Asian Chicken Pasta Salad

(Photo © EMR)

This recipe is loosely based on one I used to make from an Eating Well cookbook I received as a Christmas present many years ago. Since I no longer have the cookbook, I can’t tell you how similar this is to the original, as I’ve adapted and changed things through the years to make it even healthier. Since there are a few steps here, cooking the chicken and pasta, I tend to make this in advance, so dinner is ready to go on those busier evenings. But it definitely can be made on those nights you have a little more time, as well.

As always, proportions are approximations. If you want less pasta and more chicken (or vice versa), create away! If you’re a vegetarian, you can substitute tofu or different vegetables in place of the chicken. I usually load up on the vegetables in my salads, more filling and less calories!

Asian Chicken Pasta Salad
3 cups farfalle (bowtie) pasta or any other small-shaped pasta
2 large boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced into bite-size pieces
1 red pepper, sliced
1 1/2 cups diced celery
Chopped scallions, about 1/4 cup or so
Chopped fresh ginger, a tablespoon or so
A few dashes of sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sesame oil (you can definitely use more, but I find sesame oil very rich and I try to keep the fat content down)
1 Tablespoon miso paste*
Rice vinegar, enough to make a thin dressing with the miso

In a large mixing bowl, add the pasta, chicken, pepper, celery, scallions, sesame seeds, and ginger. Add the sesame oil and stir until incorporated. In a small bowl, add miso paste and enough vinegar to thin it to the consistency you desire. Add to the salad and thoroughly mix. Serve on its own or over greens.

*Miso paste  is made from rice and/or soy and is used as a base for soups and dressings in Asian cooking. I find a 13 ounce tub to be on the pricey side, upwards of $6 or so, but it lasts for years and adds a nice nutty flavor to whatever you are cooking. It is fairly salty, so be sure to taste your dish before adding any additional salt.

One thought on “Asian Chicken Pasta Salad

  1. I have to agree with your comment about Cooking Light. It’s a great magazine, yet I find that when I follow their recipes, I am adding more fat than I normally eat. Great modifications!

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