I receive daily recipes from Allrecipes.com, and when this one appeared in my email, I knew I was going to have to give it a try. I’m always looking for new ways to make pasta salad and this one sounded nice and refreshing for the summer. Although this recipe calls for chicken, you could easily eliminate it and still have a wonderful and filling salad.
Of course I had to tinker with the ingredients some and used more mandarins, pasta and garlic than originally called for. I substituted grape tomatoes for the Roma tomatoes and increased the amount to a cup, and replaced the toasted sesame oil with hot chili sesame oil for an extra kick. I added sesame seeds as a final garnish. Here’s a link to the original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/143555/mandarin-chicken-pasta-salad/
This pasta salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days after making it.
Ingredients for the Dressing
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon Hot Chili Sesame oil
- 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
Ingredients for the Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces bowtie (farfalle) pasta
- 1 cup cucumber, scored, seeded and cut into small pieces
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ cup coarsely chopped red onion
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 3 cups fresh spinach, stems removed and torn into small pieces
- 1 can (15 ounces) mandarin orange segments, drained
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- Salt to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Sesame seeds for garnish
Make the dressing by whisking together the ginger, rice vinegar, orange juice, vegetable oil, sesame oil, soup mix, sugar and garlic until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bowtie pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and cool.
Place all of the vegetables (cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots and spinach) in a large bowl and toss until well blended.
Toss in the chicken and mandarins until well mixed.
Stir in the cooled pasta. Add the toasted almonds and pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Serve with rolls, crusty bread, or even a bowl of gazpacho or tomato soup.