Asian Pasta Salad – loaded with chicken, pasta, spinach, peanuts, and mandarin oranges, this salad is packed with flavor and texture! The dressing is lightened up, but you won’t miss the extra oil, trust me!
I am always on the lookout for a great main dish salad. This Sesame Chicken Salad fits the bill. It’s loaded with healthy ingredients, and the addition of pasta makes it more filling. That is always a bonus in a house full of boys!
There are so many delicious flavors and textures going on in this salad. The peanuts are crunchy, the Craisins are chewy, and the oranges are juicy. Toss it all together with greens and chicken, and you have a flavor explosion in every bite.
I love the saltiness of the peanuts and dressing combined with the sweetness of the Craisins and oranges. So yummy!
Not only does this salad make a great family dinner, it is also popular at baby showers, bridal showers, and potlucks. The spinach does start to wilt pretty quickly after you add the dressing, so assemble the salad and add the dressing just before serving.
How to Make Asian Pasta Salad with Chicken
Ingredients for this recipe:
- vegetable oil (or another oil that is liquid at room temperature)
- vinegar (I use regular white vinegar.)
- soy sauce
- granulated sugar
- black pepper
- bowtie pasta (or another pasta of your choosing)
- green onions
- cooked chicken (Rotisserie chicken works great!
- mandarin oranges
- roasted, salted peanuts
- sesame seeds
Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Cook pasta in boiling water. Drain and cool. Add remaining salad ingredients to pasta. Stir in dressing to taste.
What kind of chicken is best for this salad?
-Any type of cooked chicken will work; I prefer chicken breasts. You can use leftover baked or grilled chicken, or purchase a rotisserie chicken. Or of course you can just cook up a couple of chicken breasts. Just make sure they are chilled, or they will cause the salad to wilt.
Variations for this Oriental Chicken Salad:
- Swap out the spinach for other leafy greens. We’ve used iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, and leafy green lettuce, all with great results. You can also use a combination of any of them.
- Feel free to add or replace any of the mix-ins. Try using sliced almonds in place of the peanuts. Fried wonton strips or crispy chow mein noodles are also tasty.
- I think the bowtie pasta is the prettiest for this salad, but you can substitute any type of bite sized pasta.
MORE TASTY WAYS TO USE COOKED CHICKEN:
- Chicken Alfredo with Bacon and Spinach
- Best Chicken Haystacks
- Poppy Seed Chicken
- Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
MORE DELICIOUS SALAD RECIPES:
- Chinese Cabbage Chicken Salad
- Grape Salad
- Jalapeno Popper Corn Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Oriental Salad
ASIAN PASTA SALAD RECIPE
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 8 oz bowtie pasta
- 1 (6 ounce) bag baby spinach
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
- 1/3 cup Craisins
- 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
- 2/3 cup roasted, salted peanuts
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk till sugar is dissolved; set aside.
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Drain and cool.
- Pour pasta into a large bowl. Add spinach, green onions, chicken, craisins, mandarin oranges, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
- Stir in dressing just before serving, or serve it on the side.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 623mgCarbohydrates: 34gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 3gSugar: 19gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 15g
Originally published January 2010. Updated 7/8/2019..