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Spinach Pasta Salad with Chicken, Cashews and a Sweet Ginger Sesame Dressing

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This has been one of my favorite salads for years! I made it for the Super Bowl and was reminded of how tasty it is, so I thought I would share. One of the best things about the salad is that you can do all the time consuming things the night before, and on the day of your dinner, shower, or party you can just throw the last few ingredients in…I have also made it without the chicken as a side dish and it is just as good. Enjoy!!

 

DRESSING
 (sometimes I double this and save half of it in a separate jar, just in case we need a little more)
½  C. olive oil
1/3 C. light soy sauce
1/3 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
1  t. sesame chili oil
3 T. Sugar
2 T. fresh grated gingerroot
1/2  t. pepper
SALAD
8 oz. pasta—cooked al dente and drained (we like bowtie pasta)
1/3 C. green onion
½ C. red bell pepper 
3 C. cooked shredded chicken
½ C. cashews
¼ C. toasted sesame seeds
6 C. fresh baby spinach  (approximately 12 oz)
Whisk together first seven ingredients (check the Asian aisle at the grocery store for most of the dressing items. If you have an Asian market close by, the items are much cheaper there).  In a bowl layer cooked pasta, green onions and peppers.  Pour dressing on top.  Cover and refrigerate over night.  Just before serving combine spinach, chicken, cashews and sesame seeds in a large bowl.  Add pasta mixture and toss well.

 

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