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Spinach Pasta Salad

This fun and delicious pasta salad recipe combines fresh veggies, crunchy seeds, tangy fruit, and tender pasta with a savory teriyaki dressing.
Bowl of a mix of macaroni noodles, spinach, oranges and dried cranberries.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes: 5 cups
Nutrition Facts: View label

Ingredients

DRESSING
2 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar (white, rice or cider)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
 
SALAD
2 cups cooked pasta (try whole wheat shells, bow ties, macaroni or other small shapes)
4 cups fresh spinach
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons sunflower seed kernels
1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

Directions

  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.
  3. Add the salad ingredients. Mix well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Notes

  • Try using ⅓ cup prepared sesame or ginger salad dressing from the store to replace the dressing ingredients.

Comments

We make this with our 5th grade classes and they love it. One suggestion they always have, though, is less vinegar. I do usually use a lot less than what the recipe calls for since the first time I made it, the majority of the class said it had too much and didn't like. Once we cut the vinegar back to 1 TBSP, they all give me the thumbs up.

Kamut works very nicely as a substitute for the pasta in this recipe.  It's hearty and chewy texture holds up well and takes care of the "squishy" problem noted in the previous review.

Made this recipe for our office staff for lunch. Got really good feedback and everyone seemed to really like the dressing. However, I think if I made it again I would not do substitute quinoa for the pasta. I just felt like the texture of the cooked macaroni combined with the texture of the spinach made the salad a bit "squishy."

A coworker also suggested adding some chopped chicken as well, but I think it was fine without it.

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