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Large salad bowl filled with tossed together Asian pasta salad.
5 from 9 votes

Cold Asian Pasta Salad Recipe with Chicken

Cold Asian Pasta Salad made with juicy chicken, fried wontons, crunchy greens, sweet mandarins, tender noodles, and the very best Asian sesame vinaigrette. Fresh, crunchy, and utterly irresistible, enjoy this cold pasta salad recipe as a satisfying lunch or light dinner.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 487kcal

Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.
Originally published August 7, 2019

Nutrition

Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 556mg | Potassium: 712mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2966IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg
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