You are going to love this spinach chicken pasta salad recipe, it is packed with tender baby spinach, juicy pieces of chicken and tossed in an Asian-inspired sesame dressing.
This pasta salad with sesame dressing is hearty enough for a dinner and also a great side dish option. Serve it at room temperature or cold which makes it perfect for a meal that can be prepared ahead of time.
This recipe was originally posted in 2017, it’s been updated for content and photos.
Spinach chicken pasta salad with sesame dressing is a great way to use up leftover chicken, or you can easily grill or make your own shredded chicken to use in this salad.
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s an easy dinner idea that can be ready in minutes.
- Chicken pasta salad is versatile! Serve it for as a side dish, dinner or lunch.
- It can be easily made ahead of time and perfect to bring to your next potluck.
Here is What You Will Need
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Here Is How to Make Chicken Pasta Salad with Sesame Dressing
Get all of the ingredients ready: Rinse and dry the spinach, cut or shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, slice the onions and make the dressing.
Step 1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and drain it.
Step 2. Place the cooked pasta, spinach chicken and onions into a large bowl.
Step 3. Shake up the dressing and pour it over the ingredients in the bowl.
Step 4. Mix everything together and serve at room temperature or cold.
Total Estimated Time to Make this Recipe: 30 to 40 Minutes
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Pasta. You can use your favorite pasta in this recipe. we like whole-wheat penne, bow ties, or rotini for their different textures. The nooks and crannies are perfect for holding onto all of those delicious flavors.
Chicken. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken. Or you can make a batch of shredded chicken. You can also substitute chicken with thinly sliced cooked pork loin.
Tamari Sauce. Is a Japanese soy sauce, it’s darker than soy sauce and has a more robust flavor. It can be substituted one for one with soy sauce or coconut aminos
Rice Vinegar. Can be substituted with white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Honey. Substitute honey one for one with maple syrup or brown rice syrup.
Serve this pasta salad as a side dish at your next pot luck to serve with burgers or as a main dish with a side of stir-fried vegetables.
Make Ahead Instructions
This pasta salad recipe is the perfect recipe to make ahead and put together just before serving.
Here’s how: combine the cooked chicken and pasta together, mix the dressing, slice the onions and prepare the spinach. Refrigerate the salad components separately for up to two days.
To serve, bring the ingredients to room temperature, add the vegetables to the pasta and chicken mixture and pour on the dressing.
Vegetarian Pasta Salad with Sesame Dressing. Replace the chicken with a 14-ounce block of tofu that has been drained, brushed with olive oil cut into cubes; roast at 375 for 20 minutes.
Gluten-Free Chicken Pasta Salad. Replace the whole wheat pasta with your favorite gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles.
Add More Veggies. Toss in ½ to 1 cup of sauteed mushroom, zucchini or bell pepper slices.
Storing and Using Leftovers
Store leftover chicken pasta salad with sesame dressing in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Use up leftover pasta salad for lunch or as a side dish for dinner.
Tip! If the leftover pasta salad is dry after being stored in the fridge, stir in a little bit of olive oil and tamari sauce.
Your Questions Answered
Here are the most commonly asked questions about this Chicken Pasta Salad with Sesame Dressing recipe. If your question isn’t answered below, leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Yes, you can however, the sesame oil adds a lot of flavor to this salad.
Some pasta salads can be unhealthy when they are filled with fat and white pasta. This salad is made with whole wheat pasta, healthy spinach and lean chicken, so it’s healthier than your average pasta salad.
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- 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 Garlic Clove, Crushed
- 4 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta such as fusilli, rotini, shells, penne or bowties
- 1 ½ cups shredded chicken or ¾ pound boneless chicken breast.
- 4 green onions, diced
- 6 ounces of baby spinach
- 1 ½ teaspoons sesame seeds
- Cook the pasta according to package directions
- While pasta is cooking combine the dressing ingredients (tamari sauce through crushed garlic clove) in a small jar and shake well, or add the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk with a fork.
- Place the cooked and drained pasta into a bowl, add the chicken, onions and spinach.
- Pour the dressing over salad, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve at room temperature or place in the refrigerator until it's time to serve.
Fresh ginger with ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Garlic clove with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
Rice wine vinegar with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
Tamari Sauce with an equal amount of soy sauce or coconut aminos.
Make it Vegetarian: Replace the chicken with a 14-ounce block of tofu that has been drained, brushed with olive oil cut into cubes; roast at 375 for 20 minutes.
Make it Gluten-Free - Replace whole wheat pasta with gluten-free pasta and use gluten-free tamari sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 592Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 140mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 49g
Nutrition information is provided by an online calculator and is meant to be used for informational purposes only. Even though I try to provide accurate information, these figures should still be considered as estimates.