Asian Pasta Vegetable Salad

Alternative title: In Which I Learn My Lesson About Tight-Fitting Lids.

I love crunchy food, or food with lots of texture. I also love Asian food, bell peppers, and pasta, so basically this is the perfect recipe. I used this recipe from allrecipes.com as a place to start, but did make several changes based on the comments attached to the recipe. This is an excellent recipe to make and leave in the fridge for a super easy lunch.

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium tamari soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp black sesame oil
3 Tlbs sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup sesame seeds

4 cups of whole wheat spirals
1-2 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 small carrot, julienned
3/4 cup green peas
2 Tlbs sliced green onions
1/4 cup cilantro

Mix all the salad ingredients together in a bowl with a TIGHT-FITTING LID. This is important. Very important. Then mix all the salad dressing ingredients together in a jar or something else with a tight-fitting lid. Again, quite important. Shake the salad dressing thoroughly until it is all mixed together very well, then pour the dressing over the salad. Seal the bowl and shake it well to coat the salad thorougly and mix all the ingredients. You can eat it warm, but it is pretty awesome cold.

In case you haven't gathered, it is very important to have a container with a tight-fitting lid. I know this, since mine was not, and when I shook the bowl, I decorated my kitchen with a large collection of spots. The oil-base of the dressing will get everywhere if you aren't careful. Other changes...the original recipe recommended using pasta bows, but I couldn't find a whole-wheat pasta version of this so I used spirals instead. You do need a pasta that will hold the dressing. One reviewer recommended adding water chestnuts, and I meant to do that, but forgot, so I would like to try that next time. Also, I seasoned the chicken slightly with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper before I baked and shredded it.

Rating 4.5/5
Why? It is a little oily, I want to cut down on the dressing-pasta ratio next time. Also there are a LOT of sesame seeds in this. But it is super easy to make and quite delicious as a left-over.

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