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
- ¼ 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, or rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- ¾ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Questions and Reviews
I was just wondering if anyone has made this in advance and served it cold? It sounds absolutely delicious; but I need to have a salad made a day in advance so I was just wondering if this would work?
Hi Michelle. The salad should be served cold. Take a look at the Notes section of the recipe card for the complete make-ahead directions.
Thanks so much for replying. I was under the assumption that this was a ‘warm’ salad. I’m glad I asked.
Is there a different type of oil that can be used? Asking for allergies to sesame
Hi Becca. Sesame oil adds quite a bit of unique flavor that I’m not sure you can replicate with another ingredient. But, if there is an allergy, I would just recommend omitting it.
Is it ok to use olive oil or avocado oil in the dressing?
I wouldn’t recommend it. Seasoned rice vinegar has a much lighter quality and unique flavor that really works in this recipe.
Made it for dinner and it was delicious
If I leave out chicken do i need to change amount of dressing
I’d keep everything the same.
Made this pasta salad today! Was very flavorful! My husband couldn’t get enough of Will add some edamame next go around. It’s a keeper!!!!
Made this and absolutely loved it. I made extra dressing just to throw on a salad the next day.
How long do you think I could keep the dressing in the refrigerator? I would love to add it to my daily lunch salads.
Excellent salad! Love the dressing too! Add wonton strips for more crunch but be sure to add those as you pick up your fork so they don’t lose their crispness.
What kind of parsley do I use Italian or Chinese?
There is no parsley in the ingredient list, Lena. You want cilantro for this.
We don’t care for cilantro. Would parsley be a good substitute.
You can definitely add a little parsley and omit the cilantro.
Used the dressing on a salad with chicken! Was so good!
My entire family loved this! I forgot to add the slivered almonds at the end so I’ll just have to make it again soon!
This was so easy and super delicious! Thank you for the great recipe. It was the perfect light meal for a summer evening outside. This will become a summer staple for us. I omitted the red pepper and almonds/peanuts, but added edamame. This was a true crowd pleaser!
Love this with edamame! Thanks, Meaghan. 🙂