This Asian Pasta Salad has a satisfying crunchy texture and a completely addictive sesame-soy dressing that will have everyone coming back for seconds!
Has everyone had enough football food? And now with Valentine’s Day less than a week away, I thought it might be time to lighten things up just a bit before we dive into all the chocolate that will be showing up in our homes soon.
This pasta salad is simple, light and versatile and has been a summer menu staple in my house for so long that I can’t even remember when I first started making it. It’s a great dish to bring to a pot luck, serve as a side dish at a barbecue, or eat on it’s own as a light lunch.
I’m once again utilizing the handy dandy rotisserie chicken to make it super quick and easy to put together. But, it’s the dressing that sets it apart from other pasta salads and gives it that special Asian flavor.
The salad consists of cooked bow tie pasta, rotisserie chicken, shredded carrot, diced red bell pepper, sliced green onion, and cilantro.
The ingredients for the completely irresistible dressing include vegetable oil, sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, brown sugar, low sodium soy sauce, and lots of toasted sesame seeds. Just place all the dressing ingredients into a mason jar or other small container with a lid and…shake, shake, shake.
To toast sesame seeds place them in a dry skillet over medium heat for several minutes, stirring frequently, or scatter them on an ungreased baking sheet and place them in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Watch them close to avoid burning.
It’s the sesame oil that gives it that addictive flavor that makes me go back for seconds every time.
That, and the textural thing. So crunchy, so yummy!
For the best result, I recommend assembling the salad no more than an hour or two before serving. The slivered almonds should be reserved and added just before serving to assure they will have a nice, crunchy bite.
To save yourself some time you can cook the pasta the day before, toss it with a little vegetable oil to prevent it from sticking, and transfer it to a plastic storage bag so it will be ready to go the next day. Works like a charm.
Pretty and light but full of flavor. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but it won’t last that long.
Asian Pasta Salad
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 12 ounces bow tie pasta (about 4 cups)
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast meat (to save time use a store bought rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds or peanut pieces
- Mix together dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl with tight fitting lid. Shake well and set aside.
Boil bow tie pasta for 10 minutes or about one minute shy of the package directions. Pour cooked pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool down the pasta. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
- Mix in remaining salad ingredients. Give dressing a good shake and pour over the salad. Mix well.
If you'd like to get some of the prep out of the way you can boil the pasta the day before. Rinse it well with cold water, drain it completely, and then toss it with a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil to prevent it from sticking. Transfer the cooked pasta to a gallon size plastic storage bag and refrigerate overnight. Assemble the salad no more than an hour or two before serving for the best result and reserve nuts to add just before serving.