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Asian Pasta Salad

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    1 package (16 ounces)  rotini pasta
    4.5 cups (5 ounces 147g)  fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 and 1/2 cups (202g) shredded rotisserie chicken
    1/2 cup (65g)  red bell pepper, chopped
    1 can (15 ounces)  mandarin oranges
    1/2 cup (45g)  shredded carrots
    1/3 cup (15g)  fresh green onions, chopped
    1/3 cup (9g)  fresh cilantro, chopped
Optional: 1/3 cup sliced almonds (32g) (toasted if desired) Dressing
    1/2 cup (97g)  vegetable oil
    1/3 cup (88g)  soy sauce
    1/3 cup (73g)  rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon  sesame oil
    3 tablespoons  white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon  ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons  toasted sesame seeds

PASTA: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl and immediately toss with 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing (see next step).
DRESSING: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, pepper, and sesame seeds in a mason jar. Place the lid on and shake until combined.
ASSEMBLE SALAD: Add the coarsely chopped spinach, shredded rotisserie chicken, chopped red pepper, drained mandarin oranges, shredded carrots, chopped green onions, and fresh cilantro to the large bowl with the cooled pasta,.
DRESS SALAD: Toss all the ingredients together gently and then coat with the dressing to desired amount. Enjoy immediately. (This salad doesn't store well with the dressing, so only dress what will be eaten right away). If desired, top with sliced toasted almonds (Note 1).
Note 1: If desired, toast the almonds. Spread the sliced almonds into an even layer in a small, dry (no need to add oil ) skillet over medium-heat and stir them around a bit until they are fragrant and toasted to your liking. Watch the almonds carefully; they can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in an instant! I like to remove them as soon as they begin to smell fragrant.

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