A weekly lunches meal prep is one of my non-negotaibles. Dinners I have a plan for each night – whether it’s cooking something (most nights), or getting take-out. But we’ve found lunches need to be prepped ahead for everyone’s sanity and convenience. And we don’t mind eating the same thing for lunches every day as long as it’s tasty and checks all the nutrition boxes (a source of carbs + fat + protein + veggies).
Some of our go-to lunches to meal prep: big salads, grain bowls, chicken or tuna salads for sandwiches, wraps, or burritos. Sometimes I’ll do a big casserole dish, or a big batch of soup or chili. I try to get creative so that each week feels a little bit different and we don’t get burnt out on eating, say, salads every day for months.
Last week I had inspiration for a new pasta salad, and after making it and eating it all week, I knew I had to share it with you! Enter: my Chicken BLT Pasta Salad – super quick and easy to make, great for prepping in big batches, and full of healthy carbs, filling protein, and a hearty serving of veg. I cooked both my chicken and turkey bacon in the oven to streamline things. And I used Trader Joe’s Vegan Caesar dressing (one of my favorites) to toss everything together and give it a really incredible flavor. I have a homemade version of the Caesar dressing below for you, though, if you want to whip it up yourself and/or don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you.Print
This Chicken BLT Pasta Salad makes for a great, hearty, prep-ahead lunch – OR a great side for entertaining. It checks all the nutrition boxes I look for when feeding my family – a good source of whole grain carbs, source of protein, healthy fat, and some kind of veggie. The best part is that this recipe is flexible and you can easily scale it recipe to fit you or your family’s needs. The version shown will get you 12 generous servings – enough for lunches for 2 people for 6 days. You can half it, quarter it, or even double it, however, depending on how many people you’re serving.
- 2 pounds pasta of choice, preferably whole grain – I like using fusili for pasta salads. My favorite gluten-free fusili is Jovial’s Brown Rice Fusili.
- 1 pound turkey bacon
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast – either pounded thing, or purchased as fillets
- 2 large heads romaine lettuce, washed and shredded
- 2–3 pints cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
- 1 11-ounce container of Trader Joe’s Vegan Caesar dressing, or 1 serving of the Vegan Caesar Dressing recipe below
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper, for seasoning chicken
Trader Joe’s ‘Copycat’ Vegan Ceasar Dressing:
- 1 heaping cup soft tofu
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, or to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400º F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, fill a pasta pot with water and bring to a boil. Add your pasta and cook according to pasta directions. Keep in mind – for a pasta salad that you’re going to be eating all week, you want to make sure your pasta is cooked perfectly… not slightly undercooked, or it will become chewy in the fridge, and not slightly overcooked, or it will become mushy and fall apart in the fridge.
- Spread chicken breasts on 1-2 baking sheets. Spread out turkey bacon on another baking sheet. Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper (to your personal preferences). Place all baking sheets in the oven. Turkey bacon will be perfectly crisp after 15 minutes, and chicken breasts will be perfectly cooked after 20-30 minutes.
- If you’re making your own dressing, blitz all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy while your proteins are cooking in the oven.
- Once all ingredients are done, assemble your pasta salad in a large bowl or dish of choice. Slice your chicken breasts into strips using either a knife or kitchen shears (I love using kitchen shears to save time). Chop or cut your turkey bacon into bite-sized pieces. And toss with cooked pasta, shredded romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, and Caesar dressing.
- Voila! Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to eat or serve. This is a pasta salad I recommend serving cold.
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