This is one of our favorite summertime dinners. I enjoy it so much though that I’ve decided it is also a great lunch for the rest of the year. It makes a lot, so there’s enough for us all to eat it for a few days.
Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1/2 lb. cooked and chilled pasta (best options are: spaghetti, angel hair, soba noodles, buckwheat noodles, or even ramen noodles)
- 2 c. cooked and shredded chicken
- 2 T. oil
- 1/2 diced onion
- 1/2 thinly sliced green or red pepper
- 3 c. thinly sliced cabbage
- 1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- 1 carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks
- 1/4 c. peanut butter, chunky or creamy
- 1/2 c. hot chicken stock (If you use the ramen noodles, you can use 1/2 a seasoning packet and 1/2 c. hot water)
- 1/4 c. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 T. sesame oil (optional)
- 1 T. honey
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 thinly sliced green onions
- 1 1/2 T. freshly grated ginger or 1 t. dried ginger powder
- 1/8-1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 c. chopped peanuts (optional)
For Chicken Pasta Salad
Heat 2 T. oil in a large, deep-sided skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper and cook for 1 minutes. Add pasta and cook until pasta starts to brown a bit, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken, cabbage, zucchini, and carrot. Cook until cabbage just begins to wilt (you want everything to still have a little crunch to it. Transfer to a bowl and chill in refrigerator.
For Peanut-Ginger Dressing
Place peanut butter in a small mixing bowl. Stir in hot (It is important that you use hot stock or the peanut butter will not melt) chicken stock and tamari until well blended. Add in remaining ingredients, except optional chopped peanuts, and refrigerate until dressing the salad. (If the dressing sits in the refrigerator for longer that 20 minutes or so, you may need to microwave it to bring it back to the correct consistency. Do this very carefully, 20-30 seconds at a time so that the peanut butter does not burn.)
You can put the salad in a serving bowl or on individual plates and pour some dressing on top, or you can mix the two together before serving. If you want to mix the two, do this before refrigerating to save the step of bringing the dressing back to proper consistency. Garnish with chopped peanuts, if desired.
**Leftovers also taste wonderful for the next 2 – 3 days.