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Asian Pasta Salad

 Asian Pasta Salad is loaded with tender pasta, fresh baby spinach, crisp red peppers, toasted sliced almonds, sweet and juicy mandarin oranges, crunchy carrots, and fresh herbs. The salad is tossed with an addictive sesame-soy sauce dressing that is the perfect complement to all the ingredients. We like to add in some rotisserie chicken for added protein, but it's optional, so this salad can be made to be vegetarian!
Course Salad
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 452kcal
Cost $6.23

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) rotini pasta
  • 4.5 cups (5 ounces 147g) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (202g) shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup (65g) red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 cup (45g) shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup (15g) fresh green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (9g) fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Optional: 1/3 cup sliced almonds (32g) (toasted if desired)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup (97g) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (88g) soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup (73g) rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  • PASTA: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl and immediately toss with 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing (see next step).
  • DRESSING: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, pepper, and sesame seeds in a mason jar. Place the lid on and shake until combined.
  • ASSEMBLE SALAD: Add the coarsely chopped spinach, shredded rotisserie chicken, chopped red pepper, drained mandarin oranges, shredded carrots, chopped green onions, and fresh cilantro to the large bowl with the cooled pasta,.
  • DRESS SALAD: Toss all the ingredients together gently and then coat with the dressing to desired amount. Enjoy immediately. (This salad doesn't store well with the dressing, so only dress what will be eaten right away). If desired, top with sliced toasted almonds (Note 1).

Video

Notes

Note 1: If desired, toast the almonds. Spread the sliced almonds into an even layer in a small, dry (no need to add oil ) skillet over medium-heat and stir them around a bit until they are fragrant and toasted to your liking. Watch the almonds carefully; they can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in an instant! I like to remove them as soon as they begin to smell fragrant.

Nutrition

Serving: 8servings | Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.2g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 29.3g | Sodium: 500.8mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 9.4g