Summer Fruit and Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken

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Menu Part: Salad
Cuisine Type: American
Serves: 12 servings

At Ball State University, Bill Kimes, general manager for Catering, developed this recipe as an alternative to heavy pasta salads with mayo-based dressings. This version uses a housemade poppyseed dressing, lots of fruit and lean grilled chicken. Jon Lewis, director of Campus Dining Services, says guests enjoy this salad because of the eclectic flavor combination and the fact that it is cool and refreshing during the summer months.

Ingredients

Homemade Poppyseed Dressing:

3.5 oz. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. clear cornstarch
5/8 tsp. dry ground mustard spice
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 1/3 tbsp. + ½ tsp. white 4% distilled vinegar
1 1/8 tsp. yellow onion
¼ cup + 2 2/3 tsp. salad vegetable oil
¾ tsp. poppy seed spice 1 whole cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, cubed
1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored, cubed
1 pint strawberries, cut off green and cut in half
2 granny smith apples, cored, cubed
2 cups red seedless grapes, washed, cut in half
3 lbs. cheese tortellini pasta, cooked
1 cup poppyseed dressing
12 bunches mixed greens
12 grilled chicken breasts
Feta cheese crumbles (garnish)
Scallions (garnish)
Toasted almonds (garnish)

Steps

Homemade Poppyseed Dressing:

1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, dry mustard and salt. Add vinegar and cook on medium heat until mixture thickens and becomes clear.

2. Cool to room temperature. While mixture is cooling place onion in food processor and chop until superfine. Strain and reserve juice ( discard onion bits; use juice only). Add onion juice to cooled dressing in mixer bowl.

3. Turn mixer on high speed and add oil very slowly. mix until well blended and oil does not separate. Add poppy seed and mix until well distributed

To assemble:

1. Mix all fruit, pasta and salad dressing well.

2. Divide between 12 plates on top of mixed greens of choice.

3. Top with grilled piece of chicken and garnish with feta cheese crumbles, scallions and toasted almonds.