Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Taco Dressing

Pasta salad is a great summertime dish.  You can throw together what you have on hand with pasta and throw it in the fridge to cool.  A typical pasta salad uses Italian dressing.  I threw together a "Taco" type dressing for this one. I had some sour cream that I needed to use, thus the base for my dressing was sour cream and olive oil with a little lime juice.   I usually use whole wheat pasta when I cook, but I saw the cutest Mezze Penne when I was shopping the other day.  So, I used them in this pasta salad.  This salad has chickpeas in it because it was what I had in the pantry.  With the taco flavors, black beans would make a great substitution.  And although I didn't put corn in mine, it would be great with corn.

Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Taco Dressing
1 16 oz. box of Pasta (Penne, Rotini, Shells would all be good)
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1 can of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 sweet onion sliced (more kid friendly than chopped)
1 red bell pepper, cut into large strips (more kid friendly)
3 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 slices Pepper Jack cheese, cut into 1/2" squares
2 small avocados, cubed

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 Tbsp. Lime juice
1 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp. Red Wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Boil pasta until al dente according to package directions.  Rinse with cool water when done.
While pasta is cooking, cut up all veggies and place in large bowl.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a separate small bowl.
Add pasta and cut up chicken to veggies in large bowl and give them a toss.
Pour dressing over pasta/chicken/veggie mix and stir to coat.
Refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours.

To make this easier, you could buy the pregrilled packaged chicken from the grocery store.  I believe they usually have pre-cut onions and peppers as well.  Then you would be paying a higher cost for higher convenience. But, whatever works for you!  

Also, I buy my Taco seasoning in bulk from GFS, but you could make your own with this 
Taco Seasoning recipe from

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