Asian Spinach-Chicken Salad: a lifesaver when it comes to events.
In our neighborhood, we have a system. It’s an unofficially organized underground network of women who spontaneously know when it’s time to plan and carry out an event. Phew! That was a long sentence. Usually these events are showers for someone who’s engaged or having a baby. A month or two before the wedding or due date, the emails start flying and a party is quickly planned and executed. Some ladies are expert invitation-designers, some always host the party and others jump right into the menu. I NEVER do the invites (that might put me over the edge), I sometimes host, but I’m always all about planning the food! You gotta have really good food at an event. (Let’s be honest…the food is really why a lot of people attend a function, right?!) This year, we’ve sort of peaked, I think. In our neighborhood, within just a few square blocks, we have nine….yes, NINE…weddings this spring/summer! That’s a lot of showers to give! But we are up to the task. We have this system DOWN.
We usually have a number of different salads, homemade breads and rolls, glistening fresh fruit platters and several yummy desserts. It’s really a delicious combo! Perfect food to please a group of women. Well, Asian Spinach-Chicken Salad is one of those recipes floating out there that quite often surfaces at these showers. It’s relatively quick to pull together, travels well and stands up to a few hours of sitting. Plus, everyone loves it. I am willing to bet there is someone reading this who has a party simmering out there in your near future. 4th of July? Family potluck reunion? Wedding shower? Here ya go. Grab your phone and give the host a quick text: “I’m bringing a yummy salad!” DONE.
- One roasted chicken
- 8 oz. corkscrew or other chunky pasta
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 red or yellow pepper
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup water chestnuts
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3-4 Tbsp. honey
- 2-3 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and cool.
- Wash spinach.
- Chop veggies into small pieces.
- For dressing, blend all ingredients until incorporated well. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Toss salad in large bowl and add dressing to taste before serving.
*Add mandarin oranges or fresh orange pieces for a sweeter taste.
*For some crunch, add peanuts, almonds or fried wonton strips.
*If you make ahead of time, put chicken and pasta in a large bowl with a little dressing for several hours. It will soak up the dressing flavors. Toss and dress the rest of the salad right before serving.
*For a gluten-free option, you can leave out the pasta and use GF soy sauce or coconut aminos in dressing.