This easy recipe includes several of my favorite fall flavors! Fall pasta salad holds up well for several days, so it’s a great make-ahead dish for weekday lunches! Just prep all of the ingredients, throw them in a bowl, and you’re done! (Make sure you add PLENTY of parmesan cheese..)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb tri-color rotini pasta
1/2 large butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup halved pecans
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
Start your prepping with the ingredients that will take the longest.
I like to toast the pecans. I think it gives them a better texture, the perfect crunch, and it brings out their flavor. If you’d like to skip this step, I suppose you can.. 🙂
Heat your oven to 275 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for up to 40 minutes. I like to check them at least every 10 minutes, as they can easily start to burn. Once they are nicely toasted, set them aside. When they’re cool enough, you can roughly chop them up a little smaller if you like. I think they mix into the pasta salad a little better that way.
Turn your oven up to 400 degrees. Place your chicken breasts on a sheet pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked completely through.
Prep your butternut squash by cutting into small half-inch cubes. Place on a baking sheet (parchment paper works great so they don’t stick). Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then toss to coat. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re fork tender but maintain their form.
Allow the chicken and squash to cool while you’re prepping the other ingredients.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and place in a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Now you can go ahead and combine all of your ingredients! Dice the chicken into bite-sized cubes and throw it in with the pasta. Toss in the butternut squash, pecans, and parmesan cheese!
Do a little taste test, and add more salt and pepper if needed. If the pasta salad is too dry, add another drizzle of olive oil. Now go ahead and enjoy it for your lunches this week! (And don’t be shy about adding a little extra parm…)
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