Chicken BLT (or Bacon, Spinach & Tomato) Pasta Salad

Chicken BLT (or Bacon, Spinach & Tomato) Pasta Salad
6 slices bacon
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
16 oz. orzo pasta
1 cup (packed) fresh spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
6 large basil leaves, chiffonaded (rolled and thinly sliced)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat, cook bacon until crunchy. Set aside on a piece of paper towel to drain. When cool, crumble the bacon (not too small) and reserve.

Pour out all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon grease from the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and add chicken. Saute until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a serving bowl. Gently stir the chicken, bacon, spinach, and tomatoes into the orzo.

In a medium bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. While whisking constantly, slow pour in olive oil until combined.

Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo and gently toss.

Stir the basil into the pasta salad. Serve.

Serves 6.

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