This Asian Pasta Salad Recipe with Chicken is fresh, crunchy, and utterly irresistible. Filled with juicy chicken, fried wontons, crunchy greens, sweet mandarins, and the very best Asian sesame vinaigrette, it’s easy to enjoy this Asian Pasta Salad as a satisfying lunch or light dinner.
Asian Noodle Salad Recipe
If you’re thinking, hmm, this looks an awful lot like your Chinese Chicken Salad, I’d probably tell you you’re right.
You guys, this Asian pasta salad filled with crunchy cabbage, cilantro, loads of green onion and fried wontons, veggies, sweet Mandarin oranges, and a crazy yummy sesame vinaigrette, is definitely quite similar.
Except where it’s not…because this delicious potluck, backyard bbq side dish, meal prep miracle, or maybe just…easy dinner? comes filled with pasta. Rotini noodles to be specific. In fact, the noodles play a pretty big role in trapping the delicious homemade vinaigrette in their little nooks and crannies, giving this BEST EVER pasta salad a huge flavor advantage.
But, it’s not just about the swirly rotini.
This Asian pasta salad is crunchy, sweet, crisp, savory, and filled with all the major food groups.
Asian Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Green onions (scallions)
- Fried wontons AND fried chow mein noodles
- Fresh cilantro
- Shredded chicken
- Mandarin oranges
I like to start with a crunchy veggie base or slaw. In this case, we’ve got shredded green and red cabbage, chopped green onions, and cilantro. Feel free to add lettuce, (Romaine is your best bet), but skipping out on cabbage isn’t recommended.
Poached chicken, baked chicken, grilled chicken, roast chicken, any kind of chicken, as long as it’s chopped, or shredded. You may also use leftover rotisserie chicken or any other pre-cooked chicken of your choice to save on total cooking time.
And what about the pasta noodles? Use your favorite or whatever you have on hand. I love rotini because they’re easy to scoop with a fork or spoon and help collect the vinaigrette in all of its little swirly nooks. You can totally use a different noodle if you prefer. The most important thing is to not overcook the noodles.
Customize by adding other fresh and delicious ingredients including,
- Red bell pepper
- Fresh lime juice
- Sugar snap peas
- Snow peas
- Peanuts or Cashews
For the Asian Sesame Vinaigrette
- Toasted sesame oil
- Rice wine vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Grapeseed oil
- Fresh ginger
- Fresh garlic
What to Serve with Asian Pasta Salad
Typically, pasta salads are made to be enjoyed throughout the warm spring, summer (and in some cases) fall months. Fortunately, this chicken-filled, non-seasonal, Asian pasta salad is pretty delicious at any time of year.
Since it’s already filled with chicken, I like to serve it with roasted vegetables including Brussels Sprouts or Cauliflower. Sometimes, if I have the time, I’ll add some cooked shrimp or seared salmon. Usually, however, I’ll just make a big fruit salad and save leftovers (if there is any) for lunch the next day.
More Salad Recipes,
If you try making this Asian Pasta Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Cold Asian Pasta Salad Recipe with Chicken
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (substitute with canola oil or olive oil)
- 3 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 clove fresh garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (grated)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or honey or brown sugar, plus more to taste)
- salt and pepper (to season)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 16 oz rotini pasta (cooked according to package directions to al dente)
- 4 cups green cabbage (shredded)
- 2 cups red/purple cabbage (shredded (or, substitute with extra green cabbage))
- 1 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 6 green onions (chopped)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 (10 ounce) can Mandarin oranges (drained)
- 1/2 cup crispy chow mein noodles
- 1/2 cup fried wonton noodles
- Prepare the vinaigrette. Add all ingredients for the dressing to a medium-sized jar and secure with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until fully combined. Season to taste and set aside until ready to use (note 1).
- Poach the chicken. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken and return the water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside to "poach" (cook) for approximately 20-25 minutes (do not over-cook or the chicken will dry out). Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool before shredding (note 2).
- Cook Pasta. Cook the rotini according to package instructions, checking doneness often to prevent overcooking. It is better to have noodles that are slightly undercooked than overcooked and soggy. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water (note 3).
- Toss the noodles and chicken with half of the vinaigrette. After rinsing and draining the cooked noodles, return the noodles plus the chicken to the pot. Give the Asian sesame vinaigrette another few shakes and pour approximately half of the dressing over the noodles. Mix well to combine (note 4).
- Prepare the salad. In a separate large bowl, combine all ingredients for the salad (the cabbage, cilantro, green onions, carrots, Mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, and fried wonton noodles) (note 5).
- Combine and serve. If you know that you will be eating all (or most) of the pasta salad immediately, simply add the chicken and noodles to the salad ingredients, drizzle with the remaining Asian vinaigrette, and mix well to combine. If you think you will only be eating part of the pasta salad, I recommend mixing the chicken and pasta with the salad in individual serving bowls and drizzling with 1-2 teaspoons of vinaigrette. This will help keep leftovers fresh.
- Garnish. Garnish with additional cilantro, green onions, or sesame seeds, if desired.
- note 1 - The vinaigrette can be made up to 1-2 days in advance. Simply shake well before each use.
- note 2 - You may also use leftover rotisserie chicken or any other pre-cooked chicken of your choice to save on total cooking time.
- note 3 -Feel free to use your favorite pasta shape or noodles like linguine, spaghetti, whole wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta (be extra careful not to over-cook gluten-free pasta), soba noodles, ramen noodles, etc.
- note 4 - You may do this up to a few hours (or even one day) ahead of time, however, you may need to add a bit more vinaigrette before tossing with the remaining ingredients as the noodles and chicken will have likely absorbed it all.
- note 5 - You can also do this step a day in advance. Simply transfer the mixed ingredients to a large ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible before transferring to the refrigerator.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)