MANDARIN ORANGE CHICKEN PASTA SALAD — Bowtie pasta is combined with tender chicken, fresh veggies, mandarin oranges and more, then tossed in a sweet and savory sauce to create this family favorite pasta salad.
If there’s one summer meal I never get tired of, it’s a good pasta salad, and this Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad is a unique and delicious twist on the usual potluck pasta salad.
The dressing is what really makes this salad stand out. It’s a sweet and savory blend of bottled teriyaki sauce (although you could certainly make your own), with some vinegar for tang, and a bit of sugar and honey for sweetness.
If that sounds like a lot, it is! Which is why I love this salad. Obviously you can use any shape of pasta you have on hand, but if the ingredient list seems a bit strange, just try it.
Everything comes together in a wonderful combination of flavors and textures that will probably surprise you. It really is delicious!
Like most pasta salad recipes, this one is open to a bit of interpretation, so don’t be afraid to leave a few things out, or add a few things.
If you don’t have canned oranges, you can use fresh. Or used halved grapes instead. Throw in some sunflower seeds, or use them in place of the other nuts and seeds in the recipe.
This is a great pasta salad to take to potlucks and family gatherings, because it definitely feeds a crowd, and it’s always a hit.
In fact, you’ll probably get several requests for the recipe because this salad is so tasty–not to mention, unique and easy to make.
If you love pasta salad but are looking for something new to try, I highly recommend this Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad. Enjoy!
Be sure to save this Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Tips for Cooking Pasta
Use a big pot: Cook pasta in a large pot–big enough to hold 6 quarts of water per pound of pasta.
Salt: Generously season your cooking water with salt. A few teaspoons per quart of water is a good place to start. Although a little more or less is fine, depending on your preference.
Don’t overcook: Boil your pasta to until it is al dente, which means it’s cooked, but still a bit chewy. You’ll want to test your pasta for flavor and texture every 20 seconds or so during the last few minutes of cooking.
If you’ll continue cooking the pasta in a sauce, or baking it in the oven, remove the pot from the heat a few minutes before it’s done to prevent overcooking.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad
- Bowtie pasta
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Teriyaki sauce
- Cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Dried cranberries
- Mandarin oranges
- Produce: parsley, green onions, cucumbers
- Sesame seeds
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad
- 16 oz. bowtie pasta
- 2/3 cups cooked cubed chicken
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 (15 oz. ) cans mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 cup cashews or peanuts, chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until smooth. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain.
- Add the pasta to the bowl with the dressing, along with the other ingredients, except for the chopped cashews (or peanuts). Toss to coat well. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or until serving.
- Reseason with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts just before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 7g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff