If you’re excited that Spring is finally here, raise your hand! Yes, mine is up in the air, flapping like a kid who knows the answer to the question for the first time all year! As usually happens around here, the first day of Spring brought the coldest temperatures we’ve had in a few weeks, but this, too, shall pass. Coach and the girls are off all week for Spring break, and the sun is already popping up over the hills…a little bit of cold air is not going to bring me down! I’m planning our menu for this Spring break week, and this Asian Chicken Pasta Salad is definitely going to have to be included!
Asian Chicken Pasta Salad
It’s been in the high 60’s, and even climbed into the high 70’s this March! We’ve already fired up the grill a few times, which I absolutely love…it saves me time, and I don’t have to heat up the kitchen with my oven. Coach grilled a whole bunch of chicken breasts one night, and we ate some of them with green beans and tomatoes and a rice side dish. The leftover chicken went into the fridge, and a couple of days later I put together this delicious Asian Chicken Pasta Salad.
It was a big hit! It was one of those unseasonably warm days when no one even wanted a hot meal. The great thing is, this was still a hearty meal, full of veggies and protein and carbs all in one dish! I used asparagus, carrots, cabbage, and green onions, then added the crunch of almonds. Coach and the girls loved it as much as I did, and I even shared some with Madre! This recipe will feed a crowd.
The older I get, the less I enjoy going out to eat. It may also have something to do with the fact that our restaurant choices are pretty limited in my rural area. There isn’t a Chinese restaurant in my nearest town that I’d touch with a 10-foot-pole, and I’ve even gotten let down and burned out on the ones in neighboring towns recently. But, what do you expect from a place that has “Fusion” in the name, but the only non-Asian offering is macaroni and cheese? I’m sure in bigger cities there are some fantastic Chinese restaurants that I would love, but I like where I live, so I just make what I like at home.
We Love Asian Food!
I’ve sort of been on a kick lately…I also made a cashew chicken dish recently that was absolutely devoured by my family (I followed this recipe, and it was fantastic). If you like Asian food, there are few ingredients you should keep on hand to give your dishes an authentic taste.
Ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce are staples in Asian cooking, and I recently acquired some Hoisin sauce, as well…it didn’t make an appearance in my Asian Chicken Pasta Salad, but the cashew chicken would’ve flopped without it! In this salad, I used Tamari soy sauce, which is a little milder. You can definitely use regular soy sauce; just reduce your amount by a little bit.
This pasta salad was crisp and refreshing, but also filling. You could vary it up any way you want, by adding lots of different veggies, using pork instead of chicken, or even try serving it hot…it couldn’t be bad! I used what I had in the fridge, but I know it would be great with snow peas, water chestnuts, sprouts, even chopped zucchini! I loved the crisp-tender asparagus and carrots, crunchy cabbage, and the chewy Rotini, but any small pasta would work. I think I’d even love toasted cashews instead of almonds, but I didn’t have any at the time. The crunchy nuts on the chewy pasta is probably what prompted me to make cashew chicken not long after this!
My Asian Chicken Pasta Salad is a super-versatile recipe for Spring and Summer, and with no eggs or mayo, it’s a great picnic or outdoor potluck choice, as well. If you love the flavor combinations in Asian food, you really must give this recipe a whirl!
And no, we didn’t eat this with chopsticks. It’s fun to use props in pictures, though. Hee Hee! The ones pictured are still connected at the ends, and we use them to retrieve bagels out of our toaster! Tigger tried to use them to eat this, but I think she feared she would starve to death before getting a decent bite, and soon switched to a fork.