This Hawaiian Chicken Pasta Salad is sweet and tangy and perfect for the long summers days. The chicken is marinated and grilled and the sweet salty dressing takes the pasta salad and grilled pineapple to another level.
This pasta salad is simple to make, but there be sure to cook the pasta more than you would for a hot dish. As pasta cools down the starch molecules rearrange themselves and start to form a more crystalline structure. This is called retrogradation and is why cold pasta can often taste undercooked.
To counteract this you need to cook the pasta for two minutes longer than the packet suggests. It should be soft but still holding its shape. This way when you run it under cold water it will return to the perfect al dente stage.
Once you have made the dressing it does double duty as a marinade for the chicken, the pineapple juice helps to tenderise the chicken and keeps it juicy and moist.
You can either serve this salad with each component separated or stir it all together like the photo below.
Side: This pasta salad works well as a side dish, or part of a larger buffet or picnic. It will work wonderfully with some really spicy vegetable kebabs.
Wine: Although an unusual recommendation we love serving this Hawaiian Chicken Pasta Salad with the slightly sparkling Vinho Verde. It works well with the pasta salad and also pairs with the grilled pineapple. Alternatively a Gewurztraminer or a Riesling would work.
For red lovers, although not our first choice we would recommend a Gamay and a Grenache.
Hawaiian Chicken Pasta Salad with Grilled Pineapple
- 20 oz can pineapple rings (in natural juice)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- pinch white pepper
- pinch of allspice
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 10 oz pasta
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 scallions
Drain the pineapple and keep the juice in a jug (there should be around 1 1/2 cups)
Add the soy sauce and olive oil.
Grate in the zest of the lemon and then cut it open and add the juice.
Crush in the garlic and add the pepper and allspice. Stir well.
Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks and place in a plastic or ceramic bowl.
Spoon over 1/4 cup of the dressing and it sit for 10 minutes.
Put the grill on to get hot. (or use a griddle skillet)
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Salt it generously and then add the pasta.
Cook the pasta for 2 minutes longer than the packet suggests. It should be soft but still holding its shape.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, cook the chicken pieces and pineapple slices until the chicken are charred on the outside and cooked though. And the pineapple is caramalized. About 4 minutes.
Drain the pasta and then run it under cold water until it is cooled. Set aside.
To prepare the salad
Finely chop the red bell pepper.
Slice the pineapple rings into small chunks
Cut the end of the scallion and chop it into small rings.
Stir the remaining dressing through the pasta and then arrange everything on a platter or deep bowl.