honey
In a large, shallow bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, dried dill, salt and pepper. Add the raw, cubed chicken, cover and allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
While the chicken is marinating, cook the pasta according to your packages’ directions. When done, pour pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water. Allow pasta to continue to cool while you prepare your vegetables.
Heat a sauce pan with 1-2 inches of water in the bottom over medium-high heat. Using a vegetable steamer, steam the broccoli for 5-7 minutes. It should still be slightly crunchy. Don’t over-steam it! Pour broccoli into a colander and rinse with cold water. Prepare an ice bath (ice cubes +water) in a shallow dish and add the broccoli to stop the cooking process.
While broccoli is chilling, chop up all the remaining vegetables you will need. In a large bowl, combine the sliced bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, minced red onion and sunflower seeds. Remove the broccoli from the ice bath and thoroughly dry it between some paper towels. Add broccoli and pasta in with the other vegetables.
Now cook your chicken. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add in marinated chicken and cook, tossing frequently, until chicken is cooked through. Scoop chicken from the skillet onto a plate to allow it to cool while you prepare your dressing.
In a food processor/blender, combine avocado, olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper, dried dill, lemon juice and honey. Blend until smooth. Pour dressing into the bowl with your vegetable+pasta. Mix to evenly coat everything in the dressing. Add in your slightly cooled chicken. Stir everything together and refrigerate for ~1 hour before serving.