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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

This is a perfect Spring or Summer meal, and in particular, a great addition to a barbecue or potluck as one full recipe makes a TON! We easily got 8-10 large servings out of this, possibly more! Ryan was the mastermind behind this meal, I merely sent him the recipe and he went to work that evening. We all (Ryan, myself, and our fun dinner companions--my sister Julia & friend Paige) all enjoyed this the night of, but Ryan insisted that the leftovers were even better. Good thing, because we had a lot of them!

The full recipe is listed below. We didn't have green onions or sesame seeds, but the recipe was still tasty. There was also way more dressing than we ended up needing, but it might be worth making a full batch and then deciding how much you want to use. We didn't need a ton because there were already so many flavors amidst the salad. Vegetarians could easily omit the chicken and still have a filling main dish.

Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

-1 cup canola oil
-1/3-2/3 cup bottled teriyaki sauce
-1/3 cup rice vinegar
-1/3 cup cider vinegar
-6 tbsp sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper

-16 oz. pasta (original calls for bow tie, we used rigatoni)
-1 bag fresh spinach
-6 oz. dried cranberries
-2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
-1 can water chestnuts, drained and slivered
-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
-4 green onions, thinly sliced (white & green parts)
-1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
-6 oz. honey roasted peanuts (we used unsalted, roasted)
-2 cups cooked chicken, tossed with 2-3 tbsp teriyaki sauce

1. In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients and blend until well combined.
2. Mix 1 cup of the dressing with the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Marinate for at least 1 hours.
3. Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Just before serving, add pasta & toss. Add dressing to taste & toss. Serve immediately.