Cilantro+Lime Pasta Salad for 2

Anny: Every morning I make a kale smoothie and boiled eggs for breakfast while making sure that Bob gets out the door in time for the bus, and before I know it, it’s time to make lunch so I can catch the bus to have lunch with Bob. Whenever I am short on time or in a meal block (equivalent to writer’s block), I turn to pasta salad because it’s versatile, nutritious, and easy! Bob loves pasta salad so I experiment by using different vinaigrettes. The protein is usually pan-fried chicken breast and the veggies are whatever is currently in my fridge. This particular pasta salad is a favorite of mine and is the fastest to make.

Yeran’s take: This is great for the mayo-adverse; it’s light, tasty and I love that I can mix in a whole avocado to give it extra richness. I’ve switched out so many ingredients in this recipe, but this is a great place to start. For protein, I sometimes throw in shredded, boiled chicken breast (for an even lighter version) or leftovers from a whole roast chicken!


For the cilantro-lime vinaigrette 

  • 1/3 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh limes juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil (extra virgin or regular)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated

For the pasta salad

  • 1 chicken breast, butterflied
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • 1/4 pound of (your favorite) pasta
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup of canned/fresh corn
  • 1/4 cup of avocados, diced
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese (optional)


For the cilantro-lime vinaigrette

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Easy peasy.

note: for a less spicy version of the vinaigrette, de-seed the jalapeño before chopping and adding it the vinaigrette. If you don’t have jalapeño or it’s still too hot, you can replace with aleppo or crushed red pepper flakes.

For the pasta salad

  1. Cook pasta to al-dente according to the instructions. Drain and cool. (You can drizzle olive oil to keep it from sticking.)
  2. Sprinkle salt and garlic powder on both sides of the chicken prior to cooking.
  3. Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
  4. Check to see if oil is hot enough by lightly touching the chicken to the pan; if the chicken starts sizzling, the pan is ready.
  5. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes on both sides or until meat is cooked all the way through.
  6. Allow chicken to cool and cut into bite sized pieces.
  7. In a big bowl, add all the diced veggies, the chicken, feta cheese, and the pasta. Add the vinaigrette. Stir well and enjoy!



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